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Living in Retirement on a Tight Budget – Ideas from Members

Category: Financial and taxes in retirement

January 28, 2017 — Dear Members. On our “Are You Ready for Retirement” thread MaryNB started an interesting thread about cost of living and coping with various expenses. That generated a raft of suggestions, so many that we have decided to move them all here to a new post just on that subject. Below are the Comments moved over from the original. Feel free to add your own!


This may be off topic, but part of the calculations about cost of living. The references to food costs have me wondering what people spend per week for food per person. I am in New England and eat organic only. I haven’t kept track much, as I often am eating on the run.

by MaryNB — January 21, 2017

I eat mostly non organic at $75 per week and live in Cali.

by toula1955 — January 21, 2017 |

Hi Mary NB and Artie11:

You are right this is probably off topic, but it is an expense that must be factored in to just living.

I would love to know what other people spend weekly on food costs and include house supplies such as soap, TP, paper towels, personal care products such as shampoo and deodorant–all combined. Also do they shop weekly like every seven to eight days or so or twice a month? Yes Washington, DC and the metro area are very expensive–no doubt about it. My Aunt in Naples Florida does not spend any less–in fact she spends more than the $400 per month that I spend. I do not buy processed foods–I make my own food when I am at home from scratch and I do buy organic in most cases. I am a vegetarian and do not buy dairy or meat products for the most part. Occasionally I will buy a fresh salmon filet but not often. I suspect that others spend as much or maybe more based on the informal poll I took with my single friends here in DC.

by Jennifer — January 21, 2017

I live in New England too and do not budget food purchases. I shop as needed and look for bargains. I go way, way over on purchases but have no guilt because we don’t eat at restaurants but a handful of times a year if that. We have excellent home made foods. My hub attended many one day culinary classes at the Culinary Institute of America and likes to cook gourmet type meals. Most times when I eat in a restaurant I am very disappointed with what I get compared to what we make at home. We are on the other end of the spectrum. We spend a lot and shop at many sources during the month. So I wouldn’t be a good example of budgeting. One thing that I am kind of interested in is buying into a CSA (Community Sponsored Agriculture) for vegetables. That would be one way to control produce costs but you have to have an open mind because you might get vegetables that you have never eaten.

by Louise — January 21, 2017

Well, my husband and 2 cats get by on $400 per month and that includes house supplies. We don’t eat much meat but alot of fish. We eat alot of veggies and fruit ,mostly non organic. Nothing gourmet but we are satisfied, and very healthy for you.

by toula1955 — January 21, 2017

Louise, I have the exact feelings that you do. I am a gourmet cook and I am amazed at what people in DC will eat and pay for as far as dining out. Many restaurants are mediocre at best and I feel cheated if I find an exciting restaurant to try and then experience food I could have made better at home. I too am looking into CSA’s here in DC–we have a few. I am single however and I am not sure I could eat the amount of food they supply each week in a box. I am checking into it and will report back.

by Jennifer — January 22, 2017

I have a love/hate relationship with Walmart. I hate its policies but love it prices on produce and grocery items. I can get a big head of romaine lettuce for 98 cents. Unheard of around here. I really shop around for the best prices but have no idea how much I spend each month. We save at Walmart then splurge at Fresh Market for meat and seafood!’

by Staci — January 22, 2017

Jennifer, as far as CSA they have different sizes. You could also find an interested party to share with. Another idea is if you can find out what to expect in your box, you could look up some recipes to use them in and maybe freeze them. Just saw a tv cooking show where they used left over pickle juice to pour over carrots, onions and other veggies for refrigerated pickled veggies. Save that juice! Tomatoes can be frozen whole after cleaning them up and removing stem to use for sauce later on. Look in your frozen vegetable case at the store to see what they have for ideas on how to freeze produce. Peppers are excellent when put on the grill with olive oil. Plus, if you still have too much stuff make up some casseroles and give them to family or bring to work for lunchtime to share with friends!

Ha, ha! Yes, eating out can be a big disappointment for sure! I can buy a lot of groceries for $100 compared to some dinky dinner for two at a restaurant. Don’t get me wrong, I like it at times, but more economical to eat at home!

by Louise — January 22, 2017




Moved from Maine – I thought groceries were high there due to so much produce, dairy, etc. having to be shipped in except during the summer. I found great prices on local fish however – like fresh lobsters just off the boat for 5 dollars apiece! Now in South Carolina, a regular grocery run costs so much more – a huge surprise as gardens can produce fresh veggies almost year round. This area is a huge growing location for tomatoes and watermelon, yet the prices run 3.99 a pound for commercial tomatoes at our local Publix, even at the height of the season! What I have learned, true for peaches and watermelons as well, as that the big commercial growers here ship it all off to other parts of the world! Our best practice is to find good roadside stands and u-pick farms for produce, buy local fish, and look for good deals at the farmers market. We try to eat seasonally- whatever is fresh and avaialable each season. We buy household items in bulk from Amazon’s “pantry” online or at discount stores such as Cotsco or Sam’s Club. Still – monthly we spend about 600.00 for 2 of us! Second biggest monthly expense, after healthcare premiums!

by SandyZ — January 22, 2017

SandyZ I do a lot of things as you do. I shop on Amazon for bulk items like kleenex tissues and I don’t have Amazon Prime so I just make sure I purchase the minimum needed to get free shipping. I shop Costco on line and order Toilet paper, garbage bags, coffee creamer and just started buying this canned beef that is like pot roast in a can and it is excellent! Makes a quickie dinner that is delish! I shop at Walmart and just the other day I purchased canned and pouched salmon and smoked herring canned. Good for Omega 3’s. My grocery store offers buy one get 2 free a lot, so I stock up. I shop the bargains and non bargains but I could go without shopping for weeks and still have food in the house and feed the neighborhood! I am sure I spend more than $600 a month for two people and two dogs. Dogs are on prescription food and is expensive! No bargains for them! Fish here is expensive. I would like to have lots more fish but not too many bargains there. That is why I am trying to buy canned salmon, sardines, trout and herring to get some fish in our diet!

by Louise — January 22, 2017

Food prices on the west coast sound pretty reasonable from what Im hearing for all of you on the east coast. Tomato’s go for $1 per pound, most fruit for the same. Fish at less than $4 per pound.

by toula1955 — January 22, 2017

Anyone have any thoughts about if you are ready for retirement or not?

by Admin — January 23, 2017

We are about a year away from full retirement. DH has Parkinsons so we will not be able to delay much longer. (I am 62 and he is 60)

Regarding food prices – we visited the Portland Maine area in Oct. ’15 on a retirement research trip and, among other things, we visited one of the Hanaford supermarkets. I wrote down prices of things I usually buy and found them to be much CHEAPER than our local Publix in SE Tennessee. I have also been disappointed in the overall quality of the meat we get in TN, at the supermarket, and now buy meat, mostly from a local butcher. We DO have Aldi Markets here (which is HALF of Publix pricing) – will have to make monthly runs to New Hampshire for that!!

Currently, I generally withdraw $400-500 for two weeks of groceries, general shopping and lunch or dinners out and I try to make it last longer. We use a credit card for gasoline and my husband is still working.

by HEF — January 23, 2017

HEF if you don’t already have a rewards credit card you should look into it. I use my Costco Visa for 99.8% of everything I buy. You get points for groceries, gas, dining out and just about anything you can charge. I charge copays at the doctor’s office, all medical bills, car repairs, tires, hotels, health insurance, limo service, on line purchases. Anything you can use a Visa for, I charge it. This year I will get about $440 in reward money. I collect it at Costco or I can spend it there. Other rewards cards, other than Costco, have similar programs. My eye doctor never took credit cards till recently and I jumped on that as soon as I if found out! $440 isn’t life changing but I would have spent the money anyway so why not get a little reward at the end of the year. Just make sure you pay off that credit card each month. There are some cards that reward something like 3% on groceries up to a certain dollar amount per year then it goes to 1%. The Costco Visa rewards nicely for gas and dining out. However, those are two areas that I don’t buy much of. So the majority of my purchases are only rewarded 1%. When my bank started pushing a reward card about 5 years ago I just poo pooed it and couldn’t be bothered. But somehow I got hooked on the Costco Visa (previously Amex) and love it! Should have done it years ago!

by Louise — January 23, 2017

We both have a “rewards Visa” but we don’t use a credit card often and we don’t have debit cards – we much prefer cash. If I don’t have it, I don’t spend it. Our rewards cards give us the option of gift cards when we earn enough points and we usually save them for a trip or gift. We don’t shop at the big box stores any more – still do not understand paying a membership fee to “save” money and with just two of us now, we don’t need much. But, thanks for sharing that info.

by HEF — January 24, 2017

It is my understanding that the COSTCO VISA rewards are available at the end of the year. So I use a regular VISA at COSTCO that gives me 2% on all purchases and it is available monthly. Also Amex Preferred pays 6% for groceries up to 6K a year and 3% for gas.

by Ron F — January 25, 2017

Good information on the Amex Preferred card! However, is there a yearly fee for this Amex card? Costco Visa has no fees.

by Louise — January 26, 2017

Louise,
There is a fee for the AMEX Preferred card. I think $90.00. But what I spend for food and gas makes up for it big time. Just on food alone it is over double comparing a 2% cash back. Do your calc to determine if it works for you.

by Ron F — January 26, 2017

Louise: I’m becoming a fan of your postings! I think we’re twins. I don’t use Costco, but I do use a no-fee bank card that gives me money back on purchases. I’ve started using it for everything that I possibly can, like my cable bill, groceries that I used to pay for with checks, etc. I’m able to pay it off each month. The money can be swept into a bank account when it hits $50. I’ve also earned about $400+ back each year by aggressively using the card for all purchases. I also use a few store cards that offer specific discounts, like Target and Amazon.

