August 20, 2018

How Do Retirees Save Money?



It's hard to believe, but the interview and photo session at our home for Money Magazine was seven years ago. The photo shoot took place in our backyard in August, in Scottsdale. I don't think the magazine people realized how hot that would be.

Since then so much has happened in my life, and yours. Some things, though, never change or go out of style, like our interest in how people save money. The article detailed what others were doing to cut expenses and make their retirement lifestyle fit their circumstances. 

One couple underwent a major downsizing of their home. From a 5,000 square foot house, they moved to to a a one bedroom loft condo. I thought downsizing from 3300 sq. ft to 1750 sq ft was tough, but these folks did some serious pruning. Home association and maintenance fees are nowhere near what they used to pay in property taxes and upkeep. This steep reduction allowed them to vacation in Europe and dine out often.

One topic I have addressed a few times since the article is the place of automobiles in the satisfying retirement lifestyle. One of the retirees has eliminated her car completely. She has found the $5,000 a year savings in insurance, gas, and maintenance is much more than what public transportation or simply walking where she needs to go costs her. Living in a densely populated urban area with decent public transportation would probably be required for being car-less to be practical. I could never pull it off where I live in the suburbs of Phoenix. But, there is a certain attraction.

In some cities a car-sharing option is available. Like a short term rental but much cheaper, autos are available for running errands or appointments. Then, they are dropped off at a certain location where the next person picks it up. And, of course, if you don't own a car but want to drive somewhere, there are plenty of companies that would love to rent you a car for that purpose. When this article was published the idea of an Uber or Lyft didn't exist. Now, it is a practical choice for occasional rides. 

When Money Magazine came calling, we owned two cars. One was used for less than 5,000 miles a year, while the other racked about 10,000 a year.  Almost a year ago we decided to make due with one car and save several thousand a year. The next change will be to a hybrid car instead of our small SUV (is that an oxymoron, like jumbo shrimp?)

Paying off the mortgage and becoming debt free was the path to retirement happiness for at least one of the couples profiled in the article. While not everyone can do this prior to retirement, it should be a goal to accomplish as soon as you can. There will be some financial advisers who will tell you I'm wrong; you should use the mortgage deduction and invest the saved money. In some circumstances they are probably right. But, from personal experience I can tell you having no mortgage, no credit card debt, and no auto loans to worry about is a tremendously liberating feeling. You feel much more secure knowing there isn't a giant sword hanging over your head.

One couple had made it their business to maximize the power of discount coupons, 2 for 1 offers, and finding ways to cut travel expenses. This isn't the extreme couponing that was popular several years ago. That involves getting food almost free by buying only items with coupons in situations where they can be tripled or trigger rebates or free products. It means stocking up when something is available in this way.

This couple simply used scissors and the paper or mail to gather bargains. Of course, if the article were written today that couple would probably be using all sorts of sites on the Internet and apps on their smart phones. Discount travel sites are easily found. Airbnb and VRBO were much smaller, localized companies seven years ago. Today, they are must-use places for many looking for great deals during vacations.

That couple's use of dining and other discount coupons used to a part of our way of life, too. Places like Groupon, Deal Chicken, and Living Social once filled my inbox with offers. Over the past few years, we decided that was too much hassle, plus some of those companies have gone of out business. Remember the printed Entertainment book with tear-out coupons?  Now, we make use of happy hour price cuts or share a main course. These approaches are less expensive, but also better for our health.

"I have less money than when I worked but I enjoy my life even more." That quote from one of the folks in the article seems to sum up the attitude of everyone interviewed. I couldn't agree more. Living well on less is doable and enjoyable.

Would you mind sharing some of your money-saving tips? We love them and can't seem to get enough of them.

