People who enjoy shopping as a recreational activity may find that it does serious harm to their retirement funds, now that their income stream has been shifted to retirement mode. Here’s a suggestion: try devoting that time to other activities, and if you must shop, then spend more time hunting down sales, especially senior discounts.
MarketWatch’s recent article, “Retirement isn’t a permanent vacation: Don’t spend your free time spending,” reports that the bad thing is with more time on your hands, you can buy more. Online shopping can be a big attraction, particularly if you used e-commerce during your working career.
To thwart the urge to shop non-stop in retirement, retirees should try to maintain active lives and a full social calendar. You can volunteer with a charity, take exercise classes and attend community events. All of these will keep a retiree from aimlessly acquiring things. You’ll be too busy to shop, and you’ll experience more socialization with others who have the same hobbies and interests.
When you do need to shop, use caution, and look online for directories of discounts and coupons like SeniorDiscounts.com and ProgramsForElderly.com.
Prior to making a purchase at a brick-and-mortar store, inquire about senior discounts. Some pharmacies, supermarkets, and other retailers offer specials, especially on certain days of the week. The first Wednesday of the month may be senior day at your grocer’s. In many retail outlets, employees aren’t permitted to proactively give the discount because it can offend people to assume they’re over 65. You have to ask for it.
Another option for the resourceful retirees is to consider purchasing used items or even trading goods and services. Social media facilitates such exchanges, with apps like Nextdoor and Freecycle. People use these websites for giving away or trading items. They’re pretty safe, since you’re dealing with your neighbors.
Be careful online with your credit card information. Before agreeing to any kind of purchase, make certain that you aren’t being signed up for a regular monthly fee or subscription. Seniors are targeted by websites that automatically sign users up that charge their credit cards, and these are usually extremely hard to cancel.
Finally, two of the most common sources of surprise in spending for seniors are dental care and hearing aids, which sadly are not covered by Medicare or regular health insurance. Look for state dental associations to find free programs. Some dental colleges offer 50% to 75% off regular rates at practices.
If you need a hearing aid, these expensive devices are not covered by Medicare. There are a number of different options on the market, including a “pocket talker” that sells for around $125. There are also volume boosters designed to look like blue tooth ear buds. Consider these as alternatives to hearing aids. If they work, you can save big.
Reference: MarketWatch (September 5, 2018) “Retirement isn’t a permanent vacation: Don’t spend your free time spending”