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The Ultimate Guide to Saving Money

Source: AARP

AARP's 10th annual list of great deals starts with all-time favorites Health.

1. Smile Savings
Get dental work for a fraction of the cost from dentist-supervised students. Go to ada.org and click on Dental Schools. The federal government also offers help. Go to nidcr.nih.gov, then search “finding dental care."

2. Hear Better for Less
Hearing aids can sell at a retail markup of up to 117 percent. But those prices can be flexible. In one survey, about half of the 14 percent of people who haggled got a better deal. Or buy online: It can save you over $1,000 per pair.

3. Save Big on Health Care
Enroll in a flexible spending account at work and pay up to $2,700 of health or dependent care bills with pretax dollars.

4. Apply for Free Meds
Go to the Partnership for Prescription Assistance at pparx.org. Patients who qualify can save hundreds of dollars.

5. Elders' Eye Care 
If you're 65-plus, you may qualify to have a volunteer ophthalmologist perform a comprehensive medical eye exam and provide a year of care with no out-of-pocket cost. Visit EyecareAmerica.org.

6. Help for Vet Caretakers
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs offers a temporary break for caregivers by paying all or some of the cost of an in-home health aide or for the veteran to attend an adult day center. Find details at caregiver.va.gov, or call 855-260-3274 toll-free.

7. Use Online Fitness Classes
Stream classes such as the Daily Burn, Crunchlive and YogaToday for about $20 a month for unlimited access. That's the cost of one in-person class. You can save a couple hundred dollars a year — and you decide when class starts. Travel

8. Be a House Sitter
The site TrustedHouseSitters.com matches travelers with people who need their pets and homes watched. Save on a hotel room and make a furry friend.

9. Take a Daycation
"Intraday stays” allow the use of a room and amenities — pool, restaurant, spa, sports center — for eight hours or so. Discounts can be 75 percent less than an overnight stay. See HotelsByDay.comand Between9and5.com.

10. Discount Train Tickets
Amtrak cuts 10 percent off most fares for riders age 62-plus. Via Rail Canada offers 10 percent off adult fares for travelers over 60.

11. Free Walking Tours
Visit GlobalGreeterNetwork.info to find out about taking tours with local guides. There's also NewEuropeTours.eu, which offers no-cost city walking tours with locals in Europe and Israel. In the U.S., call the chamber of commerce in your destination.

12. See Parks Free
The National Park Service has free admission dates each year. Check nps.gov and search “free entrance days.” At age 62, an America the Beautiful senior pass for $80 will get you and a carload of guests into any national park for the rest of your life.

13. Tour at a Discount 
First-class train tickets in Europe cost up to twice as much as those in second class, with a minimal difference in comfort.

14. "Restaurant Week Eats" 
These are held during a city's slack season for tourism. You'll eat at top restaurants for a fraction of the regular cost. Be sure to reserve early.

15. Use an ATM Overseas 
Currency exchange booths in foreign countries tend to charge much higher fees than you'd pay if you just used an ATM. Also, stick to the local currency. Your purchase will cost about 20 percent more if you use dollars.


16. Shop Late in the Month
There's a scramble to meet quotas then, and salespeople seeking bonuses may share the wealth with you. Also, AARP's Auto Buying Program can save you big bucks. Check autos.aarp.org.

17. Cost Estimator
RepairPal.com gives free quotes for car repairs and recommends competent repair shops.

18. Buy Gas on Mondays
It's the cheapest gas day in 29 states, according to GasBuddy. Save up to $30 a year.

19. Older-Driver Discounts 
Take a safety course and you may save about $100 a year on car insurance. AARP offers a Smart Driver course.

20. Rent Remote
Choose a location near — not at — the airport for a lower rental rate. Go to AutoSlash.com to track your reservation and apply deals and coupons.


21. Max Out Couponing
Use more than one grocery store savings app. Combine Ibotta, Checkout 51 and Shopmium, and save hundreds of dollars a year.

22. Regifting Rewards 
Buy gift cards for up to 35 percent off their face value at CardCash.com and CardPool.com, where the cards are sold by gift-getters who don't want them.

