News4Utah is dedicating the day to finding ways to stretch your dollar. AARP has compiled a helpful list of money-saving ideas that will put that extra cash in your pocket. From ways to chop your food bill to saving on utilities, AARP’s got you covered.
You can see the full list below or online at aarp.org.
1. Eat for cheap. Get a list of discounts at about 70 restaurant chains at TheSeniorList.com. Show your AARP card at Denny’s, for exampleA, and save $7.50 on a $50 check.
2. BYOB (your own bag, that is). A growing number of communities require a 5- to 10-cent charge per bag provided by the store. Use your own bags and you could easily save $25 a year.
3. Skip organic if you peel it. Experts say you want organic fruits or veggies when you’re eating the whole thing. But skip it for bananas and other foods that you typically peel. Save $1 on the price of an avocado.
5. Go small. Research shows that when the size of your shopping cart is doubled, you buy a whopping 40 percent more. Grab a small cart and save up to $233 a month for two.
6. Learn patterns. Grocery chains put certain products on sale at regular intervals. A store may offer a “buy one, get one free” deal on your favorite ice cream or snack every sixth week. Discover the pattern and easily save $300 a year.
7. Get wine by the case. Most wine stores will take at least 10 percent off your purchase if you walk out with 12 bottles. You’ll save $48 on two cases of $20 wine, and you’ll always have a housewarming gift handy.
8. Be a ninja shopper. Here’s how cunning grocery shoppers save $10 or more a week on produce costs: They plan specific needs, rather than just randomly selecting. They show up to the farmers market late, when sellers slash prices. They buy overstocked produce at a discount. They use a grocery store loyalty card to get the best prices.
9. Another way to dine out for less. Restaurants.com offers discounted gift certificates to eateries all over the country. For example, you’ll pay $10 for a $25 gift certificate — and save $15 on a night out.
10. Drink office coffee. If you spend $4 a day at Starbucks on a couple of tall coffees, that’s $1,000 a year just for workdays. Many offices have free coffee. If not, a pound of $4.99 coffee from the supermarket produces 25 tall (12-ounce) cups. Net savings a year: up to $1,000.
1. Seal your chimney flue. As much as 8 percent of your heating dollars could be escaping up the chimney. Seal it or install a chimney pillow, and save $80 on a $1,000 heating bill.
2. Get a programmable thermostat. Lowering or raising your home’s temperature by 7 to 10 degrees for eight hours as you sleep can save $100 a year. Get a programmable thermostat so you don’t forget.
3. Ease your internet speed. Internet providers always push the newest, fastest options, but a basic service of 20 megabits per second (Mbps) is fine for the typical family to surf, email and stream videos. Optimum Online offers that speed at $29.99 a month. Save $120 every year.
4. Turn down your water heater. Most water heaters come from the factory set at 140 degrees – hot enough to scald. Turn it down to 120 degrees and save about $60 per year.
5. Seal your home. Inspect for leaks at windows and doors with a lighted incense stick. Sealing them could cut a $1,000 heating and cooling bill by $200. Really!
6. Get a tankless water heater. These units produce hot water on demand. They’re up to 30 percent more efficient than tanks that waste energy keeping water hot all the time. The typical family spends $500 a year heating water. Annual savings: $150.
7. Don’t drench your lawn. It needs just 1 inch of water per week, including rain. Sprinklers often deliver much more than that. Put a coffee mug under the sprinkler and stick in a ruler when you are done. If you collected 2 inches of water, you are spending about $158 a month during the summer on wasted water.
8. Clean your trap. A dryer can lose 75 percent of its efficiency if lint clogs its trap. Clean it after every use and save $101 on the annual cost of operating a dryer.
9. Find free Wi-Fi. Going over your phone’s data limit can easily cost you $180 a year. Download Wi-Fi Finder, an app that locates nearby locations where Wi-Fi is free. It works worldwide.
10. Save on your bulbs. LED bulbs are no longer scarily expensive. Replace 40 incandescent bulbs with LEDs, and you could save $1,500 over their 10-year life span.