The other day I realized that over 40+ years I’ve accumulated way too many Visa-Master Card etc. cards (more than a dozen) that I don’t use by getting suckered into various premiums. Yesterday I got a crazy promotion for a fancy black card with a $1000 annual fee – are they kidding? (I guess the clerk at Walmart would be very impressed with the fancy card when I paid for my Tide and toilet paper with it.) I’ve heard that canceling cards can damage your credit, so I want to wait to close them out until after I figure out if I’ll need to buy anything with a bridge mortgage, etc. when I retire.

by Kate . — January 27, 2017

Kate, ha, ha! Twins! I am an only child! Did we get separated at birth! LOL!

I do like the Costco Visa card. I do not go to Costco all that often but at times I order on line. They have a limited amount of items on line, not like the store. However, I just read recently that they may up their on line offerings. With my Costco Visa I get 2% off on Costco purchases. I purchased a sofa and love seat last year. Soon I am going to buy eye glasses. Their prices are excellent and offering $40 off a second pair. Costco has lots of things to offer besides big boxes of cereal. Like vacations, cars, insurance, photo services, hearing aids, eye glasses, prescriptions, office supplies. Years ago I had a dog that needed a very expensive cancer drug and I was able to get it at Costco at a much more reasonable price compared to a hospital pharmacy or a local pharmacy. I bought my last computer from Costco too and they offer a warranty beyond the manufacturers.

I am not a good coupon person because I rarely find much that interests me. Seems they typically use coupons to encourage purchases of new products or junk food. Then when I do find a coupon that I might use, seems like they want you to buy two items so the coupon isn’t that valuable. I always wonder how these coupon queens buy hundreds of dollars of grocery items and spend like $10! I would like to learn though!

What have others done to pinch pennies a bit since retirement?

by Louise — January 27, 2017

We cut the cord on home phone land line and satellite tv service 3 years ago.
That saves almost $1,800. Per year. The reconnect charges were just too much for a few months each year. We don’t miss it that much, and I really like not having a land line. DH finds football games on the laptop he deems essential.
We also switched to flat rate, no contract “Cricket ” cell phones too. They cost less than the BIG company!
I do wish we could figure out how to do a cost efficient way of doing Internet service while we are in transition mode. That has been a challenge.

by Caps — January 27, 2017

Hi Louise and Kate:
I do not use coupons because I spend less NOT using them. They rarely have the type of items I want and yes if you are a fan of junk food, and sugary sodas they would be a bargain. I do not have the space for tons of paper towels and toilet paper so I do not go to Costco. You are correct that you can buy lots of things at Costco–even funerals (caskets). Costco is for those who have large homes with room to store in bulk and I used to be in that category, but I am now more of a minimalist and I just buy what I need and maybe one extra–and no more. That would be things like laundry detergent which I buy at Trader Joes and Trash bags-which I purchase the store brand at a local (Giant) grocery store. I also buy store brand Kleenex (99 cents) for more tissues per box then the brand name. I use one and have one in reserve. I do use a coupon for a PUR water filter but that is because it comes in the box with the filter and I save $2.00 on the next one I purchase. Again I use that item, so I use the coupon.

by Jennifer — January 28, 2017

Comments? What could you add to this conversation? Please use the section below to add them.

For further reading:
7 Out of the Box Ideas for Saving a Retirement Savings Shortfall



Posted by Admin on January 28th, 2017

114 Comments »

  1. I hope more people will report what they spend on groceries per month from other parts of the country. These expenses should be factored into retirement living.

    I have a phone from Republic Wireless and I paid $14.62 last month for 4g and unlimited data. They use a wireless system for phone calls but it can switch to a cell seamlessly when needed. I love the service, and they use Motorola phones–made in the USA. You can upgrade as needed. Al communication with Republic Wireless is via email. I have had this service for over four years now and I feel sorry for those who feel Verizon and Sprint are the only way to go.

    I got a wide range antenna HD (high definition) (for DC) with a fifty mile range for my TV and I have not needed to pay for cable TV for almost a year! I do not miss all the channels I never watched anyway. I get 51 channels with the antenna, includes a cooking channel, PBS UK, and an old movie channel as well as all the High definition local channels. I am furious that I paid Comcast for HD channels that I could have had for free all along. My antenna was $60.00.

    by Jennifer — January 29, 2017

  2. As many have commented Costco is the place to go. Not only because of the Visa credit card and the reasonably priced gas. Costco works hard to provide healthy food in bulk at affordable prices. We love salmon and are able to get Alaska Salmon filets at Costco in bulk for an affordable price. Same for Gulf shrimp. All of these are from reliable, verified US sources, rather than from Asia where there are many problems with antibiotic use and slave labor. We also get organic chicken and eggs for a reasonable price. We don’t buy produce there, since the quantities are too large for the two of us. One needs to be careful at Costco. We still have a box of straws that we bought twenty years ago. We will take it to our grave!

    by Lynn — January 29, 2017

  3. Going to Costco today to buy new glasses. My eye doc is a specialist and doesn’t offer glasses and if he did I am sure they would be super expensive. Today I will buy one pair at regular price and get $40 off a second pair with Costco coupon. Glasses are very reasonable and never had a problem with the prescriptions they make. Will also do some shopping there. I consider going to Costco a fun day out! I used to shop with my Mom for years at Costco before she got sick and she loved it and she was a widow! I miss our shopping trips there.

    by Louise — January 29, 2017

  4. Lynn, you are right. You have to be careful on certain things to purchase. But if you have freezer space a lot of it can be cut up and frozen for later use. I bought peaches there and they were magnificent! Big and juicy and not like the shrunken head peaches you get in the grocery store. The purchase was a bit too much for two people so I peeled them and froze them for later use. Not that you can eat them like a peach but think peach pie! The produce is wonderful but quantities are large. They are catering to restaurants not the typical household. So, if you are tempted think of how you will use up that large quantity. It is pretty easy except for lettuce. Have not figured that one out but I do believe I have heard of a lettuce soup! Roasted veggies are nice too!

    by Louise — January 29, 2017

  5. Don’t forget that your 2017 Medicare premium is based on your 2015 income which, if you’re since retired, you may no longer be making. You can file a SSA-44 form along with the latest income tax year showing a smaller income. You may be able to eliminate the additional IRMAA adjustment and have the overpayment refunded.

    by Florence — January 29, 2017

  6. Is anybody into crafts and selling them for money? In my area there is someone who puts several pieces of handmade wood worked furniture out in his yard for sale. Who ever it is they must enjoy wood working and profiting from it. I also see someone who puts out a sign for fresh vegetables he grows in the summer. There is one guy in the area that has a perpetual tag sale going on in his garage. There is an app called book scouter and you can scan bar codes of a book to find the value and you can put a bunch of book in a box then mail the books in and get paid for them. I believe they give you a label to ship for free. I don’t think they pay much but a full box might get you something. I guess you could use the app at tag sales and pick up some books if they are worth it. There is ebay and etsy to sell things. I have also heard there are some online places that you can participate in a ‘mock’ jury to help attorneys analyze what the jury might think or decide. They pay between $5 and $10, not much but could be fun. The farmer on my street sells eggs from his chickens. He also sells pumpkins in the fall. Have any of you found something interesting to do to make a few dollars?

    by Louise — January 29, 2017

  7. I do alot of surveys and get paid for testing foods.

    by mary11 — January 29, 2017

  8. All of our public libraries in Pinellas County, Florida, sell used books and old magazines. The book shop, run by volunteers, in our local library has raised over a million dollars to support the library by selling donated books and magazines. I get many magazines that are nearly current for a quarter and paperbacks are a dollar. All the money supports the purchase of new books and free programs at the library. Of course the library itself is a great resource for books, magazines, movies and music.

    by Lynn — January 30, 2017

  9. Mary 11
    What kind of surveys and food testing do you do? How did you find out about that?
    Thanks

    by Florence — January 30, 2017

  10. Numbeo.com can give you the prices of food and other things world wide by city. Not all smaller cities are listed.

    by DD — January 30, 2017

  11. Does anyone live or looked into retiring in Bradenton, FL? My wife and I were there last week on business/ vacation trip and we were very impressed with what we saw.

    by Markg — January 30, 2017

  12. Florence,
    There are many survey companies online. Google it and they will pop up for you. SurveySavvy, SurveySpot, MySoapbox, One Opinion are just some of them. MyPoints.com is great also, you can do surveys and also purchase items online through their site and you accumulate points for gift certificates that you can use at Amazon, Walmart and other stores.

    by toula1955 — January 30, 2017

  13. Anyone interested in getting free magazines, you should checkout SurveyRewards. They pay you $20 for just doing very short surveys and you can cash it in for magazine subscriptions. I get 10 magazines for free every month and then share them with others….

    by toula1955 — January 30, 2017

  14. What I spent on groceries. These numbers are accurate because I always use the same credit card for all grocery purchases, and everything is tracked in Quicken. I went back four years.
    2013: $1,901 ($158/month)
    2014: $2,269 ($189/month)
    2015: $3,827 ($319/month)
    2016: $2,201 ($183/month)
    It’s just me at home, except 2015 when my daughter lived with me for all 12 months. I eat out maybe twice a month.
    90% of the shopping was at Safeway, and I live in northern CA. It’s like Kroger’s back east. Or Publix.
    10% was done at Wal-Mart. Shopping at both Safeway and Wal-Mart includes household supplies and toiletries.