23. Swap Clothes Online 
RehashClothes.com has more than 10,000 items of clothing and accessories that its members can swap for just the cost of postage. See something you like? Offer a piece of clothing in exchange. You might save $100 on a nice dress or jacket. Home

24. Get It Fixed for Free
At Repair Café events nationwide, volunteers will help fix a variety of household items. Find one at RepairCafe.org/en. You could save $100 by fixing that old lamp.

25. Clean Up on Wash Day
The top Energy Star-certified washers can save you as much as $185 a year if your machine is more than 10 years old.

26. Expensive Pets?
Go to HumaneSociety.org for a list of programs offering assistance with pet expenses. Search “affording your pet” on the site. Borrowing, Saving, Investing

27. Retroactive Refunds
Stores will often refund the difference if an item drops in price soon after you buy it. Get the Earny app or Paribus app to find and claim refunds.

28. Free Credit Reports 
Visit AnnualCreditReport.com once a year to request your score from each of the three credit-reporting companies: Equifax, TransUnion and Experian.

29. Reimbursed ATM Fees 
Most online banks and some traditional banks will reimburse you for fees incurred when you use another bank's ATM. That can save you an average of $4.68 per transaction.

30. Hire a Haggler
Not a negotiator? Companies like Billfixers and Billshark will haggle with your cable TV company or other service providers in exchange for a cut of your first year or two of savings. Billfixers says it saves clients $300 a year.

31. Property Tax Breaks 
Many states offer property tax breaks for homeowners over 65, including rebates, caps on assessed value, and 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.

32. Go All In on 401(k)s
One-quarter of the workers employed at companies offering 401(k) plans don't take advantage of the full company match of the first few percent invested in the plans. That means they are missing out on an average of $1,336 in free money annually.

33. Mortgage Magic
A 30-year $300,000 mortgage at 4 percent costs $1,432 a month. But if you pay $716 every two weeks, you can cut interest payments by $34,000 over the life of the loan.

34. Unclaimed Property
Check states where you lived. They might be holding money from a savings account that you forgot, or an uncashed refund check. Go to unclaimed.org, find your state and enter your name. Insurance

35. Stop Smoking 
Nonsmokers, exercisers and people who maintain a healthy weight can get as much as a 50 percent savings on life insurance.

36. Combine and Save
Companies charge up to 20 percent less if you get home and auto insurance policies from them.

37. Raise Your Deductible
An increase from $500 to $1,000 can save you up to 25 percent on a homeowner's premium.

38. Buy More to Spend Less on Life Insurance
Life insurers have price breaks at certain amounts, called price bands. When you move up a band, the cost per thousand dollars of coverage goes down. If you're looking at a $450,000 policy, get a price quote for $500,000 — it might be cheaper for more coverage.


39. Get Free E-Books 
You can download nearly 60,000 public domain e-books, including many classics and favorites, at gutenberg.org. Save $3 to $10 per e-book.

40. Cut Cable Costs 
Call your internet provider or TV service to see what it will do to keep you loyal.

41. Stream Free Movies
Go to kanopy.com. If you belong to one of the 4,000 participating public libraries and campus facilities, you can stream about 30,000 movies for free. You could save about $156 a year over renting movies online.


42. Prepaid Smartphones
A prepaid plan lets you pay upfront. If you don't regularly browse the web on your smartphone, prepaid plans can save you money. A non-prepaid plan can cost $55 per month. Prepaid plans can go for $35.

43. Bulb Bonanza
LED bulbs have fallen in price in recent years. Replace 40 incandescent bulbs with LEDs and you could save about $1,500 over their 10-year life span.

44. Check Card Policies
Major credit card networks — American Express, MasterCard and Visa — often provide extended-warranty coverage for many products at no extra charge. Be sure to check before buying an extended warranty.

45. Find Free WI-FI 
Download Wi-Fi Finder, an app that locates free Wi-Fi nearby. But be safe: Don't do financial transactions.

46. Cut Microsoft Office 
Download LibreOffice or Apache OpenOffice. Their free programs are usually able to open Excel, Microsoft Word and PowerPoint files. Save up to $150.


