17 Ways Retirees Can Save Money

Retirement means exploring new hobbies, making new friends, and taking time to do the things you truly love. But retiring also means that you are living on a budget, no matter how large or small that budget may be. Everyone likes to save money here or there, so we’ve compiled this list of 17 things you can do (most of them right NOW) to save some money to be spent on the people and things you love.

  1. Save Loose Change – A dime here, a quarter there. That loose change can really add up! Instead of letting loose change slip out of coat pockets and under couch cushions, make a habit to empty your pockets at the end of each day and put loose change in a jar. At the end of the month, you might be surprised at the extra spending money you’ve collected!
  2. Plan Out Your Shopping Trips – While a day of shopping might be a nice way to relax, it can also lead to spending more than you budgeted! Try to keep your leisurely browsing to a minimum to avoid impulse buys. And when you are ready to head out shopping, remember that Sherwood Oaks provides transportation to local malls. Don’t spend the extra gas money!
  3. Think About Big Purchases Beforehand – Speaking of impulse buys, when you are considering a large purchase, be sure to think hard about whether you really need or want it. Some sources suggest you wait 24 hours to make a decision, while others think you should contemplate it for a month. Judge how long you think about it based on the cost of purchase, but don’t run out the door as soon as you consider a high-ticket item.
  4. Reduce How Often You Eat at Restaurants – Limit the times you eat out to only special occasions, monthly outings with friends, or bi-weekly date nights. You can spend more time cooking at home with friends and family.
  5. Split Shopping Trips With Your Neighbor – Split a membership to a warehouse store like Sam’s Club with a neighbor, then split the food you purchase! You’ll be able to take advantage of buying bulk without letting food go to waste.
  6. Go On Group or Couples Trips – Splitting the cost of hotels and gas money lets you have a weekend getaway without your budget getting away from you.
  7. Take Advantage of Free Events – Pittsburgh always has a ton of fun, free events. Not just for retirees, but for the whole family! You can browse event listings at sites like Living Pittsburgh.
  8. Use Those Senior Discounts! – We previously wrote about the many senior citizen discounts available in Pittsburgh. Take advantage of them!
  9. Use Coupons and Do Competitive Research – It’s no wonder that extreme couponing is a recent trend – they can save you a ton! Browse the local paper for coupons regularly and see who is offering the products you need at the lowest price. Pay attention to which stores offer price matching to avoid going out of your way.
  10. Avoid Late Payments – Pay things such as credit card payments on time to avoid costly late fees.
  11. Regularly Check Your Budget – Looking at your expenses and seeing what you can cut out or reduce is key when it comes to healthy budgeting.
  12. Use Customer Rewards Programs – Many businesses, like Sheetz, Panera, and Giant Eagle, offer customer rewards cards that let you earn perks for spending money at places where you already shop.
  13. DIY Gifts – Are you crafty? Consider DIY gifts rather than costly gifts from the store. They will be both affordable and meaningful.
  14. Go to the Grocery Store with a List – And stick to it! Going to the grocery store with a shopping list will help keep you from picking up items you don’t need. Remember to eat before a trip to the grocery store, too!
  15. Buy Generic – Many generic items are just as good as the original. Try out some generic brands and see if you’re just as happy with a cheaper product. And if you’re not on generic medication, talk to your doctor and see if you can go generic with them, too!
  16. Keep Inventory So You Don’t Double Up – Not keeping inventory of your belongings is a great way to end up with five cheese graters! You’ll save money by not spending money on items you already own.
  17. Make the Move to a Retirement Community – Sherwood Oaks Retirement Community includes a wide variety of amenities that, paid for separately, would cost you a fortune! Review our amenities to get a peek at just SOME of the perks you get when you join the Sherwood Oaks family!

Add Some Play to Your Day and Beat the Winter Blues!

While winter is a time that many spend with friends and family, it can also get you down. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, more than 6.5 million Americans suffer from depression, and many Americans of all ages feel particularly glum in the winter due to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

SAD is a type of depression that hits during one particular season. Lesser versions of SAD are referred to as the “Winter Blues.” Women and people who live in areas with infrequent or weak sun are more likely to suffer from SAD, according to the National Institutes of Health. Luckily, your chances of having SAD reduce as you age, but that doesn’t mean that everyone can always feel the happiness of the holiday season.

So how can you fight off seasonal sadness? By incorporating a little bit of play into your every day! Here are a few ideas to help you beat the blues:

  • Cook dinner with your family or spouse instead of cooking solo. If you want to add an extra element of fun, have a themed dinner night once a week. From a French twist to a meal honoring your favorite movie, the planning and implementation of the meal can be fun for everyone!
  • Take a day trip! There are plenty of things to do in and around Pittsburgh, and we will even provide the transportation. Our buses take residents to cultural events downtown and regularly go to local malls, grocery stores, hospitals and doctor’s offices.
  • Spend the day with a child. They may take a lot of your energy, but spending time with grandchildren or family friends can remind you what it’s like to see the world from a child’s eyes. Take some time to enjoy coloring books and puzzles to bring out your inner kid!
  • Also playful are animals! Visit a nearby animal shelter and spend some time playing with the animals. It will give you the fun of spending a day with man’s best friend, without all of the responsibility!
  • Add a special ritual to your day or week. Do you LOVE spending time enjoying your morning cup of coffee? Make it even better by trying out new flavors or by finding a coffee shop drink that you can go out and enjoy once a week. If you love a particular TV show, start hosting screening parties at your home for friends. Whatever makes you happy, be sure to do more of it!
  • Smile! Studies have shown that even forcing a smile can actually relieve stress.