    by Barbara — January 30, 2017

  15. DD,

    I prefer to hear from real people about what they spend monthly on groceries–not some website that may be inaccurate. We all have limited amounts of money so spend on certain items in our budget. Food is one thing that can be controlled (somewhat). I appreciate all the responses to my inquiry. Food and food prices are a real consideration in retirement. I do include household supplies and pet food in my question, and as I have said before in an informal poll here in DC most of my single friends (as I am) cannot get below $400.00 per month. So I was curious what others in other parts of the country spend for comparison purposes.

    by Jennifer — January 31, 2017

  16. Get a Lifetime Senior Pass for our wonderful National Parks. Right now they are only $10, but the price is going up (no firm date scheduled for increase). Best deal ever for these priceless wonders! Here’s a link: https://store.usgs.gov/pass/senior.html

    Jan Cullinane, author, The Single Woman’s Guide to Retirement (AARP/Wiley)

    by Jan Cullinane — January 31, 2017

  17. Hi Markg
    You may want to check out the State Retirement Guide for info on Florida and Bradenton. You can also type in “Bradenton” in the search bar for past articles on Bradenton. On the Forum under FL you can post questions.
    Hope this helps!!!

    by Moderator Flo — January 31, 2017

  18. Jennifer,
    It is real people like myself, who take the time on Numbeo.com and put in our local prices not the people who run the website. What someone spends on groceries depends on what they are buying. If you would of went to the website you would of known the price of various products of different areas. It is current on rents, mortgages, and entertainment too. I live in PA and spend $120 per person on all food, cleaning, hygiene and paper products every 2 week.

    by DD — January 31, 2017

  19. DD,

    I did go to the website before I wrote my last comment. I still want to hear from these people as they are retired or near retirement–the Numbeo website could be a young person who spend differently. Thanks for your input. Thanks everyone else who contributed directly to my question from the viewpoint of a retiree or nearly retired person which what I was trying to get at.

    by Jennifer — January 31, 2017

  20. Barbara, wow. I am impressed at your keeping track. Thanks for sharing. Right now, I am spending more in a week than you have in a month. I live in New England, eat lots of vegetables and only organic. I spend about 200 a week, which I can’t keep doing if I am not working. I try to avoid putting chemicals into my body and that gets expensive, but surviving cancer has made me more aware of the dangers. I need to find a more economical way to shop.

    by MaryNB — January 31, 2017

  21. MaryNB have you considered joining a CSA program in your area to get fresh fruits and veggies? I am thinking of joining one for the first time this year. This is the cost of one in my area:
    SHARE LEVELS
    $270 receives a $300 value (for a 10% discount)
    $510 receives a $600 value (for a 15% discount)

    It is hit and miss what fruits and veggies you get and depends on if Mother Nature cooperates. This one CSA that I am interested in doesn’t just deal with one farm as many CSA’s do but they deal with many farms so if one farm has a bad crop of something, maybe another farm had good luck. I am also not sure what you actually get per week either since I never have done this. We are two people and do like veggies and fruit. I wouldn’t mind freezing stuff either if I got too much of something. It might be a way for you to get fresh organic veggies at a decent price. Every year I grow tomatoes, cukes and peppers and I always want to grow more things. I do container growing. I have 5 whiskey barrels I grow the stuff in and I have lots of jalapeno peppers, Hungarian yellow wax peppers, habanaros, tomatoes and have had bad luck with cukes. They start off with tons of blossoms but for some reason have not been fruitful. CSA might be fun to also get odd ball stuff to try.

    by Louise — February 1, 2017

  22. Jennifer,

    I’m not sure how or why your Wireless Republic (WR) plan is so low. Perhaps you got it a long time ago. We pay $20 + taxes for 1 GB per month. Also, the information stated that refunds would be given for less use, and we’ve never received one.

    Something else that should be mentioned is that WR is online only. No talking to a person on the telephone ever! Something many would want to know.

    by ella — February 1, 2017

  23. I live in Phoenix, and only buy organic fruits and veggies. I stick to a very healthy diet… spend about $70.00 a week on food and paper products. I shop a lot at Trader Joes for organic…very reasonable!

    by georgina — February 1, 2017

  24. I am going to try to keep close track of my spending on food. I am clearly spending WAY too much for food. Part of the problem is that sometimes I get so busy that I eat on the run ans the food in the fridge ends up going bad. Time to get it together. Also, I have never really cut coupons, but I might give that a look.

    by MaryNB — February 1, 2017

  25. MaryNB, a good way to use up veggies that are getting older is to cut them up on a baking sheet, sprinkle with rosemary/thyme or herbs of your choice, drizzle with olive oil and roast them till they are soft. I forget to do that but they do taste so good!

    People’s food spending habits are hard to pin point due to people’s eating habits are so different. I have a girlfriend who is so picky it is beyond surprising to me. I think she eats about 5 things and hates every thing else. I know another guy who would never buy chicken breast meat due to cost. I know another guy who insists that food be purchased every day and never be frozen. I consider myself a ‘squirrel’ type of purchaser. I am constantly gathering food here there and everywhere and stock up when there are sales. I hate running out of anything. I always have back ups on just about any condiment. Buy giant packages of toilet paper of like 30 rolls. I have a mini grocery store in the basement! But that is me and got a lot of it from my Mom.

    Another frugal thing to do is to make your own chicken bone broth. I save all the bones I can from chicken meals and put them in the freezer till I have enough. Yesterday was chicken broth day and OH BOY, didn’t realize I had so many chicken bones! I ended up with two giant pots of broth. Probably 2 1/2 gallons. It is supposed to be so healthy for you but you have to cook them for hours in a pot or in a pressure cooker for 3-4 hours or in a slow cooker for around 24 hours. Lots of gelatin and minerals. http://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/cooking-ideas/8-reasons-try-bone-broth

    by Louise — February 1, 2017

  26. I’m a retired MD with plenty of bowel issues and it forced me to be a more informed person. The main diet issues in the medical literature is now eating nutrient rich food, smaller portions, and lo carb(sugar) food.
    As far as saving money goes absolutely avoiding sugar drinks and large amounts of fruit. All vitamins can safely and cheaply be accomplished by using a pill form. Plus the lower calorie load and lower demands on insulin production( think -lots of insulin production = increased appetite and fat storage-obesity). Larger starch intake is best for active working people and lower starch loads(pasta) the older slower you get. Protein and fat will get you down to 2 moderate size meals a day. Buying organic vs a non organic common food is a total waste of money.
    The best overall way to eat well and make money is to have a manageable garden. The wealth creation of one seed or plant is double double triple compounded interest on you savings.

    by Mark singsank — February 1, 2017

  27. We live in Portland, Oregon. Food is fairly expensive here but what we have always done is clip coupons, make grocery lists and hit our three main stores in a circuit. On first Tuesday of the month, we shop at a Fred Meyer, which is a Kroger store and receive a 10% discount of store brand items since we’re over 55. We also hit a couple farmers markets close by but there’s really no savings at them compared to the standard grocery stores. We just know that most things are local at those farmers markets. Plus they’re fun to go to. We buy organic really just based on the “dirty dozen”. We eat out probably twice a month and usually have some kind of coupon when we do. We end up spending between $400-$450 a month and eat well.

    by Johnny Retired — February 1, 2017

  28. Ohio costs us $83 a wk for 2 people not counting the Farmers market or buying meat for the freezer. It depends a lot where you are buying your foods too. I used Numbeo.com to find the cheaper shopping towns in my area and that helped us a lot. We could probably do better on cleaning products. We don’t get to many good coupons since I stopped the newspaper delivery. We don’t eat out much, or use pizza delivery.

    by DeyErmand — February 1, 2017

  29. Hahaha, love your name Johnny Retired!

    DeyErmand, why don’t you buy one newspaper a week, the one with the coupons. Our coupons come on Saturday, they used to be in the Sunday paper.

    I know this woman who will pick up the newspapers before Black Friday and she will buy around 10 of the same paper to get all the 20/50% coupons and other coupons. She goes to the Mall like a warrior with all her coupons. Then, she brings her hub with her and he is the mule and drags all her purchases out to the car while she shops till she drops! Not my cup of tea but she loves it! Funny, I never thought to buy numerous papers to get so many coupons!

    by Louise — February 1, 2017

  30. Ella
    Wireless Republic is not the same as Republic Wireless
    Here is the link to Republic Wireless
    They do have cell phones with both wifi and cellular coverage https://republicwireless.com

    by Staci — February 1, 2017

  31. I’m also in Ohio. We spend about $100.00 for two. That includes once a week going out to lunch. And we never go fancy for lunch. We rarely if ever go out to dinner. Honestly we prefer eating at home with cozy candles in the winter and outside in our quiet backyard in the summer. I don’t coupon clip because I don’t cook like that. Everything I use is fresh expect for oatmeal and can tomatoes. We have a fantastic family owned no frills grocery store that often has a buy one meat, pork or chicken get one free. That’s when I buy those items and freeze. I rarely buy beef though. They also have prepared homemade style meals that are often cheaper to buy for two people to share than to make. The vegetables are very fresh beings so many restaurants and ethnic folks buy there. It’s not cheap here for food. We find Target offers the best deal for paper products and often allergy medicine. I think we do pretty well considering we really don’t spend much on entertainment. We have fantastic parks and library system that really provides free entertainment.

    by Kate — February 1, 2017

  32. We use Republic Wireless also. Two phones for $30, but rebated unused data brings it down to about $14. It’s true that you can’t get a customer service person over the phone, but you can open a ticket online, and the Republic user community will answer your question (one reason why it’s so cheap!).

