Even if you have spent years living a frugal lifestyle in order to save for your retirement years, a change in income might make it necessary for you to pinch pennies a little tighter than you anticipated following retirement. Current economic issues and the continually rising cost of living can put a strain on anyone's budget. Fortunately, there are ways to enjoy your retirement years even if you find yourself frequently testing the elasticity of a dollar.
First of all, you should proudly acknowledge your age. There are senior discounts available in a variety of places but if you don't request the senior discount, you probably won't get it. Don't let vanity or pride prevent you from earning the rewards available to you now that you have attained senior citizen status.
Now that you are retired and have more time to travel, you can use some of your extra time to research your travel options. Since your schedule is more flexible than it was before you retired, you can probably secure some good deals simply by being able to travel at various times or by being ready to go somewhere on short notice. Tour groups often offer discounts for seniors. Many motels also have senior rates. Sign up for newsletters, alerts, and emails regarding travel and lodging discounts for seniors. Check out airlines and car rental companies that offer discounts to seniors.
Senior organizations such as AARP offer numerous savings opportunities. AARP offers you opportunities to save on travel, lodging, and dining. They also offer ways to save on health care costs and insurance. Check out the various senior organizations, especially your local area organizations, to see which ones offer benefits that are the most applicable to you.
Take advantage of free health and wellness clinics and free seminars on health related topics. Staying well and physically fit is beneficial to your health and your budget. Check with local pharmacies about discounts relating to your prescription medications.
Find out what stores in your area have senior discount days and do your shopping on those days. For a seriously frugal shopping adventure, check out senior discounts offered by stores where the prices are already low such as a local Goodwill or Salvation Army store. Many grocery stores have a discount day for seniors. Just by shopping for groceries on senior day, you can instantly reduce the cost of groceries.
When the budget is tight, dining out may be one of the activities that gets trimmed from the budget. You can enjoy the pleasure of dining out more frequently if you select local restaurants that offer senior discounts or have a senior section on their menu. Keep in mind, if you are served more food than you can eat at that meal, you can take the remainder home and enjoy it later. That is a good way to stretch a dollar. You can also save money with buy one, get one free deals by taking one of the items home to eat later.
Without a work schedule or with a reduced work schedule, you have more time for the fun things life has to offer. A tight budget doesn't prohibit you from going out and enjoying activities with friends or from sharing a romantic adventure with the love of your life. Movie theaters, museums, National parks, State parks, and many other places offer senior discounts. Search out free local entertainment such as summer outdoor music concerts and festivals of various types.
Stay connected with your local senior citizen organizations to keep informed about events going on for seniors in your area. Joining a local book club, taking classes to pursue a long time dream such as writing, painting, or learning some type of craft are excellent ways to socialize while learning. You may find discounts offered to seniors who want to enroll in crafting classes. Joining friends for a bike ride or nature walk is an inexpensive social activity. You might be able to find a local gym that offers senior discounts so that you can participate in regular physical fitness activities.
Enjoy all of the benefits available to you now that you have earned the opportunity to proudly say, "I am a senior citizen."
By pam munro  10/31/2011
Sadly, I have a senior neighbor who won't take advantage of the senior center just a block or 2 away - with its hot lunch program & lots of support & activities.
Great essay and advice on everything except for AARP. No one needs AARP for any type of discount because every single discount they offer you can find on your own without paying them; subscription or otherwise. All they are is a money making machine who really could care less about senior citizens other than lining their own pockets with unsuspecting seniors money. Here's just one of many eye opening articles about AARP:
http://biggovernment.com/mikeflynn/ ... s-billion-dollar-obamacare-windfall/
I forgive you for that one faux paux and will still give you a thumbs up but only because of the rest of your essay.
By leeanne collins  10/31/2011
It makes me very sad to hear of seniors who do not take advantage of their local senior centers and other programs. I teach beginning computers at my two local centers and one of the learnings I stress is finding things for free online. Visiting web sites of manufacturers, even calling them, can result in nice coupons. I teach seasoned citizens not to be shy. And too, most seniors at local centers are just plain folks.
Here in Michigan, there is a program giving a senior 20 dollars worth of fresh Michigan produce if their income is low enough. 20 dollars is better than nothing when money is tight. Everyone might check for a similar program in their state. Some senior centers do have web sites or information as to where one can find similar help.
Most of all, if your income is low, or you might fall into the donut hole, find the web site or phone number for your drugs manfacturers and contact them concerning discounted or free medications. Look for the patient assistance link on their sites. You will be sent a form for you and your medical provider to fill out. You might reap three months or more of free prescription refills for some of your most costly drugs. I know I was Blessed last year. Adding a couple of notes, do NOT use the sites you see advertised on tv as you might get lost in the system and there likely is a fee involved. Don't be afraid to check with the company or your medical provider if you don't get a response to your request within a month or so after giving the form to your doctor.
By Judy = Oklahoma  11/05/2011
Very good information! I don't understand people who refuse to take advantage of special discounts geared specifically for them. I can't wait until I can start getting my senior discounts. Well, I can wait to get any older, but as soon as I'm old enough, I'll sure use them!
We have a local park facility here that offers a few classes a year for anyone 50 or older only, cost is $25 & the classes cover a variety of interests. I plan on taking them next year when I'm old enough.
I know KFC isn't that good for you, but they have their chicken fried steak deal every Monday for $1.99 & the stores are always full of seniors getting their deal. For someone on a tight budget, it's a terrific deal because you get a full meal for $1.99 & you don't have to purchase a drink.
By Diane S. 05/20/2013
I saw a lot of things that are where you can travel cheaper and go places on the cheap, but they are all spending money. AARP is not all that good for discounts and you have to pay to join. I found better information in pcgranny's post, especially for prescription help and such. That is a big concern for the seniors of today. Some have to choose between the meds and food. It is more prevalent than must realize.
There is also a way to get you taxes reduced on your land and that is to get the assessment lowered first and then go to grievance day to get your land taxes down. That is very important as well. It is hard to keep up with all the expenses when you are a senior and I find myself going to the lower priced stores where you take your own bags and the prices are much lower there (like at Aldi's and Price Right) than the bigger brand stores.
I have also learned to make leftovers into different meals. This past week we had company drop in and I fixed a veggie platter with dip and also a cheese platter for us to munch on.
The next day, the left over veggies and some of the zucchini squash we had for dinner along with some boiled potatoes and green beans that were part of our dinner (canned ones and a real bargain at a local Mennonite store) went into a batch of browned ground beef and onions. I added a can of diced tomatoes, a can of chicken stock and some seasonings and that made a tasty vegetable soup that we were able to share in a potluck and still had some for lunch the next day.
The cheese plate is going to be shredded up and put into my mac and cheese tomorrow night. Left over scalloped potatoes and ham? Warm them, mash them up a bit,and add some sliced carrots or canned carrots, some celery and more onion and some chicken stock, cook until all is tender and add a touch of milk and you have a delicious potato soup.
It is all about being innovative and making something out of nothing. Pot luck dinners are a wonderful way of stretching your food dollar as well if you are in a community where others want to stretch their food dollars as well.