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Money-saving tips for seniors

The AARP Bulletin released a list of “99 Great Ways to Save” in June 2015, available at aarp.org. Here is a selection of the tips found in seven categories.

Money

Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) are available to low- to moderate-income persons who want to save money for a specific goal, such as postsecondary education, job training, purchasing a home, or starting a business. Nonprofits match savings made by the account holder dollar-for-dollar or more and offer relevant classes on topics like budgeting and saving. Learn more or find an IDA near you at IDAnetwork.org.

Personal Technology

Find free e-books online through Project Gutenberg. Overdrive.com allows you to borrow e-books and audiobooks with your library card. And, for those who prefer tangible pages, let us never undervalue our local libraries!

Patricia Baxter Thornhill shares a tip. “I've given up cable TV and now use a digital antenna for TV and Roku, a streaming device, to get free channels. My cable bill used to be more than $200 a month. Now I pay $53, which includes Internet, Netflix, and Hulu.”

Style

Shop for clearance clothing in January following the holiday sales, purchase luggage in March when discounts are common, and buy discounted sneakers in November following back-to-school sales.

Home

Only use coupons for items that are already on your shopping list – the rest of the coupons will just tempt you to spend money on something you do not really need.

Shel Horowitz of Hadley, Mass., recommends that you “have an energy audit. Many utility companies offer them for free. Last time we did one, the utility gave us hundreds of dollars’ worth of LED lightbulbs and picked up two-thirds of the cost of reinsulating.”

Entertainment

You can take free tours of various cities across the world. For a free tour of New York, visit bigapplegreeter.org. For other locations, try globalgreeternetwork.info.

Frank Hyman says, “My wife and I spent two weeks in France — for $50. Through World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF), we spent four hours, five days a week, helping out on a Provence farm in exchange for room and board. Our afternoons, evenings and weekends were free to explore the countryside.”

Health

Are you reading your medical bills closely? Eighty percent of medical bills contain mistakes, so ask for an itemized bill and make sure everything is correct before you pay. And did you know you can ask your doctor for a discount? Over 60% of those who did received one.

Work

If you’re applying for a job, you can find out the average salary for someone in that position on websites like PayScale.com and Salary.com. This is also useful research to do before asking for a raise. Government salaries are posted with the Office of Personnel Management at opm.gov.