10 simple retirement savings

A penny saved is a penny earned.

10 simple retirement savings

The old saying, ‘a penny saved is a penny earned’ is an adage still relevant today. With interest rates low and the cost of living not getting any cheaper, many people on a fixed income are looking to reduce their expenses. The first step should be to budget regularly – but what about other practical ways we can save? Below, NICRI’s Craig Hall lists 10 ways you may be able to save your pennies... er, dollars.

Take advantage of discounts available through government- issued Concession Cards. Anyone in receipt of Government Income Support (GIS) is automatically entitled to a Pension Concession Card (PCC). The PCC may provide discounts on council rates, utilities, car registration and driver’s licence fees; among other things. For those who don’t qualify for an Age Pension but still meet an income test, there is the Seniors Health Card which assists with pharmaceuticals and some other expenses. For those above a certain age (usually 60) and not working full-time, states and territories offer a ‘seniors card’ which may entitle holders to discounts for public transport and other state-based services.

1. To receive discounts, consider buying in bulk, and/or purchase items together with friends, family and neighbours.

2. Look for better banking deals to save on fees and earn more interest. Speak to your financial institution and others to compare fees, interest rates and accessibility. Avoid automatic teller machines fees by using those that offer free transactions.

3. Refer to YOURLifeChoices enews, website and forums for special deals, and to discover what other retirees are experiencing and where they are saving through online forums.

4. Take advantage of shopper dockets and loyalty cards, but avoid unnecessary expenditure just to achieve rewards.

5. Consider funeral bonds as an investment alternative for your ‘final expenses’. Funeral bonds of up to $11,750 are exempt under the means test which may be beneficial to GIS entitlements.

6. Consider energy efficiency in your home. Good insulation; efficient heating and cooling; skylights; energy efficient lighting and solar energy can all contribute to reducing energy consumption and therefore utility bills.

7. Check phone, mobile and internet plans for better pricing and/or those which suit your requirements. Look at your past bills to understand your usage, and shop around for the packages that best suit.

8. Barter where possible. Trade your skills and knowledge for goods and services you require. For example, you might be handy in the garden or in the kitchen, while a neighbour may have worked in the building industry. You may offer to tend their garden in exchange for them patching up a wall or fixing a fence.

9. Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount. The cost of cars, electrical goods and other products are often negotiable and the price shown is frequently a ‘starting point’. Paying by cash may get you a further discount off the price. The worst that can happen is they say no.

Craig Hall is an expert in the financial matters facing retirees. If you require further information please contact NICRI toll free on 1800 020 110, or visit www.nicri.org.au.

Prior to acting on information provided in our articles, the National Information Centre on Retirement Investments (NICRI) strongly recommends you also confirm with any relevant government department details in relation to your personal circumstances.


    To make a comment, please register or login
    23rd Jun 2014
    this is a good list of possible areas for saving, I found recently that by cutting off my landline (which rarely rings except for salesmen at tea time) and going to a dongle prepay, instead of paying a monthly plan, I am saving about $60 a month! I do feel that I am now on an I.T. Diet, but why pay for lots of GBs when I do not use them and now I can also manage my time and usage of GBs much better, I also save heaps by only buying food that is reduced so I never run out of milk (UHT) bread (in freezer) coffee beans etc. Shopping around for food saves a motza!
    23rd Jun 2014
    I actually thought this was a Comedy for a Change ..But soon realized it was Trying to be Serious ??.. All I saved this Month was 8 Bumpers !!
    Thai Traveller
    23rd Jun 2014
    I've found that some countries, particularly China, will give free admission or discounts to Seniors to museums, exhibitions, if you show your licence with birth date on it.

    Conversely, Thailand and Indonesia charges treble or more if you're a foreigner, unless you're a resident .
    23rd Jun 2014
    PS.. Food Parcel Would be Appreciated ..Thanks !!
    23rd Jun 2014
    Can someone please advise on "Funeral Bonds"? I never heard of it.
    Any info would be greatly appreciated.
    30th Jun 2014
    I would prefer to simply pay for funeral expenses now. Funeral Bonds may be a good idea if your life expectancy is way into the future as the money invested hopefully will grow faster than the cost of a funeral. However that is not assured is it? Check with Centre link, but I believe they ignore both under their assets test assessment.
    26th Jun 2014
    I am not a pensioner, but in the area where I live, there is a church organisation which sells very cheap food to pensioners, and also gives freely some basic items. Might be worth finding out if there is something similar in your area.
    26th Jun 2014
    There is Here Liani..And I am thinking of becoming a Customer soon !! When the next Power Bill arrives with Carbon TAX,GST, and (Availability FEE ?? WTF ?? !!)
    26th Jun 2014
    PS..The 3 pieces of Bludging Garbage on the Bottom there are over half the Bill ???
    26th Jun 2014
    Hi Particolor, my access fee is more than my power bill. When I asked what it was for, they said it was for possible work being done in my area.....huh??? What is a Bumper?
    26th Jun 2014
    A Bumper is a Ciggy But !! I was just using that for a For Instance !!..
    I wonder what they would tell Me it was for here ?? Its all underground (The Power Cables) ?? Maybe its for Inspector Rats Cheese when they have to send Him down ???
    But more likely for the CEO's Cigars and Imported Port !!
    26th Jun 2014
    PS.. What a RIP OFF Uncontrolled Country ??... This is a Block of 12 Units and each of us pay $140 a Quarter on TOP of our Bill for Availability, and we are all Pensioners ?? That's $1,680 a Quarter or $6,720 a Year and its only 1 Property in 2 streets here with Underground Power !! I could Light Up Los Vegas for that amount and Still have Change ??
    18th Mar 2015
    Thanks for this tips, unfortunately we all have to think about our retirement even when we are young! So just to make your life easier refer to AssignmentMountain they will help you!
    18th Mar 2015
    Wolverton Mountain !! :-)

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    6th May 2020
    Retirement savings is a top priority for many savers. Saving now for retirement will ensure that you have enough money to enjoy a comfortable standard of living when you stop or reduce the number of hours you work.
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