40 comments:

  1. What an excellent idea for a post, Bob! I’ve been a Money subscriber for more than twenty years, so I’m sure I read (and enjoyed!) that article. While I do admit that there are people in this world who have no interest in saving money, I think most of us appreciate tips on how to do it. It’s funny, some articles I’ve read over the years have given the impression that making changes on big ticket items (downsize to a smaller home, get by on only one car, get quotes on your auto and homeowner insurance every year or two) is the only way to save a bunch of money, while others have been written from the perspective that it’s the small savings that add up over time (clipping grocery coupons, shopping for buy one/get one sales and taking advantage of early bird specials). At times, I’ve detected an either/or mentality. As far as I’m concerned, what does it matter if the savings are large or small? It’s all money in your pocket!

    Here are a few ways we save: (1) Alan and I are both AARP members. By participating in the organization’s “Rewards for Good” program, we can accrue points by reading articles, taking quizzes, etc. on the AARP web site. Whenever we’re looking to dine out, we log into our AARP account, go to the Rewards for Good section and check the local offers for dining coupons. The offers are similar to what we’ve found in the past in the Entertainment book you mentioned. For the cost of some of our points (which are free and very, very easy to rack up), we’ve been able to pick up pizza for half price and get 50% off of our order at our favorite Italian bakery. Another plus is that you can plug in any zip code to obtain the local offers in that community, so it’s another resource that can help us save money when we’re traveling. (2) We make it a point to maximize the cash back feature on our three credit cards by juggling the cards for different purchases and paying our bill in full each month. (Cards that accrue airline miles don’t work for us because we travel by RV.) We generally use our Amazon VISA for Amazon purchases only. That earns us 3% which we apply as a credit to future Amazon orders. We use our AARP VISA for gas and restaurants and earn 3% on both which is particularly beneficial when we’re on a road trip with our travel trailer. Gas is one of our largest expenses at home anyway because we live in a rural area, but putting the miles on when we travel makes that 3% add up fast. We use our Discover card for anything else (earning 1% cash back), but watch for the quarterly specials and take advantage of them to get a better deal. For example, this quarter the 5% cash back special is on restaurants, so we’ll be using our Discover card instead of the AARP VISA card until the end of September. I put small stickers on each card noting the cash back percentage for each kind of purchase. That way, we’re always sure we’re maximizing our discount. (3) Additionally, as members of the Good Sam club, we get a discount of 5 cents per gallon at Pilot and Flying J gas stations, so we swipe our AARP VISA card and then our Good Sam membership card to end up with a “double discount.”

    We all have different financial priorities but I’ll bet many people work hard to save money in some areas so that they can spend it on the things or experiences that mean the most to them. I know we do and I will appreciate any and all tips that my fellow readers share!

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    1. It's interesting that one of your money-saving techniques is the use of the various AARP discounts. I almost always forget to either check what is available or ask if a restaurant has a senior discount. I find the server's response rather consistent. If they do not have a discount for seniors they seem almost apologetic, rather then reacting like I am too cheap to pay full price. Your comment has prompted me to try to be more proactive with that card in all the categories it can be used.

      Like you and Alan, we use different credit cards based on different promotions. Since we do fly now that the RV is gone, racking up miles is important. We are flying the whole family to Disney World in January, almost all of it for 8 people using miles.

      One of the Citi cards has increased its cash back percentage this summer for certain categories so it is getting more use. Regardless of which card is in play, we pay off the full balance on each every month.

      Thanks for so many ideas!

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  2. The big savings are having the mortgage paid off, our children are successfully supporting themselves, and a big one that is often forgotten -- we no longer have to furiously save for retirement! We did go down from two cars to one about a year after we retired and it hasn't been a hardship at all. Where we live electricity is time-of-use priced (it's about half price at night from 7pm to 7am) so we only run the major appliances like washer/dryer/dishwasher after 7pm. Our income is much lower than when we were working but that also puts us in a much lower tax bracket so a lot of income tax savings as a result.