11. Get it fixed for free. At Repair Café events nationwide, volunteers help fix a variety of household items that folks can’t fix themselves. Go to RepairCafe.org to find an event near you. You could save $100 by fixing that old lamp.
12. Stamp out stamps. Sign up to have all those bills paid by automatic withdrawal. If you are still mailing off five bills a month, you can save $30 a year on stamps — and avoid the hassle of visiting the post office.
13. Scan for unused subscriptions: Truebill, which helps users find subscription services and determine how much they’re paying for them each year, claims that the average user can save $100 or more a year canceling what they don’t need or renegotiating the bill.
1. Shorten your mortgage. The average mortgage rate in June was 4.78 percent for 30 years and 4.17 percent for 15 years. A $200,000 mortgage would cost you $1,047 a month for 30 years or $1,496 a month for 15 years. Yes, that’s more, but the 15-year loan saves you almost $108,000 in interest, or an average of $7,200 a year for 15 years.
2. Haggle with your real estate agent. There is no law that says agents must get 6 percent of the selling price. In today’s seller’s market, agents might accept 5 percent. Save $5,000 selling a $500,000 house.
3. Sell to Amazon. The online retailer accepts a slew of old items, including video games, textbooks and Kindle e-readers for trade-in, in exchange for a gift card. Search the Trade-In Store and if your item is listed there, print a free shipping label and send it in. Recently, Amazon offered $3 for National Geographic maps.
4. Roundup and save. Acorns is an app that automatically rounds up your credit card purchases to the nearest dollar. The extra change gets invested in stocks and bonds. Save and invest $30 a month.
5. Call before you pay. Banks and credit card companies will usually waive the fee for a rare late payment. Save up to $35 for one fee.
6. Use a digital-only bank. It offers better savings rates. The average annual percentage yield (APY) on savings accounts is around 0.08 percent, but online banks offer APYs around 1.5 percent. If you stash $20,000 for a year, the earnings difference will be $286.
7. Swap services. Sign up at U-Exchange.com to trade your talent for someone else’s. You might save $350 the next time you need a plumber if you can, say, handle his taxes.
8. Donate stock, not cash. You might save big, as you aren’t liable for capital-gains tax. Let’s say you give $5,000 worth of stock to your place of worship, and paid $1,000 for those shares years back. If you sold the shares, then donated the cash, you’d owe $1,000 in capital gains taxes if you’re in the 25 percent tax bracket.
9. Seek out property tax breaks. Most states offer some type of property tax exemption for homeowners over 65, including rebates, caps on assessed value, and property tax rate or assessment freezes. New York, for example, will lower your property tax by 50 percent if you make $29,000 or less annually. That break could easily save you $7,000 a year.
10. Dodge convenience fees. Many parents don’t realize until too late that lots of colleges charge a fee averaging 2.62 percent if you pay tuition and other costs with a credit card. Avoid a $1,310 fee on a $50,000 annual college bill to a private school.
11. Cut college costs. State universities charge by the credit hour but accept credits from community colleges. Twelve credit hours at the University of Maryland, for example, cost $4,224. Take the same basic classes at nearby Montgomery College for $1,728. Save $2,496.
1. Raise your deductible. Boosting the deductible on a homeowners policy from $500 to $1,000 could save you 25 percent, according to the Insurance Information Institute, or $307 off an average $1,228 policy.
2. Clean windows cheap. Mix equal parts vinegar and water in a spray bottle for a solution that leaves windows sparkling. Some experts also add a few drops of dishwashing liquid. Save $4.50 or more by not buying window cleaner at the store.
3. Skip dryer sheets. Instead, cut a sponge in half and soak the pieces in a container holding 1 cup fabric softener and 2 cups water. Wring and toss one into each dryer load. Replace liquid every 3 months. Save: $8 per 80 loads.
4. Mulch for free Google. your county name and “free mulch” to see if it (or free compost) is offered. Save $3.66 per 2 cubic feet of mulch or $4.97 per cubic foot of compost.
5. Get cheap cables. Expensive electronics cables don’t carry signals better than cheap ones, which hold up fine for home use. Get a $10 HDMI cable, not a $30 one, and save $20.