47. Free Birthday Goodies
The website Thrillist has a list of 83 major food and restaurant chains that offer free items to help you celebrate your special day. At Benihana restaurants, for example, you can receive up to $30 off your bill during your birthday month.

48. Coupons for Meals
Check at restaurant.com. A coupon that costs $10 could be worth $25 off your bill. Savings: $15.

49. Have a Happy Meal
Many bars and eateries offer discounts on appetizers during happy hour. For example, at a Del Frisco's Grille restaurant in California during happy hour on a weekday, cheesesteak egg rolls are $7 (normally $15). Share three such plates with a friend and save $24.

50. Kids Eat Cheap
Dozens of chain restaurants have deals for children under a certain age, or when you order from special menus at specified times. Whether you're on the road or at home, you can find spots and coupons at MyKidsEatFree.com and CouponDivas.com.



51. Interest Rate Savings 
En español | A friend with over $200,000 in a bank account that paid no interest complained that a $12 sandwich at the local deli was overpriced. I told him if he moved his cash to a high-paying FDIC-insured savings account, like Synchrony bank, paying 2.25 percent APY, he'd make about $4,500 a year. That's the equivalent of getting one free deli sandwich every day! Two good places to find rates like this are DepositAccounts.com and BankRate.com.  

52. Negotiate Bank Fees
Banks now charge fees even for receiving money via wires, something many customers may not realize. Be sure to check your statements, and dispute those fees if you find them — even if you need to speak to a manager. The bank needs your business. A 10-minute call may save you about $25.

53. Get a Signing Bonus
Many brokerage companies will pay an “acquisition award” if you transfer significant financial assets to them. Those awards can be $2,500 or more. You don't have to sell the assets in your account or even buy anything at the new brokerage.

54. Book Travel on Sunday
Travelers who buy airline tickets on Sundays could save some 20 percent over those who buy midweek, according to a study by the Airlines Reporting Corp.

55. Go Fancy at Lunchtime
If you want to try an expensive restaurant on vacation, do so for lunch. Often the menu will be the same as the dinner menu, but prices may be 25 percent less.  

56. Cut Costly Passes
Sightseeing passes can steer travelers to attractions they don't care to see. Save money by avoiding packages with costly sightseeing passes. Does anyone want to visit three museums in one day?

57. Ride the Strong Dollar
Right now U.S. greenbacks will go very far in Argentina, Vietnam, Canada, Colombia and Mexico. I was recently in Colombia, and a meal for two in one of the swankiest restaurants in Cartagena ran just $25, including drinks and tip!

58. Use Smart Outlets
Power your electronics on and off automatically with a voice command. Up to 20 percent of your electric bill comes from “vampire” home electronics that are plugged in but not in use.

59. Get Occupancy Sensors
Put these in every part of your home. Walk in the room, the light comes on. Walk out, it goes off. Never pay for accidentally leaving the basement light on for a week.

60. Add Smart Thermostats
They sense when you are in a room and set the temperature automatically. Some sync with the GPS in your phone and adjust when you’re almost home.

61. Lower Your Water Bills
Update every sink and tub with a new faucet or aerator marked with the WaterSense label. Aerators, which mix air into the water, can cut water consumption by 700 gallons per year, an annual savings of up to $350. 

62. Retire Mortgage Free
With 15 years left on a 5 percent 30-year mortgage of $100,000, you can retire the loan in seven years by prepaying $442.63 a month. Do that and you'll save $16,035 in interest.

63. Use Adjustables
Adjustable-rate mortgages aren't always a good idea. But refinance with a hybrid ARM and save if you plan to sell in a given time frame. A five-year fixed-rate loan may be available for 3 percent.

64. Get Cheap Tech
Wait until Amazon Prime Day, which usually falls in mid-July, to buy an Amazon device. Last year, Kindle and other devices were marked down as much as 50 percent. If you're not already a Prime member, sign up for the free 30-day trial to get the deal.

65. Cross these Groceries Off Your Weekly List
Watch for steep markdowns on canned foods, butter, cereals and olive oil. Buy in bulk and lock in the low price for months.