    You might think that with a lower income we'd have a lower standard of living but for us personally, with the above savings, I think we have more money to spend in retirement than we had when we were working. I know we are fortunate but before retirement we worried about having enough money and now that we are retired I wonder what we were worried about.

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    1. I certainly agree with your final point. Money was a constant worry during our working days. Now, it is not. We have a budget that consumes less than the investments produce so there is extra money for occasional special things that make life sweeter.

      Our electric peak time is from 4-7pm when AC use is highest and people are home and cooking. By avoiding as much use as we can during those hours we avoid the 66% bump in kilowatt hour charges.

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  3. I am driving a 2000 Ford Explorer that we bought new, yes, 19 years ago. We pay for regular maintenance and tires, but these costs are so much less than the cost of a new car. Insurance is next to nothing for this vehicle, too. Since we know everything that is right about this car, and we know every repair, I am happy to keep driving it for several more years. Ford is starting to discontinue parts for it, so we can turn to "recycle yards" for parts if needed.

    In a few years, after we pay off my husband's pick-up truck, we will buy another car for me. That will probably be the last car that I purchase in this lifetime, and my husband plans to drive his pick-up for at least 20 years. We live in a rural area with no access to public transportation. Sometime I might invest in a Vespa for trips to town for small grocery store runs.

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    1. We kept our small car for 13 years...for you that would have just been nicely broken in.

      I have my eye on a 3 year old Prius. Going from 20 mpg to nearly 50 is very attractive. It is one of the ways I can cut costs and help our environment.

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  4. We went the downsizing route both with house and cars and so far it has worked out for us. Where we live not only are Uber and Lyft available but there is also a fixed route bus and Dial-a-Ride so there are always options. With downsizing we have cut our annual overhead in areas like insurance, yard upkeep costs, utilities, etc. I do have to say that the house we live in now is the same size as one we lived in for 10 years when our 2 sons were children so not a sacrifice.

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    1. The Phoenix area is the major testing site for self-drive cars. We see them all the time in our area. Once they work out all the bugs, I believe they will be an incredible boon to older drivers. At some point I shouldn't drive anymore. That will be a huge loss of independence. But, if driverless cars are a reasonable option I will no longer be at the mercy of Uber or slow, polluting buses. I can safely navigate the streets by computer.

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  5. I know this is off-topic but the flip side of saving is spending. The prospect of outliving your money is a serious worry for those whose retirement is being largely funded with savings, to the point that many don’t spend as freely as they can when they are best able to enjoy it in their early retirement years.

    A recent Employee Benefit Research Institute study found that people in the United States who retired with more than US$500,000 in savings on average still had 88 per cent of it left 18 years after retirement.

    Experts say "That is too much, people are being overly cautious” and suggest people should try to have about 60 per cent left at that time.

    The study found that even individuals with less than US$200,000 in non-housing assets immediately after retirement still had 75 per cent of their cash assets 18 years later (which is great news for their heirs).

    For many by the time they’re 75 or 80, they may be a lot more confident their money will last, but by that point in time they’ve lost either the ability or the inclination to spend and so it keeps on building up. Something to think about as you plan your retirement journey.




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    1. I can totally relate to your point. Without quoting specific numbers, we have been retired 17 years. Because of my parent's estate, a naturally conservative mindset toward spending, and a good financial adviser our total financial nest egg, excluding the house, is actually 70% more than when we retired. Not only haven't we dropped at all, our resources have increased substantially.

      So, what is keeping us from spending more? 50 years of "training," the desire to leave our daughters a nice amount after our deaths, and yes, irrational restraint.

      I can hear your advice now, David: enjoy some of it while you can!