    We just upped our food budget from $75 to $80/week for two, so that we could buy larger quantities and freeze (three-packs of organic ground beef and dark meat chicken at Costco–can’t beat the price!). Our Costco Visa rebate more than pays the membership and provides funds for simple outings to $6 Tuesday movies with a visit to Five Guys afterward. We are on the Maryland side of DC, just out from the Beltway, so have many grocery options. Our basic shopping is at Trader Joe’s, with fill-ins from Harris Teeter for loss leaders on senior Thursday (5% off), Costco once or twice a month for the big jar of olives, big bags of nuts (kept in the freezer door for salads and munching), capers, coconut oil, fire roasted peppers, Kleenex in the winter, Scot TP, and more. Our sundries budget is $7 per week, and we save it up until the sale price is close to 50 cents a roll. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s having to run out and buy TP at full price…. We buy the big box of mixed salad greens in summer only, and the 6-pack of red bell peppers, but not much else in the produce section. We stuff the peppers with the ground meat or chicken and steam them, or use them in stir fry. In winter we shift to Romaine lettuce at TJ’s: 3 for $2.99. It lasts longer than mixed greens. Yes, it is good in soup!

    Our initial reason for buying the Costco membership was the need for new eyeglasses and tires. We have used the rental car service and have checked into their homeowner’s ins (need a new roof before we can take advantage).
    If the Aldi’s was closer to us, we would shop there primarily, but it’s 15 miles from us in heavy traffic…. They have many organic and gluten free offerings now.

    I make many of our foods because I can’t tolerate wheat products or dairy (except ghee). I use almond meal flour (from Costco or TJ’s) to make eggy blueberry pancakes on weekends. I try to avoid foods that may have had contact with glyphosate, either directly or as feed, because it causes leaky gut/food intolerance in me

    by Sandra — February 1, 2017

  33. We used to belong to CSA’s, but not because they were cheaper than the stores–far from it! The first one was a work share, where I helped them plant the seedlings twice a week, and then paid only half for our weekly share. Other that the gas driving to Frederick, it was great! Biodynamic even. Even so, we were finding it hard to afford any meat all summer. Meatless Monday morphed, but some of us needed more fat, and protein (I don’t cook beans in summer).

    We also bought half a bull from them (heritage breed was much smaller than steers), organic but not certified, never fed any grain because there was plenty of grass all winter. I got the tongue and “oxtail” for stew, and half the liver. They got the heart and kidney, and liver. This lasted a year and a half in our freezer, because our dd decided she didn’t like meat anymore.

    The next year, I split a share in a more ” local” CSA with someone else, alternating weeks (they farmed in PA, but had a nearer distribution point). This CSA had a donation box where you could dump the beets that no one in your house was going to eat, and pick out something else that had been donated that your family would actually eat. Several times I brought in garden bounty for the donation box, such as excess herbs, the jalapano pepper culls that I wasn’t going to freeze with holes in them, etc. Those peppers disappeared in a flash even with the holes and bumps. None of them ended up at the food bank. Neither did the herb bundles.

    But, hubby is glad I can’t afford the shares anymore.

    by Sandra — February 1, 2017

  34. I miss Costco! I am living in Chiang Mai, Thailand, for around $1500 per month rent and all. However, I just had to upgrade my glasses and it cost twice as much as at Costco. Mostly I am happy with my retirement abroad but there are some things I miss.

    by James Reed — February 2, 2017

  35. Sandra and Ella:

    I use Republic Wireless and I find the online Customer Service and forums very helpful and they get back to me faster than waiting for a Customer Service Rep at Verizon. The savings is significant and I am please with their service. I have used them for three and a half years. It is very highly rated and with the discounts, I rarely pay more than $15.00 per month. I may upgrade the phone soon.

    I shop at Trader Joes for many items, but do not buy their prepared dinners or entrees. I enjoy making my own food. I like their organic frozen blueberries which I eat with Oatmeal or in pancakes (once in a while). I like their frozen green beans, Brussel sprouts, and mixed vegetables. I buy their fresh lavender laundry detergent and the sparkling water–which is the only fizzy drink I ever buy or have at home. I prefer my lettuce the 50%spinach 50% arugula from Whole Foods. It lasts a long time and I use a salad spinner to get any extra moisture off the lettuce. I am pretty much a vegetarian and now and then I will eat wild salmon–which as of this writing I have not bought or eaten since last summer. I live near Sandra it seems in NW DC about two miles from the border of Maryland.

    by Jennifer — February 2, 2017

  36. Just bought two pair of glasses at Costco. With a $40 off coupon two pairs cost $328. That is without tax. Tax was another $21. Good deal on the glasses!

    Oh, and for those who need hearing aids, they have those too.

    by Louise — February 2, 2017

  37. Just in case this was not covered about Medicare supplement plans F & G. No one should get plans F because G covers exactly the same thing except for the $183.00 Part B deductible. BUT, the premium for Plan F is higher than the deductible. So if you don’t use it you save all that money. And if you need it and have to pay for the deductible you save less money – but still save.

    by Ron F — February 2, 2017

  38. If you already have a current vision Rx, you can order eyeglasses from Zenni Optical online for 70- 80% less than the Dr’s office.
    We have also ordered our Rx sunglasses because of the savings.

    by Caps — February 2, 2017

  39. We use the free network TV channels instead of cable or FIOS. We’ve had rabbit ears since the airwaves went digital, and upgraded to a smart flatscreen just 1.5 years ago. The rabbit ears work fine with it until a helicopter passes overhead, or the wind blows the tree limbs outside the window. But these problems would exist even with a fancy HD antenna.

    We also got a quote from our internet provider’s competitor, and called Verizon to tell them we were ready to switch. The internet/landline bill then magically came way down, and the speed tripled, with a new high speed router at no charge. Humph. They do call every month with a FIOS TV offer, but we aren’t interested unless it’s for just network shows at $10 per month with no rental charge for the box. Then they hang up, defeated. (We could actually use our smart tv features if we found the right router repeater to reach our addition, but meanwhile, we can plug in a laptop and a router dongle to the HDMI cable to stream programs. The hanging wire is ugly but it works).

    On Republic Wireless, we have the .5 gigabyte 3G plan, which can be rebated. Our daughter is on the new 4G plan, at 1 gigabyte per month for $20, and she is not eligible for a rebate (she used to pay $25/mo for 2 gig 3G, but was not using 1 gig). She didn’t run out of data with 2 weeks of traveling. If she had, she could have purchased more from her phone, inexpensively.

    We are mulling over when to quit our business and move to a less expensive locale (we still have a mortgage payment that would be hard to afford on just SS+RMD’s, esp. if the market earns 4% the next 10 years, as John Bogle predicted).

    I would have bought Mom’s house in MN for $130,000 if I’d had the money two years ago and if hubby had been ready to retire. It was slightly bigger than ours, same layout, in great condition, but ours is worth at least $500k-$600k without new roof/HVAC, due to close-in location on the subway line. Our little brick starter house would be an easy sell to renovators. There are many expanded houses in our subdivision already. (Or we could rent out rooms until the mortgage is paid….)

    I am lobbying for a very used class B cargo van conversion to look at far-flung properties. Hubby hates the thought of sleeping in a tiny vehicle. We shall see. NC mountains look good to me, but hubby says NY mountains!

    by Sandra — February 2, 2017

  40. Do you have to purchase a cellphone From Republic Wireless? How current and costly are they?

    by Caps — February 2, 2017

  41. Ron F
    In many areas of the country, plan G is not available.

    by Staci — February 3, 2017

  42. Staci you are right. Plan G through AARP Medicare supplements is not available in CT.

    by Louise — February 3, 2017

  43. Republic Wireless phones are discounted (mine was 1/2 of retail price). But you can now buy compatible phones outside of the company (check their list) and get the sim card. You can also pay an affiliate monthly to purchase a phone on a time plan if you need help (some customers are students or on disability income).

    Here are the latest offerings, all on 4G, so no rebate, but starting at $20/mo: https://republicwireless.com/phones/

    by Sandra — February 3, 2017

  44. Louise, thanks for all the tips! I was a single working Mom and now have an empty nest. I have been so busy all my life that I never really had time to search for sales, cut coupons, or spend much time in the kitchen at all. LIfe was just so busy! Things are slowing down now, and I am trying to cook more, but it is hard to get too motivated to cook for just me. Stir fries and simple meals that are quick to cook is all I do now. Otherwise, I have been eating on the run. I have a lot to learn.

    by MaryNB — February 3, 2017

  45. The phone i purchased from Republic Wireless was the regular price; i could have purchased it for less elsewhere. Also, although i have never used anywhere near my full 1 GB of monthly data, i have never been rebated for unused MB. I’ll have to submit an online request to find out why. RW is cheaper than other companies, but i have not found them to be nearly as good as advertised.

    by ella — February 4, 2017

  46. Republic Wireless interested parties: Keep an eye out for the 800-lb gorilla– just saw in the news yesterday that Comcast is moving into the space now occupied by Republic Wireless. RW keeps its rates low by using wi-fi for transmission as much as possible, and seamlessly jumping to transmission via more expensive cell towers only when necessary. This seems to me to be a very creative and sensible way to keep costs down. If Comcast starts using this same method, the public should benefit from greater competition in the space. We’ll see.

    by Barbara — February 4, 2017

  47. I use Virgin Wireless. I get unlimited talk, data and text for $30 a month. It’s $35 per month but they take off $5 if you put it on automatic pay. I have been using them for several years with no problems. They use Sprint’s network. They sell phones as well. The prices are decent but you have to pay the full price not monthly like the big companies offer.

    by Stacey — February 4, 2017

  48. Not sure how many of you use fuel oil to heat your house but our oil company announces fuel oil prices for the next season around June. We lock in every year to get the lowest prices. They have different programs but we just lock in and hope for the best that prices don’t go down otherwise we locked in at a higher price. If they go up, we are still locked in. Oil prices did go down for us one time a few years ago and that was annoying but can’t win them all!

    This is a spend money to save money tip. If you have an in ground septic system, make sure you have your septic company pump it at regular intervals suggested by them. We have ours pumped every 2 years like clockwork. By not having it pumped regularly you could end up with big costly problems with your septic system.

