Cutting household expenses is likely to be
critical for most Baby Boomers seeking to retire on a budget.
Don't expect to live like you did when you were employed.
You are exchanging a paycheck for freedom and control over
your time - it is worth it! And fortunately, there are
many easy things you can do to dramatically cut your
household expenses while still living comfortably.
Simply eliminating impulse buying can result
in significant savings. Avoid use of credit credit cards,
don't carry a lot of cash, rent rather than buy when
feasible (e.g., rent a DVD for $3 instead of buying it for
$20), and invest in personal finance software to help you
Landline phone service is expensive and
increasingly non-competitive. Baby Boomers should consider just using a cell phone or switching to
Voice-Over-Internet-Protocol (VOIP), which typically runs
about $25 monthly for unlimited worldwide calling. Get
rid of any beepers you may still have. You can easily
save $40-$100+ by revamping your phone service.
Cut Utility Costs
You can dramatically cut your utility
expenses by instilling a few conservation habits:
Lower the thermostat in Winter; put it
higher in the Summer. Cut off heat or air
conditioning to unused rooms by closing the air duct
vents. Avoid using air conditioning whenever
possible. Turn off (or lower) thermostat settings when
not at home. Use fans whenever practical to reduce
air conditioning bills. Ceiling fans help to
circulate air year-round.
Get rid of the second refrigerator in the
garage. This can lower electricity bills by as much as
Shut off lights as you leave a room.
Turn of your PC and TV's when not in use.
Fix leaky faucets. Caulk windows and seal
Install water-saving kits in
Reduce use of hot water. Save laundry until
you have a full load. Do washing and rinsing in cold water as
much as possible. Take shorter showers and turn off the water
when soaping yourself up. Turn off the water when brushing
Buy Energy Star appliances when replacing a range,
washer/dryer, refrigerator, dishwasher or trash compactor.
Many utility companies will allow you to be billed even
amounts based on your recent year-round billing. Doing this after
implementing the above suggestions for a year may help you plan expenses
Take advantage of any senior discounts or programs
offered by your local utility companies.
Clip Coupons and Shop Sales
Coupons are your friend. So are sales. If you need
something, search for applicable coupons or sales online and in the paper.
Buy store brand consumables in bulk. With a little effort, you can
experience immediate savings that really add up.
RetailMeNot.com helps you find coupon discounts for more
than 20,000 online merchants and stores. Just enter a
domain name, store name or search by subject.
is another popular site.
SmartSource.com is a good place to get printable grocery
coupons. Check them
Online auctions, such as
eBay, are also a
good place to buy merchandise way below retail value.
Cut Back on "Nice to Haves"
If you look around, you will probably see many costs that are
not essential and therefore are ripe candidates to be cut. Some "extras"
to consider dispensing with are:
Bottled water (buy a filter for your kitchen faucet if you
have water quality concerns).
Premium cable channels (do you really need 800 channels?); cable
boxes (and TVs) in just about every room.
Magazine, newspaper and newsletter subscriptions.
Cut Insurance Costs
Selecting higher deductibles on your auto and home protection
policies can save hundreds of dollars annually. Ditto for consolidating
all your policies with one carrier.
Perform Common Household Repairs and Upgrades Yourself
Baby Boomers can save a ton of money simply by learning how to
perform common household repairs (leaky faucets, changing filters, faulty
electrical switches, etc.) themselves. There are many online sites that
contain step-by-step instructions with photos to assist you.
This is also true for many household upgrades. You can do
painting yourself and learn to tile bathrooms and counters, replace windows,
install a garbage disposal, or lay flooring. Again, a multitude of
Internet sites exist with "how to" instructions, and many neighborhood suppliers
like Home Depot hold free regularly scheduled classes on these subjects.