A number of years ago (does it really matter how many?) I received an AARP card in the mail courtesy of my mom, who signed me up without my knowledge.
The card still resides in my wallet, virtually unused. And really, that’s silly, because membership actually entitles me to discounts across a spectrum of products, including insurance, travel, magazine subscriptions and medicines.
A piece by Investopedia’s Glenn Curtis gave me this particular kick in the butt. But he’s right. I should reach for the card more often, and so should retirees. In fact, retirees should constantly be on the lookout for all sorts of ways to save money, as most of us are living/will live on some kind of fixed income. Cutting back makes those nest eggs last. A couple of his suggestions:
- Ask for Senior Discounts: In addition to the AARP card, many places — movie theaters, restaurants, theme parks — offer discounts for seniors, and all you have to do is verify your age. Heck, when my parents turned 70, the local ski area gave them free slope time all season! So, pipe up about your age!
- Watch Where You Live: The cost of housing fluctuates wildly throughout the U.S., as do state income, real estate and inheritance taxes. Several media outlets regularly post their lists of “best places to retire” — this one by TopRetirements.com takes a state-by-state view that incorporates primarily tax and healthcare considerations.
Here are a couple of other ideas:
- Lower the Media Bills: I’ve harped on this one a little bit before, but it bears repeating that you don’t have to maintain a high-cost Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) or DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) cable bill to watch favorite episodes of Downton Abbey. Save some money by dialing up PBS.org and download episodes to watch on your tablet or computer. You can even watch the Super Bowl this weekend through a download via NFL.com.
- Consolidate the Credit Cards: This isn’t just a problem of free-spending 21-year-olds. If you still have debt on five or more credit cards, pay off the balances on the higher-rate ones and stick to two or three. You save on the interest, and you can more easily keep track of the remaining cards.
- Embrace Technology: In fact, if you are so inclined, move to online banking programs like PNC‘s (NYSE:PNC) Virtual Wallet that help you track your finances and pay bills, or Google‘s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Google Wallet, which allows you to essentially “carry” all your credit and debit cards along with you on your smartphone.
Remember: The little things add up.
Marc Bastow is an Assistant Editor at InvestorPlace.com. As of this writing, he did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.