    We also have our oil burner cleaned once a year. We buy a service contract and the cleaning is included. Just one breakdown of your equipment could pay for the service contract. No bargains on service contracts but peace of mind I guess.

    by Louise — February 5, 2017

  49. Wow, Stacey – thanks for that tip. Didn’t know Virgin Mobile offered plans like that. I’ll be looking into this to replace our much more expensive Verizon plan.

    by J-Dog — February 5, 2017

  50. DH and I both are now have a no contract Cricket plan for $60. Per month, no extra taxes and fees. I switched from my unlimited Sprint plan that was costing over $90. ,just for 1 phone. Sprint didn’t work that well in East TN.
    My up to date Android was free, and DH paid only $30. for his (he’s a techie).
    I paid an extra $10. for a hotspot while we were in transition, and that worked out o.k. as well. We’re satisfied with the At&t connection they provide here.

    by Caps — February 6, 2017

  51. FYI
    This month’s Consumers Report reviews different cellular phone plans and phones. Under prepaid, billed in advance Google Fi was #1. Republic Wireless is number 3. Under traditional service Consumer Cellular is number 1.

    by Florence — February 6, 2017

  52. Florence: What service was #2?

    by Jennifer — February 7, 2017

  53. Caps,
    Sounds good. Whereas we pay Republic Wireless $23.50 per month including taxes, that’s only for one phone. The cost of the phone was $250. It will take us a long time to make up the difference compared to your getting a free phone and DH paying only $30. Add to that the cost of an upcoming second phone, and your situation is a winner!

    By the way, Republic Wireless is no longer offering rebates on unused data. That plan is only being offered with their first phones, which are no longer available to new subscribers. I was not informed of this when changing to this provider, but was told recently upon sending in a help ticket. Another problem with a provider you can’t talk to!

    by ella — February 7, 2017

  54. I have FreedomPop. It is free if you only use 200/min a month talk and don’t use the internet to much. There phones are priced reasonably and if you have a cell – you can bring your own if it qualifies.

    by Ron F — February 7, 2017

  55. Jennifer
    Page Plus Cellular was number 2.

    by Florence — February 7, 2017

  56. DH had Page Plus for awhile. The phone was about $150.00, but was an older model, which he quickly outgrew. He paid about $45.00 per month, and had to purchase more minutes online from his laptop. He is much happier with our Cricket phones and plans. Plus, the guys at the Gamestop store were very helpful, both in Mn and TN. Their website shows their current promotions and phones. I think you can even get an iPhone if you want one. They even helped us transfer our contacts and photos, plus totally took care of the Sprint transfer. Way easy!

    by Caps — February 7, 2017

  57. My husband and I are semi retired and are watching our pennies to become fully retired. A huge savings is shopping at Aldi’s. Their prices are truly much lower than any market I have shopped. Their produce is the cheapest and is delicious. I live in S. Fl and the main food markets are Publix. Publix is expensive except their buy one get one free.
    The same food I buy in Publix could cost $40-$50 more than Aldi’s for a 2 week period.

    by Jackee — February 8, 2017

  58. I agree with Jackee. My husband (age 62)and I (age 60) live in central California and are starting to live on a retirement budget as we are planning an early retirement in the next year. This is helping us save more of our salaries and also getting us into the mind set of spending less on unnecessary, frivolous items. Aldi’s is a relatively new store on the west coast. We have started shopping there recently and find the prices very reasonable, produce is always fresh, package sizes are just right for two people. The store is very clean and well organized and not so large, so it is easy to navigate the aisles. They don’t have a huge selection, but large enough that we don’t have to shop anywhere else. We eat a mainly vegetarian diet with some fish and chicken. Whenever I have bought produce at Costco, usually after the first week I had to throw out. I have started to freeze the baked goods like bread which is usually a two pack, keeping one outside for immediate use. I take out the frozen items the night before and they are perfectly thawed out the next day. I still buy toilet paper, paper towels etc. as the quality and prices are great.

    Our biggest concern will be our health insurance in retirement. We already know a major part of our savings will go into paying for that, especially since at our age there are preexisting conditions. That is the only thing that is making us think twice about quitting our jobs since we will lose our health insurance and won’t qualify for Medicare.

    by Mimi — February 9, 2017

  59. Mimi, good idea on ‘practicing’ your retirement budget before you actually do it. My Hub and I saved a lot of money in 401k and had pretty small paychecks. Now that we are retired we don’t feel the pinch because we basically are living on the same money now that we are both on SS and withdraw a small amount from IRA’s and we have Hubs pension. Health insurance is a much bigger cost than we ever expected. We are on Obamacare now and it is affordable! $507 a month for two of us with the $1,100 a month subsidy. Now Hub is going on Medicare next month. We chose Plan F for him because he had surgery last year and there was talk of more treatment. Now, things seem to be good and no surgery or treatments are planned. With Medicare B, Plan F and Plan D Hub alone will be paying $442.80 a month. I will stay on Obamacare and not sure yet but I believe I will be paying around $470 a month. So when I go on Medicare in 18 months, my cost for Medicare B, Plan F and Plan D should be somewhere around what Hub is paying so that is about $900 a month! I am in CT and Plan F and Plan D is a lot less in other states. Medicare is more expensive than I ever dreamed it would be. As long as they don’t mess with Obamacare, preexisting conditions won’t matter. But no one knows what is going to happen to Obamacare or Medicare.

    by Louise — February 9, 2017

  60. Louise,
    Medicare is not expensive. There is no charge for part A if you contributed over the years. In 2016, and I know it’s gone up, part B was $121.00. You said your husband had a pension. Was he a union member? Does he have any benefits or coverage through that? My part F through my union is partially reimbursed.

    by Staci — February 10, 2017

  61. Louise, Medicare is expensive! For A, B, D, and F plus dental insurance, I will be paying about 500 a month this year. It is much more expensive than I planned on! I also need plan F because I am a cancer survivor. My contirbution for health insurance through my employer was next to nothing. Turning 65 cost me money!

    by MaryNB — February 10, 2017

  62. Statci, Part B is now 134 at a minimum and more depending on your adjusted gross income for 2015. It is not one price for everyone and it is expensive when you add everthing up. For those of us who were covered by an employer until age 65, if takes a big bite out of a fixed income to pay 500 or more a month.

    by MaryNB — February 10, 2017

  63. The high cost of healthcare once my wife and I got on Medicare was a bit of a shock to say the least. We have Supplemental Plan F which is more costly but with recent health problems I’m glad we have it. Our monthly cost is $650.00.

    by Jim C — February 10, 2017

  64. Cheap phone service: Saw this today in one of my investment newsletters. “Skype currently offers a free month of unlimited minutes to make calls to landlines in 63 countries and mobile phones in eight countries. After your free month, you can choose a North America plan with unlimited minutes for $6.99 a month or a worldwide plan with unlimited minutes for $13.99 a month.” I wasn’t aware of Skype service, and didn’t check out the website. But you might want to.

    by Barbara — February 10, 2017

  65. Staci, When I said ‘Medicare’ I meant, in general, the whole package deal is expensive. Yes, Medicare A is free but you need all the other things to go along with it. Part B for my Hub is $134.00, Part D (prescriptions) is $67.30 and Part F is $241.50. It all comes to $442.80. Yes, he could have gone on another plan besides Plan F that is cheaper but he has had surgery recently and I want him to be 100% covered in the event of more treatment. Those like MaryNB and Jim C know first hand how important it is to have excellent coverage or you will end up with thousand of dollars in bills to pay. His pension is not from a union so there is no possibility of reimbursement.

    This is an example of one bill we have outstanding. My Hubs surgeon suggested that the tissue samples be sent to this place in CA for genetic analysis. This testing is supposed to help the doctors determine the correct treatment , if necessary, rather than trying multiple strategies that are less likely to work. So, in the long run this testing will save the insurance company money by going down the right treatment path. Well, the bill for this testing is $5,150 and our insurance has denied this claim. They say it isn’t covered. The surgeon told us the insurance would fight it and that we’d have to appeal it. Right now it is being appealed. Will take around 30 days to find out what the decision is. If they deny again, we will appeal again. The surgeon believes they will pay. I spoke to the rep at the Genetic testing place and she said Medicare WOULD have covered this expense! Amazing Medicare would cover it and a major insurance company denies state of the art genetic analysis!

    by Louise — February 11, 2017

  66. I guess it’s all relative. When I left my job my COBRA coverage was $972.00 monthly and that was cheaper than Obamacare since I didn’t qualify for any subsidies. For new retirees, make sure your Medicare is based on your current income and not what you were making when you were working. They base your premium on 2015 returns. We saved over $3,000 once the IRMAA was removed.

    by Staci — February 11, 2017

  67. Mimi, You seem to be doing all the right things to retire early, but I can tell you that there are likely numerous “gotchas” that you can’t avoid AFTER you have fully retired. An example is med insurance expense which many have described — believe the higher cost estimates!