66. Compare Drug Prices
Prices vary significantly from pharmacy to pharmacy. To save up to 80 percent, try RxSaver, either the app or the website.

67. Cut CoPays
Got a long-term condition that requires prescription meds? Ask for a 90-day supply and make a single copay every three months, instead of one every 30 days.

68. Go Generic
Don't forget to ask your pharmacist if there's a generic equivalent. Save up to 80 percent.

69. Credit Card Rewards
Stay on top of your points and use them before they lose value. Don't waste the cash or credits.

70. Don't Pay for Nostalgia
Downsizing? Avoid renting a storage unit for an average of $1,093 a year. Instead bulk up your savings by selling things that don't fit into your new, more streamlined life.


71. Kill Old Subscriptions
En español | Paying for gym memberships you never use or magazines you never read? Trim scans your credit cards for recurring subscription and membership payments that you didn't realize you were still making.

72. Upgrade Your Fridge
A new model may reduce your electric bill by about $350 over five years. Also, your electric company may offer a rebate to its customers for buying an energy-efficient appliance.

73. Hot and Dry
Start a new load of laundry while the dryer is still warm. The machine doesn't have to warm up again, saving you energy dollars. And don't forget to clean the lint filter so your dryer will continue to run efficiently.

74. Get Savings Matched
Individual development accounts are designed to help people of modest means buy a house or start a business. Some programs provide up to $4 for every $1 you save. Go to ProsperityNow.org/map to find community organizations that administer IDAs.

75. Prescription Savings
You might find a prescription medicine cheaper than one you are buying over the counter. The heartburn remedy Prilosec, for example, goes for about $10 for 14 tablets. But a prescription for 90 tablets of omeprazole can be had for a $10 copay, saving you around $60 a month.

76. Go with Store Brands
When buying nonprescription drugs, you should always go with the store brand. What's the difference between Tylenol Extra Strength Rapid Release gelcaps at $12.49 per 100 and Rite Aid Extra Strength Acetaminophen Rapid Release gelcaps for $8.99 per 100? Practically nothing, except you'll save $3.50.

77. Round Up 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. Those pennies add up. You can save and invest an average of $30 a month.

78. Organic Optional
Fruits and veggies grown without the use of pesticides cost more. Each year, the Environmental Working Group updates its Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen lists to help you make decisions on when it is worth it to pay for organic.

79. Slow Cooker Savings
You can make tough cuts of meat tender and flavorful. Stew meat averages $5.60 per pound, versus $8.30 for sirloin steak. Save $2.70 per pound.

80. Senior Discounts
There are lots of savings online for those 65-plus. Websites list age-based discounts on everything from restaurant meals to airline tickets. But you have to know where to look. Start with SeniorLiving.org, DealNews.com and TheSeniorList.com. For more specific information, search “senior discounts."

81. Create a Money-Saving Email Address
Signing up for retailer rewards programs or sale notification emails can save you money. But you'll be deluged with spam. You can set up an email address just for those offers and keep your main account clean. Check the secondary account once in a while, especially before you shop at one of those retailers.

82. Toilet Running?
Take a look inside the tank before you pay a plumber a minimum of $75 for a service call. Usually a running toilet means the flapper at the bottom of the tank isn't closing properly. Sometimes adjusting the flapper chain or cleaning the seal does the trick, or you might need a new $5 flapper, which almost anyone can install in five minutes.

83. Track Your Finances
Mint.com is a free program that helps track your finances, create budgets and alert you when your bills are due. Quicken, another personal finance program, will run you $35. There is a catch: With Mint you'll see ads.

84. Don't Rinse Dishes
With modern dishwashers, it's not necessary to prewash dishes. Just scrape them off thoroughly into the garbage and load them. You'll save about 55,000 gallons of water over the lifetime of the dishwasher. That could save about $280, plus it will be good for the environment — and will avoid lots of unnecessary work.

85. Be Sale Savvy
Tell the free Shoptagr website and mobile app which clothing, shoes or accessories you are in the market for. The app is linked to over 3,000 online stores and can tell you when there are sales, when stock of an item is low or when it's available again.