6. Use the same insurer . Companies often charge up to 15 percent less if you buy both home and auto policies from them. You can save over $100 a year on insurance costs.
7. Use generic pet meds. Yes, they exist! For example, Heartgard Plus costs $43 to treat a large dog for six months. HeartShade Plus, a generic version, has the same active ingredients for $20. Save $23.
8. Groom your own pup . You can spend $70 at a dog groomer. Plus you have to make an appointment and take the time to go there. Learn to do it yourself—YouTube has instructions for many breeds.
9. Get a puppy at a rescue shelter. Rescue a dog for $300 or less (sometimes free). A purebred Labrador retriever can cost $1,500. Save at least a $1,000 on your new best friend.
10. Get it fixed for free.At Repair Café events nationwide, volunteers help fix a variety of household items that folks can’t fix themselves. Go to RepairCafe.org to find an event near you. You could save $100 by fixing that old lamp.
1. Buy discounted gift cards. On websites such as Raise and Cardpool, people list unwanted gift cards at a discount — 16 percent is average, according to the site. Buy a $100 gift card for $84 and save $16.
2. Do a postseason stock-up shop. The best time to replace worn-out clothes, gear or supplies is when their season has just ended. For example, a gas grill at Home Depot was listed at $299 last summer, then marked down to $249 after the season. Savings: $50.
3. Check out Amazon Warehouse. Before you buy, see if the item is available at a discount. A Poulan self-propelled lawn mower selling for $300 on Amazon was available on Amazon Warehouse, slightly used, for $210, a savings of $90.
4. Check for promo codes. Online retailers offer discount codes. Google the retailer and “promo code” to see what pops up or check RetailMeNot.com before finalizing a purchase. Recent savings: $31.98 off a Land’s End dress priced at $79.95, and $47.96 off a pair of Gap men’s jeans and a sweater worth $119.90 — a total of almost $80.
5. Buy through BeFrugal.com. This website offers coupons and cash back for purchases from 5,000 retailers. A Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon laptop was $1,339 using a $70 coupon. That’s a savings of more than $100 over online retailers.
6. Buy a refurbished computer. Why pay big bucks for the latest model? Go to sites like DiscountComputerDepot.com and pick up a refurbished laptop with a one-year warranty for $100. That’ll save you at least $100 over a new computer.
7. Get magazines cheap. Subscribe to lots of magazines? Consider the Texture app: For one monthly fee, you get access to digital versions of more than 200 popular magazines. Save $10 to $50 per subscription.
8. Rent a dress. Need a glamorous dress or evening gown that you plan to wear only once? Don’t buy it; rent it instead at sites like RentTheRunway.com. A gown that sells for $695 can be rented for $115. Savings: $580.
9. Get retroactive refunds. Stores will refund the difference if the price drops soon after you buy an item. The Earny app finds and claims price drops. Savings: $220 when that laptop you ordered drops in price.
10. Wait on a mattress sale. Never buy a department store mattress at regular price. Those stores regularly have steep discounts. A recent sale at a national chain store saw the price of a queen-size mattress and box spring set marked down from $3,589 to $1,749. Savings: $1,780.
11. Digitize your coupons. The app SnipSnap helps you store a digital image of a coupon (that you might otherwise lose) on your smartphone. A salvaged CVS coupon saved us $10.
12. Design your own greeting card. Make cards for free at Spark.Adobe.com/make/card-maker. Save up to $10 a card.
13. Get free e-books. You can download nearly 60,000 public domain e-books, including many classics, at Gutenberg.org. Save $3 to $10 per e-book.
14. Shop unit prices. Focus on costs per ounce or other units of measure, not the total price. Recent example: A 1-liter bottle of seltzer cost 32 cents a pint, vs. 55 cents a pint for a 12-ounce can. Save $10 a week.
15. Join a shave club. Pay about $2 for a razor cartridge at an online shave club like Harry’s or Dollar Shave Club. Save $2.50 or more per cartridge compared with brand-name choices bought in a store, or $60 a year.
16. Max out your library. Stream books, get first-run movies or grab free passes to museums. For example, at many New York state public libraries you can pick up free admission to the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan, a $25 savings.