    We retired at 55 in 2003, with all the prep you describe. We thought things were fine until the SECOND year after retirement when we learned that all the medical cost planning we had done was based on being part of that much larger and much healthier insurance pool of younger, working people. The first 18 months we reaped the benefit — but in the second full year, reality caught up, our pool changed and our costs jumped from $3000 for insurance that first full year to over $12000 (and climbing) that second full year! We were fortunate, the market was good in those early years and eventually we reached Medicare age without issues (after which, at 65, I promptly had a heart attack and surgery from which I can now say I have recovered — insurance paid over $200,000 in bills). (Pay close attention to the posts above — I believe Staci was also a special case as we were and you will NOT find that “Medicare is not expensive”. I is not expensive only compared to bearing the full cost of insurance alone. Obamacare may help, but that story is playing out in the news daily…)

    You say you are having second thoughts. That’s good, though I’m not saying you should delay your full retirement — just be sure you are prepared for what you can not expect. I have a budget planned out for the next 30+ years (started before retiring). I started by estimating a 10% yearly increase in medical insurance. After that first shock, I changed that to 30% annually! I was right for those several years until Medicare. Now I have reverted to the 10% but I am not at all sure that will hold up. My advice is to plan your full year to year retirement expense by always estimating costs higher than you think. Be conservative on investment growth expectations. Be prepared to shift expenses from “desirables” (like vacation) to “mandatory” (like health care) on a year to year or even real time basis.

    by Rich — February 12, 2017

  68. I pay $200 per month for medical insurance in NYC. This includes Medicare part B ($134) and a United Health Care Advantage Plan ($66). The Advantage Plan has medical, dental, vision and prescription. Since I am very healthy and on no medications, I feel this is the best plan for me at this time. When I age and may develop health issues, I probably will get a more expensive plan. Remember that you can change your plan each year which is a good thing. My 95 year old mom is on a different United Health Care plan that costs over $200 per month plus a separate drug plan. So she pays close to $500 per month for her coverage. Because of her health issues, it’s a perfect plan for her.

    by Stacey — February 12, 2017

  69. I was told that if I didn’t sign up for Plan F plus a drug plan now, I could not get them in the future. My dental is extra too and not part of Medicare at all. So, my cost is about 500 per month. I was also told that the Advantage plans do not cover much in the event of serious illness. I am a cancer survivor, so I know how costly medical expenses can be. I thought I was perfectly healthy until I was diagnosed. I figured that I had better get the plan
    F while I could.

    by MaryNB — February 13, 2017

  70. MaryNB I am not sure what you were told but Plan F will no longer be offered after 2020 but those who have it will be grandfathered and can keep it. However, according to this article I am attaching, the Plan F cost will go up. They say Plan G is exactly like Plan F with the exception of Plan G does not pay the Plan B deductible. https://www.senior-advisors.com/medicare-blog/important-plan-f-no-longer-available-january-1-2020

    by Louise — February 13, 2017

  71. Is anyone familiar with switching from Plan F to Plan G? From what I am reading it looks like you are locked in once you choose a Medigap plan.

    Also, if you move to another State and Plan F is less money in the new State, will your policy price go down or do you have to keep paying the higher price?

    by Louise — February 13, 2017

  72. I live in Connecticut and I will be turning 65 in July so I am looking into Medicare Supplement Plans. My physician said to look into a plan that has the most flexibility in choosing doctors. I asked him what plan he was on and told me he is using Anthem Blue Cross. My cousin in Massachusetts also picked a Blue Cross. He picked plan F, my neighbor is also on Anthem Blue Cross. An agent for Cigna, suggested plan N or Plan G. Connecticut I am told has a rolling enrollment period and there is no pre-existing condition, I discovered that I am receiving different quotes for PLAN F depending upon the company. I am also looking into United Health (Not AARP) and several other options, such as going on to my wife’s plan from her job or taking the Supplement from my previous employer that I am told is like Plan F, from Wellmark, Iowa. I am also checking out plans that includes the Silver Sneakers Program.

    Regarding Groceries we spend about $300, per month and we go to 4 different stores depending upon what we are shopping for, Aldi’s and Shop-rite have the best prices. For meats its the Big y or the lGA. We also use the Costco Visa Card. On vacation I discovered that Groceries are more expensive in SC and FL. plus there is no sales tax on groceries in CT.

    We are on a legacy family plan with SPRINT and pay $187 for four Smart Phones with unlimited everything. This includes an employer discount. Comcast cable and internet is $122 a month, Economy digital with HBO and two HD Set Top Boxes, and BLAST Internet Speed which has a fast internet speed.

    Auto Insurance and Property or Renters Insurance, there is no loyalty if you don’t shop with and independent broker every couple of years you are leaving money on the table. Plus if you have to purchase a new car, check the rates with the Insurance Company before you buy. Need tires? http://www.tirerack.com and have your local garage mount and balance them for you.

    by Markg — March 2, 2017

  73. Markg, I recently considered all the plans and went with BCBS plan F along with dental and plan D. I will see how it goes, but everyone tells me that it is the best for me because I need to be able to go to doctors anywhere in the USA.

    by MaryNB — March 3, 2017

  74. Markg Can you tell me what draws you to Aldi’s? I know a lot of people like it but I went there a few times and it didn’t appeal to me. I heard someone the other day saying they went and how good something was that they bought there. What do you buy there that you like? I did buy pizza there and it was not expensive and rather tasty.

    by Louise — March 4, 2017

  75. I use Aldi’s a lot. Their prices are HALF of what the other two major supermarket chains we have here (SE TN) charge and the products just as good. I too, was hesitant at first but several friends kept talking about it so one day I just went in and picked out a basket full of stuff to try. Now, it is a regular stop. Some of their items we even like better than the “name brand!” It is owned by a German company and often there are some unusual foods to try on their “seasonal” aisle. Those products cycle through, so if you find something you like, it might not be there the next time. Don’t forget to take a quarter for the cart – took me a couple of trips to figure that out and your own boxes or bags for your trunk. I do think their produce tends to ripen faster than others – so use it quickly – but just as good!! Give it another try.

    by Holly — March 4, 2017

  76. I will give it another try Holly! I was at the hairdresser and two women were talking about the store and one was telling the other about some product that I couldn’t hear what it was and she was telling the other woman that she shouldn’t tell her about it because she loves it so much and she is afraid everyone will find out about it! Darn that blow dryer blocked out that conversation!

    by Louise — March 4, 2017

  77. I frequently go to ALDI’s and even though their prices are USUALLY lower than those at a regular grocery store, that is not always the case and that holds true for the few name brand products that they carry. Most–but not all–of their house brands are comparable in quality to name brands. You just have to try what you like and make your own decision on an item-by-item basis. (I’m snacking on their animal cracker cookies as I type this–they’re very good.) ALDI’s version of Honey Nut cereal doesn’t taste like the Cheerio’s version and their version of Triscuits don’t taste like the name brand either. For some reason, much of their produce seems to have a very short shelf life and some of it–like strawberries–you have to buy two containers to make one good one. Fortunately, they have a double guarantee where they will refund your money and replace the product if you have a problem with it. I’ve never asked for the double guarantee. I’m happy just to get replacement strawberries.

    by Roselandpete — March 4, 2017

  78. In our area, at least, a COSTCO membership has gone up to $60.00. For those of you who are members, do you think it’s worth it, especially for things other then large quantity purchases?? Thanks

    by Staci — March 5, 2017

  79. Anyone familiar with dental savings plans. I have traditional dental insurance with BCBSIL (I live in Illinois) and pay $39:per month. Would like to try to cut this expenergy if I can. Thanks!

    by Karen — March 5, 2017

  80. Karen, I have an Aetna dental plan which they say isn’t insurance but they negotiate with the dentists for lower prices. I have had it for two years and it is okay. For two people it is $169 plus they get you for $20 for processing fees. Hub just went for a cleaning and xrays and it was around $139 with the discount. Normally a cleaning is around $110. Here is the link: The DentalPlans.com They offer other things besides Aetna too. The price is based on zipcode so depending on where you live it could be less than my costs.

    by Louise — March 5, 2017

  81. Staci, yes Costco prices will go up from $55 to $60. My Hub and I buy our eye glasses there and I know we save a lot of money. They have deals during the year buy one get one half price and the prices are low to begin with. We buy batteries and years ago it was the cheapest place to buy a cancer drug for our dog at their drug store. We love certain foods like the rotiserie chicken at the bargain price of $4.99 and so many other things. It is also fun to eat some of the new foods that they are introducing. I have never bought a car but they will help you with that. They offer vacation packages but have never done that. We have purchased a couch and a love seat there. Unfortunately, they do not offer delivery service for in store purchases which turned out to be a pain for us. I order stuff from Costco on line sometimes, however they don’t offer very much compared to the store. I read an article that they are going to persue that in the future. Plus, I have the Costco Visa for which I charge everything possible during the year and get a cash reward each year. Due to get $440 cash bonus rewards in my next Visa bill. To me it is worth it. I sometimes just enjoy looking around at all they have to offer and could spend $1,000 each time I go there but have to control myself! LOL! We are avid cooks so large portions don’t scare us. We reportion it into smaller packages and vac pac then freeze. We just bought organic broccoli florettes and it came in a big bag, I planned to reportion it and to my delight, I discovered that the big bag had 4 bags inside that were ready to throw into the microwave to steam the broccoli.

    by Louise — March 5, 2017

  82. Re Dental Insurance: Having reached a point that our teeth are relatively stable (and with my teeth, that is saying a LOT) and needing mostly only cleaning/checkup 2 or 3 times a year, we’ve found the annual cost of dental insurance is more than the cost of those services. Our dentist cuts us a break for other work (fillings, etc.) and he is the best I’ve ever had. So we’ve decided to handle dental out-of-pocket. Works out to about break even.

    Since most dental insurance requires at least a year of coverage before they will allow more advanced work (crowns,etc.), work with your dentist and be sure of your status. (We decided that even one rare crown is worth doing without insurance since it will only typically cover half.)

    by Rich — March 5, 2017

  83. its geting rediculous what costco costs I agrre when is it time to say enough already

    by Don — March 5, 2017

  84. whats exactly is aldis?

    by Don — March 5, 2017

  85. To Markg. I found that one place that recognizes the Silver Sneaker is impossible for some seniors.

    I have fallen and broken and sprained ankles so many times that I have a fear of stairs. This studio, in Windham, well appointed, good trainers, has a roughly 2 1/2 story stairs to the weights and machines. There is no other access. The Silver Sneaker program is a few group classes, if you are in decent shape to begin with, you might find these OK. I, personally felt they were terribly inadequate. I’ve had to join a place that doesn’t have Silver Sneakers to be able to access the weights and cardio machines.