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  6. A big way we save money is that Ken can fix almost anything. He maintains our pool and yard and fixes anything that breaks around the house. He can even SEW! LOL!!! He is the button fixer around here! Eating at home more often than we used to is saving us $$. I am on Weight Watchers to lose a few pounds, and I love to cook,and the meals at home are better for us too. We enjoy getaways to local Arizona towns,using airbnb which has been a HUGE savings over hotels. Most of my fun activities are free: playing cards at homes of different friends on a rotating basis, volunteering at local Botanical garden, an art group I attend every Thursday, and the library. Hiking and bicycling. Now that I have a Medicare Advantage program, my gym memberships are FREE! And we save money on dentistry by going to Mexico.Both of us have old dental work that is falling apart and needing replacement, we have saved a BUNDLE by researching Algodones thoroughly and learning how to make the drive and just do it.We've found a good dentist we like there. Like you and Betty, when we do go out to eat we've learned how to share an entree (WOW portions are huge! No wonder Americans are so overweight..we shared a Greek salad last week and EACH portion (they plated it into 2 plates for us..) was HUUUUGE..Daily savings are easy when you've mostly lived frugally and had a savings habit BEFORE retirement, and we don't hesitate to splurge on an exciting trip here and there when the urge hits--that's part of WHY we saved and remain frugal,right!!??

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    1. The next time I am faced with a minor repair, I know who I am going to call. LOL

      Free gym memberships are great. Seniors can also take certain courses at the very robust community college system in Phoenix, or audit courses at ASU for free.

      It is rare anymore for us to not share an entree. The portions are supersized, so there is always plenty (maybe too much) by splitting.

      We are off to Portland in a little less than two weeks. The Airbnb is about 50% cheaper than a hotel and is a full apartment versus one smallish room. Our Airbnb in Prescott earlier this summer was a tremendous experience and we could take our dog.

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  7. Saving money is always a good thing, and it's fun when you can snag a deal. Most large retirement organizations maintain a list of discounts available to seniors/retirees. We live in a small town and have individual interests that we like to pursue, so giving up a vehicle may not be in the cards for us just yet.

    What I found, and tell others approaching retirement with some financial anxiety, is that you may not have to look for as many savings as you thought you would. When looking at income projections, we focussed on net income rather than gross. In other words, what will actually end up in your bank account at the end of the day. Even with a good pension, the thought of a 30 or 40% (or more) reduction in your gross income can look scary. However, in my case I had many deductions coming off my work pay, including my work pension contribution, my government pension, my benefit plan, and a substantial amount of income tax. After retirement, the only deduction is income tax, and that's at a significantly lower rate.

    So when I look at our household net income, instead of a 30-40% reduction, we are only really seeing about a 6 or 7% reduction, meaning I was working for only a few thousand bucks a year.

    Disclaimer: Please, please do your own research and speak with your own advisors as everyone's situation will be different!

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    1. See my comment to David above. We are actually making money in retirement by not working. Obviously, we have been very fortunate in certain areas. But, your point dovetails with our experience: money fears are usually overblown.

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  8. We still have our 2 vehicles. We do not need 2 vehicles. We do however drive small crossover SUVs. And I assume you kept your “towed” CRV as your one vehicle. We just sold our “travel car” a 20 year old Jaguar saloon(4 door sedan).

    Bought another CUV. Because at our age, and being on the road, we prefer to sit up higher. We think it is safer. We suggest that you, too, like sitting up a little higher for safety reasons as well.

    Why do we have 2 cars? I am a “car guy” and enjoy having cars. It is my only major vice. My wife knows that when I “whip my head around “ it is never to look at an attractive blonde, it is always another car.

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    1. Yes, our "towed" (or Toad) is the car we have. It is big enough to haul around Betty's various projects but small enough to fit in the garage! It's gas mileage is poor, though, and it bothers me.

      Sitting up a little higher is a plus. Arizona drivers love their large trucks and super-sized SUVs. When we had the small Honda I always made it a point to not drive in another vehicle's blind spot since I was too small to see.

      Good thing you wife is aware of your car fascination, though may I suggest you "whip my head around" only at stop lights!

