As we are living longer, healthier lives, we do indeed have the time to rediscover, redefine, and reinvent ourselves. I really to believe that we should create a revitalized outlook for the future. Part of the planning process here is an attempt to pursue our passions and interests during our retirement years.
If you are concerned about the amount of money you will have available to live your desired retirement lifestyle, it is important that you create some sort of monthly budget. When that process is complete you will know how much have available, where you may be able to cut back, and plan ahead for future expenses. Indeed, this plan will help keep you out of debt. You can begin the process by simply getting a pad, drawing a line down the center labeling one side “income” and the other “expenses.” After writing everything down, including that pack of gum, you may be amazed at the amount of money you are wasting.
Let’s explore some suggestions for how to enjoy various components of your retirement on a frugal basis.
FRUGAL SHOPPING TIPS
If you can, avoid the middleman when you shop. Of course this process becomes easier if you shop online. And, you can compare online prices with those in stores.
Try to control impulse buying. Ask yourself whether you really need the item in question.
Buy in bulk if it will save you money. Stockpiling items on sale will also add savings.
Shop at thrift or consignment stores. We’ve made some incredible deals on good quality furniture over the years. Remember, there are stores that sell varying levels of quality.
Check out the clearance racks at the store.
Be certain to check prices in the warehouse clubs. It is important to compare prices of big-ticket items to be sure you are getting the best deal. If you have a smartphone it could be of great service to you. Download the Red Laser app, which will allow you to compare prices on the spot.
Here are some suggestions from a variety of sources on ways to save at these clubs:
• Stick to 1 membership. Otherwise you could end up by spending more than $100 just to get inside the store.
• Perhaps you do not need to buy a membership at all. Often times warehouse clubs allow a member to bring along 1guest. You could also consider splitting the cost of a membership with a family member.
• Compare prices with other retailers.
• Buy the store brand. Many of the clubs carry their own brands of cleaning products, detergent, and pet food.
• Make use of store perks and discount offers. That would include gas stations, car-care centers, and cafeterias.
• Do not plan too far ahead particularly when it comes to food. You may end up having to store items for months at a time.
By the way, there is nothing at all wrong with checking out garage, tag, or yard sales. You never know what you will find.
Consumers Reports offers the following suggestions, and, I agree whole-heartedly with all of them.
1. Do not simple accept an asking price for big-ticket items. You can haggle! I have had great success with such things as free delivery, elimination drop-off charges for rental cars, and airline fares when I call the airline directly.
2. Offer to pay cash for an item in exchange for a discount.
3. Say no to extended warranties. Products may easily outlast those expensive additions without the charges.
4. Consider refurbished models when buying electronics. Be certain that they have a valid warranty and that you deal with reliable vendors. I have found that buying floor models can be a great frugal approach.
Do not forget that you can save substantial money on “open box” items. Sometimes buyers return merchandise because of the color being wrong, or, it may simple be a decision change. I recently purchased a new TV from a local department store. The box had simply been opened and sealed closed. The sale price was one-half of the original price and, the item was not even removed from the package. Be certain that you thoroughly check and compare prices with new merchandises with potential manufacturers rebates. Rebate amounts can at time be substantial. In addition, be sure to check return policies.
When purchasing big-ticket items, as I previously discussed, do not hesitate to attempt to negotiate a better price by speaking directly with a floor manager. You could save an additional 15%. And, it is always good to come in with a comparison price that will give you better ground to stand on. If you have a smartphone or iPad, by all means download the aforementioned RedLaser app.
When shopping for specific items online, I recommend that you begin your shopping by doing a simple Google search for the specific items. Specifically, try Froogle or shopping.com. Those sites will offer you general price comparisons. One of the key things you will want to look for is free shipping and when possible, no sales tax. These days you will find most anything you need through Amazon and its vendors. You can get even lower prices with the help of promotional codes for Amazon or at the Amazon Warehouse which features more heavily discounted open box items or that have been returned that are guaranteed.
If you are looking for products reviews check out a website such as Buzillions. There you will find basic customer reviews, which may assist you in deciding which products to avoid.
Amazon offers for prime shipping for a reasonable fee, which provides you with free two-day shipping on a huge variety of items. I’ve saved a great deal of money with this promotion because you do not need to order the $25 minimum to qualify for free shipping and you do not need to wait a longer time for your orders.
The next article on frugality will feature additional specific suggestions on enjoying various components of your retirement lifestyle on a frugal basis.