86. Overseas Dorm Rooms
Some foreign universities rent rooms to summer travelers while their students are away on break. For example, in Perugia, Italy, you can spend a week at Casa Monteripido for $181 versus about $500 for the modestly priced Primavera Mini Hotel. Go to UniversityRooms.com.

87. Go Native in the Garden
Trees, flowers and other plants that are native to the region where you live will grow successfully with little or no watering, fertilizer or other human attention once they are established. Use local plants and save money while increasing your summer hammock time.

88. Reduce Your Lawn
Watering and cutting make the grass in your yard the most expensive and labor-intensive part of the property. Americans spend about $29 billion annually on their lawns — that's about $90 per person. Be creative. Patios, decks, planting beds, and rock and gravel patches can add visual interest to your property while saving you money.

89. Veterans Deals and Discounts
MilitaryBenefits.info lists hundreds of companies that offer discounts to vets. The discounts range from $500 off an eligible new Ford vehicle to 10 percent off at some Burger King locations.


90. No Cable, No Problem
I purchased a $20 TV antenna. With that antenna I can get 27 channels for free.
—Marge Holley, Filer, Idaho

91. Pump Payoff 
Every month my grocery store has a coupon for a $50 gas gift card for $40, as long as you make a $50 purchase. So I can get 20 percent savings on my gas while buying food that I use. Plus, I buy those groceries with a 6 percent cash-back card.
—Jack Howarth, Lakeland, Fla.

92. Trimming Costs
My husband and I get our haircuts together on the half-price senior day they have at our local beauty school. It costs me $4, and he pays $3. We can leave a tip and walk out for $10!
—Kathryn Bankhead, Lehi, Utah

93. Sunny Savings 
Our 14 solar panels can produce more electricity than we use, saving on utilities.
—Bill Davidson, Placitas, N.M.

94. Splitting the Rent
Having a roommate has saved me between $500 and $800 in monthly rent, depending on the house's amenities at the time we were sharing. And the companionship is a nice bonus.
—Tony Pastore, Orlando, Fla.

95. Tag Sale Treasure
I found a used $200 pickup topper for only $15. The secret? It was the end of the day and they wanted it gone.
—Larry Behnke, High Springs, Fla.

96. Cheap Seats
I look out for summer concerts or music festivals at county and state fairs around our region every summer. Sometimes you can get free lawn seats or save with early bird discounts.
—Grace Kufahl, Brodhead, Wis.

97. Frugal Freshener
I use scented bar soap remnants to freshen closets, drawers, cabinets and trash cans.
—Lawrence Cohen, Cumberland, R.I.

98. Butcher the Meat Bill
We purchase family-size packages of beef, pork and chicken, which are generally cheaper per pound than smaller packages, then split them into several meal portions and freeze.
—Carol Gee, Atlanta, Ga.

99. Tap Into Savings,
My bathroom faucet corroded badly within 10 years of use. I called the manufacturer, and they agreed to send me a brand- new faucet free of charge! I saved the $152 a new faucet would have cost. My mantra? Always ask.
—Cindy Wesley, Wells, Minn.

Heritage Senior Care has many years of experience caring for loved ones with Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease.
Call us at (800) 562-2734 to discuss how we can provide in home care cutomized to your needs.

FACT SHEET - Licensed vs. Unlicensed Home Care Services

The Home Care Services Consumer Protection Act took effect in California on January 1, 2016 mandates that all Home Care Organizations (HCOs) must be licensed by the Caliornia Department of Social Services (CDSS) prior to providing home care services. Additionally, all Home Care Aides (HCAs) employed by HCOs must be registered on the HCA Registry prior to providing care in the home. To provide the care that you or your loved ones need, the Act ensures that HCOs are using HCAs who meet training requirements, are free of active tuberculosis, and are background check cleared through CDSS. Heritage Senior Care is licensed by the CDSS and all of our caregivers are trained and registered.
PDF of Fact Sheet

Benefits of in-home care

Considerations for in-home care

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