    FYI – I choose AARP’s plan a few years ago. The specific plan I have is no longer available, but I’m grandfathered. I have had no problems at all with the service. Just last month I called to get clarification on a claim. Excellent USA-based staff understood my questions, agreed it looked strange, and sent me to another agent who was able to clear everything up. Total time – about 5 minutes (including wait time).

    by Lynne (from CT) — March 5, 2017

  86. I was advised not to get dental insurance by my union insurance rep. He said that most dental insurance doesn’t cover much more than basic exams, fillings and cleanings and the insurance would cost more than having these basic serviced performed.

    by Staci — March 5, 2017

  87. Staci – I agree! We have dental insurance through the military and it is AWFUL! It pays very little – less than 50% for basics and then you MUST be with one of their dentists. Locally, we found that all of the dentists were either really new to the area or with dubious qualifications – they need to build a practice but once established they will drop the insurance! You would think that the military could do better with retirees but their RX plan is even worse. Not for costs – most meds are free IF you take the meds they decide you take – not your doctor. Again, it’s all about $ – they dropped CVS as one of their pharmacies since they could not reach a suitable contract, and now, even though we are very much seniors, we have to drive an additional 10 miles for Rx’s – but only those that are not maintenance meds – those must either come from the mail or from a military post. We are about an hour’s drive from Ft. Lee and the traffic is horrific – I-95 is not a very safe road for seniors who do not tend to speed or want to play tag with 18-wheelers. We never thought it would come to this – we really didn’t or I would have thought about asking my husband to get out while he was young enough to start another career! But they ‘get you’ – by the time you realize the life is not what you thought it would be, you have a family and it’s difficult just to resign and look elsewhere.
    Would I do it again? Not with what i know now and after being widowed at 22, I married another Army officer! I must have been insane!
    Diane

    by Diane — March 6, 2017

  88. To Don – Aldi is chain of small supermarkets, headquartered in Germany. You need a quarter to unchain the grocery cart (you get it back when you re-chain it once you’re done) and bring your own bags or boxes. This keeps the costs down and their prices are often half of the major supermarket chains. The one near me is very small with not a lot of excess inventory but I can find most of what I need when I go. Most of my friends and I visit the other grocery chains, later in the week, for the things out of stock or not stocked at Aldi’s. Their meat is usually very good and the eggs are much cheaper. Diary and produce – also good. They are expanding in the US. I am hoping they will open one in Maine!

    by Myquest55 — March 6, 2017

  89. Re Dental premium cost,

    I’ve started looking into dental premiums available.
    Do your homework google dental insurance and check the options available. There are many available. The cheapest I found with 0 deductible was $75 month for both me and my wife. There are much cheaper plans available depending on your needs. Investigate before jumping into an overpriced plan. The lady that has dental with Aetna sounds like it’s too much a month.

    by Skip P — March 6, 2017

  90. I posted this yesterday and I didn’t indicate that this cost is for one year. You pay $189 at one shot. The woman who does the billing at our dentist thought it was a pretty good deal for non insurance. It basically works like insurance but all the prices are pre negotiated and the front desk has a schedule of prices for each procedure.

    Karen, I have an Aetna dental plan which they say isn’t insurance but they negotiate with the dentists for lower prices. I have had it for two years and it is okay. For two people it is $169 plus they get you for $20 for processing fees. Hub just went for a cleaning and xrays and it was around $139 with the discount. Normally a cleaning is around $110. Here is the link: The DentalPlans.com They offer other things besides Aetna too. The price is based on zipcode so depending on where you live it could be less than my costs.

    by Louise — March 6, 2017

  91. ALDI is great. Good food at great prices. Even their organic food is at great prices. Much better than Sams Club or Costco .

    by Ron — March 8, 2017

  92. Question about credit cards just out of the blue—
    My husband and I were talking and wondering once you are retired is it difficult to apply for a credit card since you would not be making a salary
    Just wondering how that would work if it should arise.any feedback
    Thanks, Barbara (this comment was moved to this post because it fit better).

    by Admin — May 2, 2017

  93. (From Louise): Babyboomer55 and others, if you have a home, you might thing about applying for a home equity line of credit. We have done so and our line of credit is at $100,000. Our line of credit lasts 10 years then you have to reapply again. You can write checks against it. We have purchased cars with it and of course you could do home repairs with the money. Interest is pretty low on the money you use and you can make monthly payments. I am not sure but maybe they might offer a credit card you could use with that account.

    There are also prepaid credit cards you could buy and put a certain amount of money on it.

    by Admin — May 2, 2017

  94. (from Babyboomer55): I’ve been retired for a few years and at the age of 62 have qualified for several credit cards. They do assist with home maintenance issues if you don’t have the cash on hand.

    by Admin — May 2, 2017

  95. Aldi’s is a great alternative to usual supermarkets. Food is excellent and store brands are also very good (mostly)
    We use them to stock up on vegetables and stables like flour and sugar.
    Most stores are clean and convenient but if not they are worth the drive. Remember to bring your own bags. They don’t supply grocery bags

    by Ron — May 3, 2017

  96. Granting credit cards for retired people often depends on your credit score. In addition, you have to give your estimated income. You don’t necessarily have to have a salary. They usually look at total income, whether it comes from Social Security, IRAs, 401(k)s, pensions, savings, or some other source. They also look at how much you pay in rent or mortgage, if you have one.

    by Clyde — May 3, 2017

  97. I agree with Rich regarding dental insurance. When signing up for my medical coverage after retirement, it was suggested that I take a pass on both dental and vision coverage, pay for cleaning myself, and only get the coverage if I had a condition needing coverage. I was told that even if I signed up for dental after finding out I had an issue needing coverage, I could still get the insurance. Because my dentist charges only $100 for a cleaning (gives a senior discount), 2 of these every year are much less than annual premiums would be.

    by Joann C — May 3, 2017

  98. Regarding dental insurance:
    I researched those offered and found that all have a spending cap the was equal to the amount you pay annually so there was NO benefit. If you pay 80 dollars a month they reimbursed you a maximum of 1000 per year.

    by Ron — May 4, 2017

  99. I picked up dental insurance through Delta Dental which is “recommended” by AARP. I was told that in the first year only cleanings, checkups etc would be covered but not any major procedures like crowns etc etc. I’m assuming that is standard practice for most dental plans.

    by Jim C — May 4, 2017

  100. I got Aetna Dental Insurance last year, as i had some major problems. My work was, including a root canal, was covered by the insurance. It saved me hundreds of dollars. I don’t see what the point is if it just covers routine care.

    by ella — May 5, 2017

  101. I would be VERY CAREFUl about taking out a home equity line and using it to pay for everyday expenses. I live the way my parents did – if i don’t have the money, i don’t spend it! It’s not glamorous, but i never get into financial trouble.

    by ella — May 5, 2017

  102. A commenter here mentioned a senior discount some dentists give. My Medicare Advantage plan covers one cleaning and exam every six months, plus xrays every year, and that’s the extent of the coverage. Beyond that, the insurance doesn’t cover other dental expenses. When I had to have a filling a couple of years ago, I told the front office that I had no insurance for that, and was there any discount for that. They gave me 30% off of what I was asked to pay just a minute before. So there may be a senior discount, but it doesn’t hurt to ask for an uninsured disdcount

    by Clyde — May 5, 2017

  103. And one other hint about dentists. If the office is fancy and they have lots of new-fangled equipment, my experience is their fees are often higher. I once used a dentist I thought charged fairly high fees. They had a nice, new stand-alone building. The patient parking lot was in front. One time their patient lot was full, so I drove to the back of of the building where the staff parked. In the two spots reserved for the dentists sat two big brand-new Mercedes sedans. I began to figure out where my higher fees were going!

    by Clyde — May 5, 2017

  104. Comment from Louise: (moved here from “What Retirement Planners Should Have Said” post)

    32.211.127.175

    JCarol, good advice, thank you!

    I would like to stress too that if you can’t pay off your credit card each month, figure out what you are spending money on and cut out unnecessary spending. I have a Costco Visa card and I try to pay many of my monthly bills with it. I pay for gas, groceries, health insurance, doctor visits and anything I need to buy that I can charge. At the end of the year I get bonus bucks. This year was $440.

    I used to know this family that never saved a dime and were always getting their electric turned off. They would run out of oil to heat their house. They would take advantage of those checks offered by credit card companies and be thousands in debt from it. They had a green house with orchids in it as a hobby. The green house was toasty warm, the house was freezing cold! They bought a freezer with a freezer plan. The freezer was on the easy payment plan and the food for the freezer too. The first two weeks after the food was delivered for the freezer they gobbled up all the food. They would eat steaks for breakfast. There was no discipline whatsoever on what was eaten when. The food was probably supposed to last two months. It was a constant cycle of buying things and being broke. I could never understand it. They had debt collectors calling all the time. The husband always made decent money but as soon as the paycheck came in it was gone.

    by Admin — July 31, 2017

  105. Note: We moved a group of comments about living on a budget to this Post since they fit better:

    JCarol
    Thanks for your well thought out response, Louise.
    We’re only drawing my SS for now (from my earnings record). Our income will be about $10K per annum higher next year when DH turns and claims 1/2 spousal SS benefits. Four years after that our income should be in very good shape because we’ll have my benefits plus his greatly increased benefits (thanks to the big bump for delaying until 70). At 70, our combined SS should cover all of our needs plus most of our wants, medical and unforeseen disasters notwithstanding.
    Our current finances are knotty from a small business whose funds often co-mingle with our personal funds. All gets separated out by tax time, but during the interim it can be tricky to figure out what comes in from where, and what goes out from where. DH is 40 years into this weird groove, so the chances of him changing now are basically nil.
    Undisciplined spending mostly comes from short trips in our trailer and other travel, unexpected repairs, and little thises and thats. (Let’s just say that Amazon can be the very definition of a frenemy.)
    Home and auto fixes have hit us, too. Ignoring repairs and upkeep do not make them go away nor do problems get better or cheaper with time. We do as much ourselves as possible and have learned to avert our eyes away from peeling paint and carpet stains. We’ll get to them when we get to them.
    DH believes that our retirement will be expense heavy in the first 10-15 years and then slow down as we get older. (He’s probably correct.)
    We are relying more heavily on credit cards these days. The bonuses are hard to resist, and the paper trail has been incredibly helpful. Like you, we pay them off every month. Auto pay is a godsend, isn’t it?
    I’ve also “fooled myself” with money and banking balances! Maybe you, Kate and I are a few crazy ladies who tend to err heavily on the side of caution.