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  9. A subject near and dear to my heart, Bob, since it was likely one of the bigger reasons why Deb and I were able to retire early. How do we save money now:

    1. No mortgage and no debt. All credit cards are paid off in full with no interest each month, and we only use cards that pay us either substantial signup bonuses, nice rebates, or ideally both. AmEx for groceries at 6%, Sam's Club Mastercard for 5% on gas, US Bank Cash+ for 5% on all utilities, and so on.

    2. I use the Kroger's gas points system heavily by racking up points buying gift cards that we know we will use. I also get 6% on the AmEx card for buying them in the first place as well, especially when Kroger's runs their 4x promotions on points. Only spent 9 cents/gal for 35 gals the other day as an example (I also have 50 gals in gas cans in the garage so I always get all the gas "owed" me).

    3. For those who go to movies, and it doesn't have to be often, I would recommend the AMC Stubs program. We pay $15/year for Premier but get it back almost immediately from AMC, and then accrue $5 at a shot for the rest of the year. Our Senior price for tickets is only $6 for all times, so it is a sweet deal for first run movies.

    4. Since we live outside of town we still need two vehicles (and two Harleys as well, of course). But we hold onto vehicles as long as possible and maintain them well. The 2007 H3 only gets driven by Deb around town at about 3K miles per year, while the 2012 F-150 is used for all our trips and vacations. Wish we could drop to one but it would be tough at this point.

    5. We eat out often and probably shouldn't, but we seldom pay a high price. We do have lots of emails coming to us with deals from chains we have signed up for their email offerings, and also take advantage of all early dining discounts. Surprisingly for lunches more and more fast(er) food chains are picking up their quality, as they offer more grilled items in the way of fish and chicken. And my absolute favorite chain, Hardee's, offers great pricing all the time on lunch boxes (although unless you are eating the grilled chicken sandwich without mayo you will not be eating healthy).

    I could go on and on but I'll look forward to reading others comments to see if I can learn any new tricks. And my personal preference regarding housing? Pay the mortgage off before retirement. It has nothing to do with whether that is the correct approach financially or not for anyone's particular situation, rather it is all about piece of mind.

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    1. Occasionally, Betty and I will decide to go out to lunch instead of dinner for that week's out-of-home dining experience. The portions are smaller and the prices lower for mostly the same food choices. The crowds are also lighter.

      I just checked out the AMC options. They even have a free program that gets you into the $5 Tuesday movies. Hard to beat that!

      Everyone: Take the time to review all of Chuck's ideas. He has some great ones.

      Our daughter and son-in-law do the same thing you do with the gas points system at a local chain, buying gift cards to basically double their per gallon discount. I'm not sure they have ever gotten to 9 cents/gallon, but they do save a lot that way. With 3 very active kids under 12 there is a lot of driving involved so the extra planning makes sense.

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  10. 1. We have not paid any money in credit card interest in 35 years. It's unimaginable to us.
    2. My husband was surprised when I suggested this but we downsized into a retirement home a few years BEFORE we retired from work. There was no reason not to and we were able to pay cash for the smaller home by taking a bit from our retirement savings. The feeling of safety is indescribable. I highly recommend it.
    3. We have traveled to every place on our bucket list in the last dozen years, in part, by using credit card bonuses. We have it down to a science. Not only have their been once in a lifetime trips every year, but we also go to Hawaii every year, sometimes twice. We almost always have either free airfare or free hotels in Hawaii from the credit card bonuses. I estimate we have saved around $15,000 in the last ten years from travel hacking.
    4. Husband likes to eat out more than I do, but is perfectly happy with fast food and we almost always do lunch.

    Due to an unexpected disability payment we have found we actually have more money in retirement than we did while working. A sweet end to working life.

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    1. A very positive report, Anne.

      Paying interest on credit card debt is one of the worst ways to waste money, retired or not. Certainly, there can be times and circumstances when it becomes necessary to carry a balance. But, as soon as possible paying that balance back to zero is absolutely smart.