17. Buy refilled ink cartridges. Amazon listed new cartridges for a Hewlett-Packard printer at $82.70. Refilled cartridges were $19.99. Savings: $62.71.
18. Swap books. List books you want to get rid of on BookMooch.com. Get points when you send them to people who request them. Use the points to order used books. Save up to $81 on three hardcovers.
19. Get Gimp for photo editing. Love to do sophisticated photo editing? Download Gimp for free and save $120 per year over paying $10 a month for Photoshop.
20. Find free recyclables. Join your local chapter at Freecycle.org. Then see if someone wants to give away stuff you are about to buy. The New York City chapter recently listed a free “hardly used” portable crib that cost $60 new.
21. Swap clothes online. RehashClothes.com has photos of more than 10,000 items of clothing that its members want to swap. See something you like? Offer a piece of clothing in exchange, and if the offer is accepted, swap through the mail. No money involved except postage. You might save $100 on a nice dress or jacket.
22. Stream free movies. Go to Kanopy.com. If you belong to one of the 4,000 participating public libraries and campuses, you can stream 30,000 movies for free. If you watch one movie a week, you’ll save about $156 a year over renting movies online.
23. Host morning parties. Brunch gatherings can be just as much fun as evening parties, and the foods you serve — eggs, breads — tend to be cheaper than what you serve for dinner. Plus, you likely won’t go through as much wine. Savings: at least $40 on the food and wine, depending on the menu.
24. Don’t pay fees for movie tickets. Some online sellers charge a $1.50 to $2 “convenience” fee per ticket. Bypass it by buying at the box office or from a no-fee online vendor.
25. Share season tickets. Arrange with your seat neighbors to trade tickets you can’t use. Save $200 on a pair of NFL tickets.
1. Buy cheap wiper blades. You should replace them every six months, experts say. So buy the $8 pair and save up to $8 off the more expensive pair.
2. Use cruise control. It can reduce your fuel use by 7 percent on the highway. The average U.S. household spends about $2,000 a year on gasoline. If half of your miles are on the highway, that’s a savings of $70 a year.
3. Check engine belts. Broken belts are a major cause of breakdowns. Be sure to check yours before you go on a long trip. Avoid one breakdown and save $100 in towing fees.
4. Use GasBuddy. The Gas Guru and GasBuddy apps show you prices at all area stations. If gas is $2.85 at one station and $3.09 at another, save $2.40 for every 10 gallons you pump — up to $100 in a year.
5. Take a defensive driving course. Many auto insurers will shave as much as 10 percent off your annual premiums if you take a course. AARP offers a Smart Driver course online for members. Annual insurance savings: $200.
6. Negotiate a car lease. Always make a deal based on the full price of the lease, not the monthly rate. You can negotiate among dealerships based on overall cost, and go with the best deal. Save $1,000 over the lease of a car.
7. Pay for performance, not prestige. Go with Toyota, Nissan or Honda, not high-end Lexus, Infiniti or Acura models from the same manufacturers. A 2018 Toyota Camry XLE V6 listed at $34,400, for example, has the same engine as a 2018 Lexus ES 350 that lists for $38,950. Car-comparison sites like Edmunds .com give them nearly identical ratings. Savings: $4,550.
8. Cross state lines for gas. Prices vary mostly due to different tax rates. Check gasprices .aaa.com if you’re planning an interstate drive or live close to a state border. For example, filling up for $2.92 a gallon in Arizona instead of $3.71 in California would save $7.80 on 10 gallons.
1. Save on car rentals . Show your AARP card when you rent a car and get significant discounts. AARP members will save as much as 30 percent with Avis. That would get you $90 off a $300 rental.
2. Get Amtrak’s senior discount. Folks 65-plus can get a 10 percent discount on most Amtrak train travel. You could save $22 on a round trip ticket between New York and Chicago. Caveat: The senior discount can’t be combined with other discounts.
3. Skip rental car insurance. Most of the time you already have adequate coverage through your personal insurance. Check and save up to $40 a day.