    Louise
    JCarol, I am the frugal one and my hub is less disciplined. First off, you most likely have listed all your monthly expenses and know the basic amount of monthly expenditures. Where does your undisciplined spending happen? Is it splurging for unplanned eating out or a Broadway show? Buying things on a whim? We never really lived on a budget either till retirement. Due to Obamacare and having to live below the 400% poverty level has helped but our monthly expenses exceed SS, small withdrawals from IRA’s, one small pension. I have been dipping into savings to cover monthly expenses and will have to continue till 2019 when finally off Obamacare and onto Medicare. I plan to use the 4% withdrawal rate till we have to take RMD’s at age 70. We use the Costco Visa for as many purchases as possible per month and pay off the balance. This helps me see where we are spending our money plus we get bonus cash back once a year. The only thing that really stinks is unexpected expenses. We just had to buy a new computer, Hubs truck needed $1,000 in repairs a few weeks ago. There are a lot of hidden, forgotten and once a year bills that pop up and make me groan! We have a service contract for our boiler and that really saved our butt recently. The contract is over $500 a year but we had issues which required service 6 days in a row! We got charged nothing because all service was covered. I am thinking about looking into a house warranty which covers appliances, plumbing, and other issues. There is nothing wrong with the old fashioned envelope system! We get our SS checks deposited the second and third week of the month into checking. From our once a year IRA distributions I have put that in savings and divided it by 12 (months) then I draw out the 1/12 and deposit that into checking the first of each month. Then some money is pulled out of savings to cover the rest. We have gotten money back from the Fed and State on income tax and I bank that too and include that with my IRA distribution money and put that into checking too (monthly). All of this I do with online transfers from my bank accounts. Most of my bills are on auto pay with on line checking. House is paid for. Have no credit card bills. My Costco credit card bill is around $4,000 a month so each week I transfer $1000, which is an auto transfer, and put it in savings till the bill comes due. Once the bill arrives I still have around 4 weeks to pay it. I do a bunch of money juggling but it pays off. I just cannot wait till I am off Obamacare so I can dip a little deeper into the IRA money and not have to touch savings. We have also been together for 44 years! Kate, I like your thinking. I have done some of the ‘crazy lady’ things too! However, I think we are crazy like a fox!

    JCarol
    Rich & Kate – We, the somewhat mathematically obsessive, have many techniques in common. I’m not yet fully retired and though the irregular additional income is welcome, it makes retirement budgeting easier said than done. Additionally, I must confess that DH and I have never lived on a budget throughout our nearly 40 years together. (I rather happily lived on a strict budget before that though.) I’m a numbers person, he’s not. I’m financially disciplined, he’s less so. It works out better than one might expect because neither of us is terribly rigid and both want to find a way to make the other happy.
    When we edged toward our 60s, it was clear that that i would be the one to give the nod as to when we would be ready to step away from full time work since I oversee our finances from a macro level. So here we are. The budget is all laid out and everything works on paper. Sounds great, right? But how to move from concept to reality. Ay, there’s the rub. How do two people live on a budget? I know how one can, but two is trickier. To track every (or even most) dollars seems restrictive and unpleasant.
    I’m half tempted to go to the old envelope system of budgeting. Suggestions?

    Kate
    Carol & Rich: You’re both very correct about planning for unexpected expenses. I tend to be compulsive, but in a nuttier way. I have a “slush” cushion of $1500+ per month for emergencies and discretionary spending in my planned retirement budget of $60K (based on my current spending). That budget doesn’t count that my own SS will be a few hundred dollars higher per month when I switch from widow’s benefits. Based on 4% withdrawal from my 401K plus SS, I’ll actually have $65K instead of my $60K planned budget. I am hiding that extra $5K from myself for an emergency fund. I’m also that looney lady who has emergency money in my checking account that I don’t add in the register, and who keeps an envelope of emergency cash in a safe. (My rationale for keeping cash in a fireproof safe is that if I get hit by a car, the kids can pay for my funeral and 2-3 months of bills if accounts are frozen while the estate is being settled.) I had older, depression era parents who were frugal, and I’m ok with making lifestyle tradeoffs to have these cushions. I don’t recommend my nuttiness about squirreling money away to others — pun intended — but my method of planning for emergencies works for me. And if I start to get forgetful, the kids know where to look for my “hidden” funds.

    Rich
    Kate, it is nice to have another source (even a simple one) confirm all you’ve worked out. I expect you’ll find that $60,000 can be managed without too much stress — especially after you get used to it. My wife and I started with a plan for $45K 14 years ago and with decent market returns have been able to increase that to the level you plan — and now we’ve been able to also modernize our kitchen and bath (and the living room home theater equipment :<) as we had hoped. The big deal is tracking every expense and holding to your limit (or below) even if things do go alright. Best of luck to you as you move into your new life!

    by Admin — November 27, 2017

  106. For those needing new glasses, watch the ads for Vision Source. They can do your eye exam or you can bring in an existing prescription. I just got two pairs of no line bifocals and the frames for $69 total. You have a limited selection of frames to choose from, but there are typically some pretty nice options.

    by Chris J — January 23, 2019

  107. We just switched our mobile carrier to our cable/internet company (Comcast) which offers FREE(with $3 tax) unlimited texted and voice (although we did need to purchase new phones) the company also has wifi hotspots all over the country where we can use the net for free and many offices and stores, restaurants, etc also provide free internet for customers but for $12 as month (as needed) we can get 1 gig of internet. The saving on our 2 lines is over $60 a month.

    by Jean — January 23, 2019

  108. First thing I do when our store ads come in the mid-week mail is to check them over to see who’s got what on sale. Also check the on-line ads and coupons. One of local stores frequently has an online coupon for $5 off on a $50 purchase; that’s where I’m going first! By combining that with other online savings, I usually get $20-25 off on an $80 purchase. Paper towels, TP, dishwashing detergent and other similar products, I normally order online from ‘jet.com’. Our weekly groceries average about $75/wk for the two of us. Been retired now for 10 years (although I work part-time during the warmer months). The bride has stayed fully retired! Figure that after more than 50 years of marriage, a little time apart doesn’t hurt.

    by Edward Wiacek — January 23, 2019

  109. I hunt and fish to keep the freezer full. Even with that reducing cost a bit, it still takes about $450 per month to buy Staples; milk, juice, fruit and veggies, to, paper towels, oil, etc.
    We go out to eat only 1 or 2 times a month so that keeps costs in check.
    I live in a suburb of Boston so prices are always higher than southeast or Western Massachusetts.

    by Oxbowmann — January 23, 2019

  110. Shop st ALDIS save 20 to 50% on groceries

    by Ron — January 24, 2019

  111. If you are traveling and need a rental car, we have found Costco to have some of the very best rates. Checked the pricing against AARP, AAA and many others have not found better prices on car rentals.

    Costco’s eye department has a nice selection of eyewear and can provide all the single, bifold, and transition glasses at a very reasonable price. I don’t believe you need to be a member of the club to use the eye department or pharmacy.

    by Bruce — January 24, 2019

  112. Ron – did U mean to say ALDI? https://www.aldi.us For those interested as 2 their background: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aldi

    by Rich — January 25, 2019

  113. Costco’s also has an excellent hear aid section. When my husband had his ears tested, was told he needed hearing aids & it was suggested he go to Costco’s to purchase. They were the best value, & they have an audiologist who suggested he could have everything done right there. Even the batteries were the best deal around & for a small extra amount he purchased the insurance which gave him a free pair should something happen to his, & he did make use of this. Costco’s hearing aid section always went out of their way to accommodate us when he had a problem with them, some times we didn’t have an appt. & were always taken care of. I can’t say enough about them.

    by Susan — January 25, 2019

  114. As far as credit cards, a couple of the best deals are on Amazon cards — espeically if you are a Prime member and you use Amazon and Whole Foods a lot.
    https://www.chase.com/personal/credit-cards/amazon/earn-rewards

    Costco is better on gas, but otherwise, Amazon blows them away.

    We live in rural NC on the fringe of the RTP area (Research Triangle Park). Due to my wife’s restrictive allergies (alpha-gal plus others) we have very separate diets and therefore higher food costs. Her extreme limitations (no red meat, no dairy (only vegan substitutes) and mostly organic foods) require primarily shopping at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, etc. Add my love for meat and fish from the grill, our monthly food and home necessities comes to about $600 (we’ve been tracking every expense for more than 15 years). This includes a lot of organic pre-prepared and some processed pre-prepared (blame me). With her limitations, we seldom eat out, so that only adds about $500-600 a year.

    by RichPB — January 25, 2019

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