People age 65 or older make up 14 percent of the U.S. population, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. If you belong to this group and have retired, consider cutting these expenses to get the most out of your benefits and savings.
Become a One-Vehicle Household
If you are a retired couple with two cars in the garage, consider selling one. That way, you only have one vehicle to maintain and insure. Speaking of insurance, call your agent and ask for an assessment of your current policy. You may qualify for a low-mileage discount because you no longer commute.
Run errands together to save on fuel. While AAA reports that the national average price of gas is at a seven-month low of $3.34 per gallon (as of late September), fuel remains an expense you can easily control by planning ahead.
Take Advantage of Time-of-Use Pricing
A variety of service providers offer discounts to customers who use their services during what they designate as off-peak hours. For example, Portland General Electric charges 4.048 cents per kWh from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. daily and from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays and certain holidays. Compare that to the 12.142 cents per kWh it charges during its on-peak hours of 3 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Now that you’re retired, you can schedule household chores that use significant amounts of electricity (such as laundry) during the hours it will cost you the least to do them.
Certain gyms, golf courses and cell phone service providers also offer time-of-use pricing. And on the subject of cell phones: Consider getting rid of your landline if you do not use it.
Switch From Cable or Satellite to Streaming
According to the most recent report on pricing released by the Federal Communications Commission, the average cost of cable continues to rise. In 2013, the average was $22.63 for basic service, $66.41 for basic expanded and $81.64 for the next most popular tier. That works out to $271.56, $796.92 and $979.68, respectively, as an annual expense. These numbers do not include the many fees and taxes you pay on top of the services.
Instead of paying for hundreds of channels you do not watch, switch to the bare minimum or cancel outright and stream TV shows and movies only. With streaming players such as Roku and the like, you only pay for what you want to watch per download or via subscription services that cost significantly less than cable or satellite.
Skip the Monthly Clothes Shopping Trips
If you love to stay on-trend, continue to do so but at a reduced pace. You no longer need business clothes, after all, so treat yourself within reason before a new season instead of monthly at the mall.
Ladies, also consider letting your skin breathe when not out and about. Do you really need to wear full makeup on a day during which you catch up on your favorite TV show or work in the garden? Financial website Mint reported women spend nearly $216 a year on cosmetics. Is that still a necessity during your retirement years?
By cutting unnecessary expenses, you can more comfortably stick to a budget now dictated by a fixed income. You may even find money to pay for trips to the many places you dreamed about traveling to during your working years.