4. Get an America the Beautiful Senior Pass. If you’re 62 or older, $20 a year will get you and a carload of people admission to more than 2,000 national parks and recreation sites. That’s a savings of $60 over a regular annual pass.
5. Check different travel dates . Shifting an arrival or departure date by a single day can save you a surprisingly large amount of cash. Flight search engines such as Matrix.itasoftware.com show lower-priced options. A recent round-trip ticket from New York to Los Angeles was $81 cheaper if you flew a day earlier.
6. Check airline consolidators . They buy tickets in bulk and sell them at a discount. A round trip flight from Boston to London was $419 through AirlineConsolidator.com versus $546 on Aer Lingus, saving $127.
7. Blind-book a hotel . Tell Hotwire.com the neighborhood, star rating and amenities you want and you’ll save up to 60 percent if you book before knowing the name of the hotel. That’s $120 saved on a $200 room.
8. Vacation in a dorm . Colleges overseas rent dorm rooms in the summer. In Perugia, Italy, a week at Casa Monteripido costs $260 versus $430 for the Primavera Mini Hotel. Save $170. Go to UniversityRooms.com.
9. Ski for cheap. Multi-mountain passes from websites such as EpicPass.com or MountainCollective.com can save you big. IkonPass.com charges an adult $699 for eight days of skiing at any of 26 destinations. That’s $175 less than eight tickets at the window.
10. Take a farming vacation . Learn about organic farming and enjoy a trip overseas by volunteering to work with World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. A room and food are free. You could easily save $1,500 over a week at hotels and restaurants.
11. Drive, don’t fly. That is, if your family vacation is less than 500 miles away. Four tickets from Washington, D.C., to Cincinnati over a recent week cost about $315 each. Gas for driving would have been under $70. That would save you $1,190 — and you’d have your car and gear with you.
1. Use baking soda for indigestion. Packaged remedies like Alka-Seltzer are largely baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and aspirin. So if you don’t have a headache, drink ¼ teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in ¼ cup of water. Save $8 per 36 doses.
2. Buy pills to split. Ask your doctor if it’s cheaper to get half the amount of double-strength medication and split each pill into two doses with a $5 device. For instance, 60 tablets of the 20mg Paxil cost $14.17 at Costco, according to GoodRX.com, but 30 tablets of the 40mg Paxil cost $11.87. You could save $80 to $100 a year.
3. Join Silver Sneakers. Ask your health care provider if you are eligible. The program offers free gym memberships to folks 65-plus. Save $700 per year, on average.
4. For some meds, skip your insurance. Ask your pharmacist about the retail price of your prescription medication; it might be cheaper to pay that price. For example, the diabetes medication metformin costs about $4 for a month’s supply, while the average copay is $11. Savings: $7.
5. Suspend your gym membership this summer, and take your exercise outdoors. You’ll save around $58 a month.
6. Check supermarket pharmacies. Some national chains and discount stores offer common medications for free. If your deductible is $10, you’ll save $120 a year on just one prescription.
7. Stream fitness classes online. Online fitness classes such as Daily Burn, Crunchlive and YogaToday typically cost around $15 per month for unlimited access — about what you’d pay for a single in-person class. Use a $15 subscription 12 times a month and you’ll save $165. Plus you get to decide when class starts.
8. Buy glasses online. It can be 70 percent cheaper to buy at sites such as zennioptical.com than at a store. That’s $210 off a $300 pair of specs. AARP members can save at EyeMed.
9. Shop around for meds. Area drug prices can vary widely. For example, a customer in Raleigh, N.C., was quoted $249 at a national chain for duloxetine. Costco charged $43 for the same prescription. Savings: $206.
10. Get help on drug costs. Medicare beneficiaries may qualify for the Extra Help program to cover prescriptions. Savings: up to $4,000 a year. Apply at socialsecurity.gov/extrahelp or call 800-772-1213.
11. Call in a medical bill negotiator to review your bills for errors and overcharges, and save up to $3,000.
12. Apply for free meds. Through the Partnership for Prescription Assistance (pparx.org), qualified patients can get help. A free 120-day supply of the diabetes drug Victoza would save $2,096.