      All that travel with credit card bonuses...do you switch cards often just to grab the sign up perks...like 60,000 miles if you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days? Does that switching hurt your credit score? I should take the time to learn your techniques.

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    2. Some cards we have kept for years but many we dump after one or two. It's very hard to spend enough to amass points, so it's the introductory offer that does it. We look carefully at what airline/hotel the card offers and see if it fits in with our life. Many only require a $1,000 spend and this is not only fairly easily done, but you can time it so you get the card around the time you will have extra expenses like a trip, home improvements or car insurance payments. There is a lot to learn and reading some of the blogs will help you get started.

      Husband and I have excellent credit ratings.

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    3. Thanks for the follow up, Anne.

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    4. I don't like carrying any card that charges an annual fee, Bob (the exception being AmEx because of their exceptionally high 6% on groceries). I do sign up for the cards that waive the fee the first year, if they have a generous signup bonus in the first three month; I'll then cancel the card before any annual fee starts. And you can generally go back and apply for the same card again after a period of time has lapsed after you cancel it; some will say two years while others may only be one, or even less. I have three new ones to look at that I will get before the end of the year that I can put the property taxes on, wiping out a lot of the amount needed for the bonus. Even doing all this machination my credit score is north of 825; in many ways the extra credit lines open help your scores, as long as you are not maxing out your credit limits.

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  11. I would love to use public transaction, but we live in the suburbs of Seattle in the summer and Tucson in the winter. We have two efficient vehicles in Washington, because our activities are quite separate here, but only one in Tucson. We decided not to pay off our mortgage because of the interest deduction. We put everything on one credit card and pay it off every month, and use the miles. We're in the process of rightsizing in our 2000 square foot house in Washington and are considering selling it in the next couple of years. In Tucson we live in 620 square feet which is plenty. We still invest $450 every month. We don't use discounts very often, but we could! My husband is a lifelong coupon clipper - almost a hobby for him now.

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    1. Along with his newfound love of acting!

      Isn't it amazing how we adapt to a smaller space and after awhile it doesn't feel small at all? I imagine when you get back to Washington your home feels huge!

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  12. I got a shock. We have a pretty good retirement income. We have great credit. We do not have a mortgage (probably the problem). My husband got turned down for a new credit card. I was shocked. I have heard of people our age not being able to take out a mortgage either.

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    1. I've heard of that being a problem. It may have something to do with what you report as your annual income and how much credit you already have with other cards.

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  13. Sorry, My comment on credit cards was supposed to be after Anne's comment.
    We save money by going almost everywhere off season. We also book plane tickets using watching Hopper to get the best price.
    My husband has broken his lifelong book buying budget. He now requests books from the library. They have come to trust him and now buy books that he suggests!
    Linda- can you still write off your mortgage interest? We no longer make enough to write off---the standard deduction is way higher in 2018. Standard deduction went from 12,500 to 24,000 for a married couple.

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    1. Oh, no problem. It still is something that can affect lots of people.

      Re: mortgage deduction...I had the same question. With the new standard deduction lots of people won't itemize deductions, making the mortgage deduction not worth anything.

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  14. We always ask if there is a senior discount, and at what age does it start. Usually we can get a discount if we chat up the employee a bit. It pays to be kind.

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    1. I need to start asking. 10% here and 10% there adds up.

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  15. I believe we can be nickeled & dimed so one of the ways I save money is to not spend it to begin with. I don't make a hobby of shopping. It helps that I enjoy my home and live in the country. I consolidate errands and make fewer trips to town. I eat out maybe 1-2 times a month. I would rather have a well-stocked pantry that allows me to enjoy the food I've cooked at home. I've driven the last 2 vehicles I've owned for 10 yrs. My "farm" truck is a 1991 model. The last mortgage payment was made 3 yrs into my retirement. It contributed to piece of mind more than anything. My clothing budget is paltry; I buy classic well-made pieces that last. I take advantage of discount Tues at the grocery store and movie theatre. I don't need the latest thing. I replace items when they no longer work and can't be fixed. My son has admonished me with - don't you think it's time you got with the 21st century? This from the man who's been known to say - Yep, time to go to work to make money to buy [crap] we don't need. This frugal lifestyle does not stop me from enjoying international travel, road trips and good concerts, clothes & meals. When I want to or need to spend money, it's there.

