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8 Smart Shopping Tips for Retirees

By January 26, 2017 No Comments

A financially secure retirement involves more than building a substantial nest egg. Getting the most bang for your retirement bucks also requires tweaking old spending habits to fit your new way of life as a retiree.

A financially secure retirement involves more than building a substantial nest egg. Getting the most bang for your retirement bucks also requires tweaking old spending habits to fit your new way of life as a retiree.

Adjusting to a new normal isn’t always easy, especially when a little retail therapy is a tempting excuse to get out of the house.

“Many of the retirees I interviewed have the same structure of spending that they did when they were working,” says consumer psychologist Kit Yarrow in an interview with USA Today. In her book, Decoding the New Consumer Mind: How and Why We Shop and Buy, Yarrow analyzes the motivations and behavior of thousands of consumers, including retirees. She cautions that when consumers are anxious, isolated or bored, they may try to fill the void with a trip to the mall.

To avoid shopping pitfalls, here are eight tips for smart retirement shopping:

1. Create a New Budget

Take a step back and look at your priorities as a retiree, including the possibility of scaling back to a more affordable lifestyle. List essentials and factor in the unexpected—like car repairs—and then calculate your disposable income.

2. Stick to your Shopping List

Many stores are designed to encourage impulse buys. En route to the paper towel aisle, consumers may pass by enticing items, landing at check-out with unplanned purchases like a new TV. When you’re gripped with the urge to splurge, try the 24-hour rule. Head home and give the purchase some thought. Many people find that the must-have item seems a lot less essential the next day.

3. Beware of Bargains

Retailers lure in bargain hunters with the “great deal.” For retirees on a tight budget, discount havens such as dollar stores may be treacherous—everything is so inexpensive that it’s a license to stock up.

4. Don’t Confuse Socializing with Shopping

Retirees who feel isolated may head to the store to socialize. Instead, consider more rewarding options that are free—volunteer in your community or join organizations that interest you. Check out volunteer resources in Verve’s membership communities:

5. Don’t Let Stress Drive Spending

Yarrow’s research shows that anxiety can have a big effect on spending, leading to both unnecessary penny-pinching and risky shopping sprees. This is especially true for retirees, who tend to be more anxious than non-retirees.

6. Avoid Making Shopping your New “Job”

Yarrow cautions that tracking down an item or best deal may provide a sense of accomplishment, but the more people shop, the more they buy.

7. Pick a Frugal Shopping Companion

Consider the kind of shopper you’re heading to the store with before inviting this person along. If your friend has expensive tastes, you may end up spending more yourself.

8. Know How to Spot a Genuine Deal

Not all bargains are a spending trap. By comparing prices online, you may find significant savings on everything from airfare to car insurance to housewares. And, continue comparing while walking down store aisles. Use a smartphone app like ScanLife or shopsavvy to compare competitors’ pricing, and then show the clerk. Many retailers will price-match on the spot to win your sale.

Financial check-ups can help you stay on track with retirement spending. Meet with a Verve financial advisor today.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

To determine which course of action may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor.

This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax or legal advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific situation with a qualified tax or legal advisor.

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This material has been prepared by LPL Financial, a registered investment advisor, member FINRA/SIPC.

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