You don’t have to be somber this season, especially if you’re a Sherwood Oaks Retirement Community resident. Residents always have the option to take part in activities like chorus, handbells, line dancing, ceramics, painting, sewing, book club, bridge, and board games, and we also have scheduled activities such as fitness classes, resident parties, special speakers and musical performances.

Please note that if you do feel that you are suffering from depression, speak with a member of our medical staff.

You’re never too old to add some fun play into your day, so start having more fun now!

Catch a Show This Season!

Although Pittsburgh offers entertaining and unforgettable shows year round, fall and winter are the perfect seasons to visit one of the city’s many theaters for a festive show.

Pittsburgh’s Cultural District, tucked conveniently downtown across the Allegheny River from Heinz Field and PNC Park, consists of six beautiful theaters: the August Wilson Center, the Benedum Center, the Byham Theater, Heinz Hall, the O’Reilly Theater, and the Cabaret at Theater Square.

Located just half an hour from Sherwood Oaks Retirement Community, the Cultural District is perfect for anyone looking to plan a fun-filled day or night out. There are many dining options and retail stores to walk to from the theaters, not to mention a selection of galleries filled with various genres of art.

Sherwood Oaks wants you to enjoy as many events as possible, so we make your trip to the Cultural District and other venues as simple as possible. In fact, we’ll pick you up and drop you off right at the door! We provide transportation to:

  • Pittsburgh Symphony concerts at Heinz Hall
  • Pops concerts at Heinz Hall
  • Operas at Benedum Center
  • City Theater in the Southside
  • The Pittsburgh Speaker Series at Heinz Hall
  • The Pittsburgh Public Theater at O’Reilly Theater
  • River City Brass Band concerts at Carson Middle School in North Hills
  • Pittsburgh Philharmonic concerts at North Hills Jr. High School
  • The Pittsburgh Concert Chorale at Carnegie Hall and Ingomar United Methodist Church

So, which can’t–miss holiday shows and concerts are coming up this winter?

  • A musical version of A Christmas Carol is coming to the Byham Theater, beginning December 6
  • Also beginning December 6, The Nutcracker springs to life at the Benedum Center
  • Elf makes its debut at the Benedum Center, beginning November 26
  • And don’t forget to catch Christmas with the Rat Pack, starting on Christmas Eve
  • Consol Energy Center will host the Trans-Siberian Orchestra on December 7, then Donny and Marie Osmond on December 12

You can view full schedules and purchase show tickets on the Cultural District website or on Ticketmaster.

Don’t forget that you can get entertainment at home with shows and concerts at Sherwood Oaks! Our next show is “Sammy Davis & Friends,” a Rat Pack tribute and comedy show on November 22, 2013 at 2 p.m.

Healthy for the Holidays

Friends, family, and food! These are the cornerstones of the holiday season. But as we age and develop more of a need for a healthy diet, it can put a damper on our holiday feasting. Whether because of diabetes, heart disease, or just for overall health, the entire family can benefit from healthier substitutions at the holiday dinner table.

Diabetics need to pay close attention to their carbohydrate and sugar intake, while those concerned with heart health should look for foods that help lead to lower LDL cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and weight. We went on a hunt for some of the healthiest (but most delectable) holiday recipes out there. Would you consider trying one of these good-for-you goodies this year?

Diabetic Dining:

Appetizer:  Mix together some unlikely ingredients and whip up some Apple-Nut Blue Cheese Tartlets from this award-winning Taste of Home recipe.

Main Course:  Add a twist to a classic roasted turkey with this Citrus-Roasted Turkey from Diabetic Gourmet.

Side:  No matter where you’re celebrating this season, you can add some southern charm to your Thanksgiving dinner with these Southern Green Beans.

Dessert:  These gluten-free Pumpkin Spice Muffins are also great for diabetics looking to take advantage of seasonal flavors.

Heart-Healthy Options:

Appetizer: Bring the tart taste of cranberry to your pre-dinner snack with this Braided Cranberry Bread.

Main Course: Be unique and trade turkey for pork. Try out these Maple-Thyme Pork Chops.

Side: Better Homes and Gardens offers a Heart-Healthy Cheesy Potatoes recipe sure to please the whole family!

Dessert: It’s not truly the holidays without pumpkin pie, is it? Get a little bit extra with this Maple-Apple Pecan Crunch Pumpkin Pie recipe!

Here are some general rules to follow for a healthier holiday season:

  • Look for any chance to reduce the amount of butter or oil you are using in recipes. According to Fit Sugar, avocado, prunes, Greek yogurt or applesauce can replace butter in many baked good recipes. Smart Balance Heart Right Light Buttery Spread is also a heart-healthy alternative to use in cooking and on dinner rolls.
  • Pay attention to serving sizes. The American Heart Association provides a guide for eating in moderation. One serving of cooked meat is 3 ounces, about the size of a computer mouse, while one serving of low-fat cheese is 1.5 ounces, about the size of six dice.
  • Substitute whole grain bread for white bread in your holiday stuffing.
  • More sodium = higher blood pressure. Look for ways to cut salt when possible.

Whether you plan to have friends over, visit family, or spend Thanksgiving and other upcoming holidays at Sherwood Oaks, it is very possible to have a delicious and healthy holiday meal. We serve dinner for both Thanksgiving and Christmas, with plenty of room for residents to invite friends and family. Year-round, we provide nutritious dietary options, including the option of fish as well as diabetic and gluten-free selections.

So eat up!