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    1. The money is there for the travel and concerts exactly because you don't succumb to the siren calls of instant gratification and new is better.

      I find it both funny and disturbing that TV channels like HGTV feed our insecurity by always, and I mean always, showing people who want to "update" the kitchen or bathroom. The cabinets all need to go because they are the wrong color. The message this type of programming sends out is satisfaction with what you have is wrong.

      Thanks, Mona.

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    2. I read all the comments and this is the one that resonates with me. I replace things when they break. I hate to shop. Buy clothing I really like and use it forever. Most of what I like to do is free or very inexpensive. And I get around nyc on public transportation at half price for seniors. This lifestyle enabled me to save and invest during my working years and I can splurge now when I want to. I do frequently meet friends for lunch which I really enjoy and sometimes to an expensive restaurant. I think the point of saving money is that you have the choice of spending it on things you really want.

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  16. Can someone please explain to me the travel hacking with a credit card? I do not eat out but maybe once every two months, and it might cost $10, at most. Can I pay my utilities or my car insurance payment by credit card? To be real, my car insurance payment to GEICO is my biggest monthly bill (I insure my three sons).... I am trying figure out how to get free tickets for plane, railroad, or free hotels. I am just not sure if putting my monthly payments on car insurance, groceries, gas, and utilities on a card, would be worth the travel hacking but I would certainly do it, if I got free tickets.

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    1. You definitely need a reasonable amount of charges to get a lot of miles for airline travel. It sounds like with the level of charges you have that it might be best just to have a no annual fee/cash back card. As to whether you can charge utilities and car insurance payments, it will depend upon your utilities and insurance companies (in my case I am allowed to charge two different utilities, but the other two only want bank online payments, while my insurance company only allows one of my smaller policies to go on the card).

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    2. I would think the only way you could get enough miles for a trip or two is if you sign up for a card that gives you a bonus of 50-60,000 miles. Usually, the requirement is you must put around $3,000 worth of charges on the card in a three month period to get the miles. Cards like this also often come with an annual fee.

      Chuck is probably right: your level of charging would not likely turn into many miles. So, go for cash back cards with no annual fee.

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    3. Thanks y'all. I doubt I could meet the $3000 threshold without the utilities or car insurance charge being put on a card. I spend about, at most and this is stretching is, $200 a month on groceries, about $150 a month on gas, $30 on a phone, and everything else is thrift store as needed.....lol.

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  17. I have had a lifetime habit of being frugal, doing many of the things others have mentioned (e.g., paying off credit cards in full; driving my car for the length of its useful life; using discount coupons when convenient; etc.). One interesting thing I have observed is that, among an enclave of well-to-do seniors near where I live, values seem to be completely opposite. This group revels in displaying their wealth, and talking about how much they are spending on expensive renovations, exotic travel, landscaping, and so on. I thought my generation had outgrown the desire for conspicuous consumption decades ago. I thought the financially careful approaches to retirement discussed on blogs such as this one were the norm. So I was surprised to encounter these views expressed by my neighbours. I suppose it is a good reminder that not everyone shares my views!

    Jude

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    1. Different strokes, Jude.

      While enjoying the fruits of one's labors is certainly not wrong, bragging about it or living in such a way as to flaunt it are the actions of a rather immature person. Personally, I feel sorry for someone who needs to reassure him or herself of their worth with such behavior. Certainly the people I know and those who read this blog have outgrown such childish actions.

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