AARP just came out with their annual 99 Great Ways to Save Money. Here are Wealth Legacy Institute’s Top 20 from the article.
- Eat for cheap. Get a list of discounts at above 70 restaurant chains at TheSeniorList.com. You can also use apps like OpenTable to get points every time you make a reservation which you can redeem for dining gift certificates.
- Get free ebooks. You can download nearly 60,000 public domain ebooks, including many classics at Gutenberg.org. This can save you $3-$10 on books. All the main e-book sellers (Kindle, Nook, iBooks) also have a free section of their apps that you can download free books.
- Another way to dine out for less. Restaurants.com offers discounted gift certificates to eateries all over the country. For example, you’ll pay $10 for a $25 gift certificate and save $15 on a night out. Also check Groupon.com for more discounts at restaurants around you.
- Use generic pet meds. Yes, they exist! For example Heartgard Plus costs $43 to treat a large dog for 6 months. HeartShade Plus, a generic version, has the same active ingredients for $20. That saves you $23. Checking online to see if there are other alternatives to veterinarian recommendations could save you the expense of costly meds as long as you are smart about shopping around and checking ingredients.
- Round up and save. Acorns is an app that automatically rounds up your credit card purchases to the nearest dollar. The extra change gets invested in stocks and bonds. Save and invest $30 a month. Another app called Qapital does a similar thing but puts your money in a savings account towards a specific goal you are saving for. You can set different “saving rules” in the app to help make saving fun and easy.
- Host morning parties. A brunch gathering can be just as much fun as an evening party, and the food you serve tends to be cheaper than what you would serve for dinner. Plus, you likely won’t go through as much alcohol. Savings: at least $40 on the food and wine, depending on the menu.
- Skip rental car insurance. Most of the time you already have adequate coverage through your personal insurance. Check and save up to $40 a day. Shopping around and checking multiple rental car companies can help you avoid various fees or to find cheaper rates. Also, make sure to fill up the car with gas before you return it so you don’t have to pay the rental cars inflated fuel charges if they have to fill up the car.
- Shop postseason. The best time to replace worn-out clothes, gear, or supplies is when their season just ended. For example, a gas grill at Home Depot was listed at $299 last summer, then marked down to $249 after the season. Many clothes retailers also have end of summer/winter sales that you can take advantage of when replenishing your wardrobe.
- Use the same insurer. Companies often charge 15% less if you buy both home and auto policies from them. You can save over $100 a year on insurance costs. Bundling can also work with your cable and internet and other types of services. Also check to see if the bundle deals are a better deal than what you’d be getting if you just used one service.
- Raise your deductible. Boosting the deductible on a homeowners policy from $500 to $1000 could save you 25% according to the Insurance Information Institute, or $307 off an average $1,228 policy.
- Get wine by the case. Most wine stores will take at least 10 percent off your purchases if you walk out with 12 bottles. You’ll save $48 on two cases of $20 wine, and you’ll always have a housewarming gift.
- Scan for unused subscriptions. Truebill helps user find subscription services and determines how much you pay each year, the average user can save $100 or more a year canceling what they don’t need or negotiating the bill. Since most subscriptions are on autopay, it’s easy to forget about if you aren’t inspecting your statements every month. Double check to see if there are any subscriptions you forgot about that could be costing you money.
- Get a programmable thermostat. Lowering or raising your home’s temperature by 7 to 10 degrees for eight hours as you sleep can save $100 a year. Get a programmable thermostat so you don’t forget.
- Get a smart watering system. Rachio is a smart sprinkler system that connects to the weather forecast in your area and skips your lawn watering when there is a high chance of rain. The claim on the website is that users can save up to 50% of their water bill by installing the system. Rachio costs around $200 and is self installable with your current sprinkler system.
- Find free wifi. Going over your data limits on your phone can be costly. Download WiFi Finder, an app, that locates nearby FREE wifi. This works worldwide.
- Stream free movies. Go to Kanopy.com If you belong to one of the 4,000 participating public libraries and campuses, you can stream 30,000 movies for free. One movie a week can save you about $156 a year over renting movies online.
- Share season tickets. Arrange with your seat neighbors to trade tickets you can’t use. Save $200 on a pair of NFL tickets.
- Donate stock or mutual funds, not cash. You might save big, as you avoid capital-gains tax. Let’s say you donated $5,000 worth of stock/mutual fund to your favorite charity and paid $1,000 for those shares years back. If you sold the shares then donated the cash, you’d owe $1,000 in capital gains tax providing you are in the 25% tax bracket. For those who are charitable and have capital gains this can be BIG savings.
- Seek out property tax breaks. Most states offer some type of property tax exemption for homeowners over 65, including rebates, caps on assessed value, and property tax rate or assessment freezes.
- Join Silver Sneakers. Ask your healthcare provider if you are eligible. You get free gym memberships if you are over age 65. This can save you about $700 per year.
If you’re interested in learning other ways to save big, check out AARP Bulletin.