Archived Story

Keep an eye out for ways to save money

Published 4:53pm Saturday, September 29, 2012

Many Americans are in the process of reassessing their spending patterns, and boomers and seniors are no exception.

Seventy-three percent of adults over age 50 started saving more or cutting back on spending last year, compared to 2010, according to a November 2011 report by the AARP. In many cases, the new spirit of frugality is not necessarily born out of financial necessity, but also out of a desire to simplify life, avoid excessive consumption and focus on what’s really important — family, friends and community.

If you’re an adult over 50, maybe you’re exploring the hidden treasures of your own region instead of taking exotic vacations. Maybe you’re barbecuing with friends in the backyard instead of going out to eat. Maybe you’re spending more time playing with your grandkids instead of buying them the latest electronics.

In short, you’re trying to cut back on spending without sacrificing quality of life. Here are five tips to help.

Examine recurring expenses: It’s easy to overpay for utilities and other recurring expenses if you don’t periodically review your options and make sure you’re getting the best deal. Many utility companies offer senior discounts, but you have to ask. Also consider a lower-cost no-contract cell phone plan.

Increase energy efficiency: Another way to reduce your bills is by increasing the energy efficiency of your home. You can unplug battery chargers when not in use, turn off appliances rather than leaving them in standby mode, use energy-efficient light bulbs and turn off the lights when you leave a room. If you’re able to invest a little to ensure longer-term savings — whether through weatherproofing or upgrading aging appliances — you can schedule an energy audit to find out how to get the biggest bang for your home-improvement buck.

Be a smart shopper: If you’re not into clipping coupons, that’s OK. There are other ways to save. Try store-brand products rather than automatically reaching for the brands you’ve always purchased. In many cases, you won’t be able to tell the difference. Buy in bulk if you use large quantities of something. Watch for sales on items you purchase regularly, but don’t buy something just because it’s on sale — if you wouldn’t have bought it otherwise, you’re not saving money.

Take advantage of free entertainment: Low-cost, or sometimes free, options are abundant. Check the events sections of local newspapers and websites to see what’s happening in the area – festivals, exhibits and other special events are often free, and high schools and colleges frequently host sporting events, plays, concerts and lectures that are open to the public. Libraries are also an excellent source of free entertainment. You can try out new authors, artists and genres with no risk by borrowing books, audio books, DVDs and CDs instead of purchasing them. You might even meet some interesting people while you’re out and about in the community.

Reassess your gift-giving habits: If you’ve ever found yourself rushing to the mall to buy a last-minute gift for a loved one’s birthday, chances are you’ve spent more than you originally planned, settled for something you suspected the recipient might end up exchanging or avoided the decision by purchasing a safe but impersonal gift card.

Instead, consider giving your loved ones the gift of a shared experience. If your grandson loves animals, take him to the zoo. If your sister is into jazz, take her out for an evening at a jazz club. Of course, you might not end up spending less money this way — experiences come in all price ranges — so keep your budget in mind. The point is that instead of wasting money on something that might just sit in the garage for years, you’ll enjoy a meaningful experience together. And that’s what quality of life is all about.


Join us for the annual Health and Wellness Fair

On Saturday the Senior Center will be hosting the seventh annual Health and Wellness Fair. This will be fun for all and it’s free for you to attend. Bring a friend, get your flu shot and visit the fine Austin business displays.

 Upcoming Events

Monday: Blood pressure checks, 9 a.m.; cards (Pincohle, Duplicate Bridge), 12:30 p.m.;

Exercise with Evie, 1 p.m.

Tuesday: Silver Sneakers, 8:30 a.m.; Exercise with Evie, 9 a.m.; cards (Pinochle, Duplicate Bridge), 12:30 p.m.; art class, 1 p.m.; Zumba 4:05, 5:35,7 p.m.; Silver Sneakers 4:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Tai Chi, 9:30 a.m.; cards (Pinochle, Duplicate Bridge), 12:30 p.m.; Stitching Bees, 1 p.m.; open chess, 1 p.m.

Thursday: Silver Sneakers, 8:30 a.m.; Exercise with Evie, 9 a.m.; Defensive Driving, 9 a.m.; Eye glass adjustment 11:30, a.m.; cards (Pinochle, Duplicate Bridge), 12:30 p.m.; Bingo, 1 p.m.; open chess, 1 p.m.; Silver Sneakers, 4:30 p.m.; Zumba 4:05, 5:35,7 p.m.

Friday: Tai Chi, 9:30 a.m.; cards (Bridge), 12:30 p.m.

 Weekly Card Results

Monday Bridge

Sept. 17, four tables

1st Joanne Maxfield, 2nd Russ Vaale, 3rd Mary Johnsen, 4th Mabel Vaale, 5th Carolyn Higgins, 6th Jaynard Johnson

Tuesday Duplicate Bridge

Sept. 18, four tables

1st Bud Higgins, 1st Jim Fisher; 2nd Gene Muchow,

2nd Larry Crowe; 3rd Ray Schmidt, 3rd Gail Schmidt

Tuesday “500”

Sept. 18, three tables

1st Willard Ballantyne, 2nd Eddie Hall, 3rd David Solomonson, 4th Beulah Luthe


Sept. 20

Dorothy Schloo

Sept. 21

Mildred Ballantyne

Friday Bridge

Sept. 21, four tables

1st Russ Vaale, 2nd Joyce Fadness, 3rd Mabel Vaale, 4th Jaynard Johnson, 5th Lois Johnson, 6th Betty Jorgenson

Weekly Cribbage

Sept. 19, four tables

1st Val Lallie, 2nd Loretta Nelson, 3rd Dorothy Schloo, 4th Russ Vaale

Weekly “500”

Sept. 21, four tables

1st Jim Fisher, 2nd Dave Solomonson, 3rd Beulah Luthe, 4th Eddie Hall

 Semcac Daily Meals

Monday: Pork chow mein

Tuesday: Chicken broccoli bake

Wednesday: Meat lasagna

Thursday: Pork roast

Friday: Porcupine meatballs

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