|Don't pour money down the drain|
But all that is kind of depressing. We Americans like to be expansive, generous, and feel like we're growing and getting richer. There must be ways to save money that are not skinflinty and pennypinching, but are actually kind of clever. For example, finding a way to avoid check-writing and ATM fees at a bank (as suggested on this money-saving site). Who needs them? And doesn't it make you feel good that you're not letting the bank take advantage of you?
The idea is not to stretch your dollar -- that's depressing. It's not to throw your money down the drain, which is wasteful. I have a few suggestions. But I'm betting* that other people have some better ones. So please step up and offer your own creative ways for seniors to save a buck.
I've found that one feel-good way to save money is to spend more on items that have not gone up as much as inflation. An obvious example is technology. You can buy a good computer or TV for half the price you used to pay. Another is clothes. Back in the 1990s, I paid $25 or $30 for a pair of pants, and maybe $15 for a nice shirt. Today, I buy clothes on sale at Macy's. It's a nice store, but I rarely pay more than $25 or $30 for a pair of pants, or $15 for a shirt. And given the modern-day casual look -- as well as being semi-retired -- I haven't had to buy a suit in over a decade. My clothes budget is just not very high anymore, even when I splurge.
Another thing I did, since my kids are grown up and on their own -- I canceled my life insurance. Not a big deal, but it saves me $30-some per month.
One thing I will never do, unless we do get another Great Depression, is give up restaurants. I like going out for a nice meal, and then no one has to cook (B's job) or do the dishes (my job). And I will not stoop to eating dinner at 5 o'clock just to grab a senior citizen discount. We instead to go out for breakfast or lunch. We get the same benefits at half the cost -- without feeling like we're some poor, ragged pensioners who can only afford to eat dinner in the middle of the afternoon.
Another easy saving for me. Cancel the health club membership. I didn't use it as much as I should have anyway, and it's just as much fun to take a walk around the neighborhood, meet the neighbors, enjoy a few pleasant conversations.
The key is not to feel like you're cutting back, but to save money where it doesn't hurt. Of course, what hurts one person may not hurt another. Maybe you don't mind eating dinner at 5 p.m., but you'd never give up your gym membership. The point is, if you have plenty of choices, you can find places to save where you'll barely notice the difference. So I'd love some more ideas for expenses to avoid -- 'cause, you know, we ain't getting any younger, or richer.
* As for betting, I've been to Foxwoods; I've been to Atlantic City; and I know who goes there -- a lot of people on Social Security. If you have to gamble, play cards with your friends or get a pool going on March Madness, and cut the house out of the action.