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We all like to try to live a frugal lifestyle, but it seems that the baby boomer generation is far more frugal than any of us.
As Allianz Life points out in their Generations Ahead Study, “Whether it’s their patience in waiting for a sale or their view that saving for retirement is a necessity like food or housing, these financial attitudes and behaviors are helping to set boomers up for success.”
However, this same study found that 64 percent of baby boomers perceive themselves as savers, while 63 percent of millennials think of themselves as spenders. We all deserve to treat ourselves, it just requires finding the right balance between enjoyment and frugality. If you are looking for ways to enjoy yourself while still remaining frugal, keep on reading.
Catch the Travel Bug
Listening to the waves crash as you sip a cool drink on the beach might sound like an expensive getaway, but there are ways to enjoy the relaxation that a vacation brings while also taking advantage of big travel savings. If the price of an airline ticket has you calling the whole thing off, check fares weekly, and sign up for email alerts when the price drops. Should your dream vacay include international travel, explore non-U.S. airlines for a significant discount. Flying isn’t the only way to go through – why not take a road trip? Determine your route and create a budget for lodging, food, and entertainment. Skip the pricey hotel altogether and go camping or rent an RV. Keep in mind that travel doesn’t have to take you far away. Perhaps there is a popular travel spot within a few hours drive for a day trip or weekend getaway, or maybe you have a friend you can visit and stay with to remove the cost of lodging.
You might not be able to justify paying over $2 for a latte, but can you justify the relaxation, calm, and mental health boost of attending a yoga retreat? According to the NY Times, purchasing an experience provides more happiness than purchasing a material item. “One major finding is that spending money for an experience — concert tickets, French lessons, sushi-rolling classes, a hotel room in Monaco — produces longer-lasting satisfaction than spending money on plain old stuff,” the article points out. Plus, spending money on leisure activities provides you with memories a new pair of shoes can’t provide, not to mention the added social interaction. Not sure what experience to buy? Treat yourself to a botanical garden or museum membership, or sign up for a new class you’ve always wanted to try such as pottery, yoga, or fly-fishing.
Fund Your Fun
Being frugal doesn’t have to be a monotonous chore; find ways to make it fun by turning it into a budget game. Search for new ways to spend less on everyday purchases such as clipping coupons, taking advantage of discount nights (including senior discounts), or using public transportation. Use a point system for every dollar amount saved and choose a fun activity to try once you reach your target amount such as a camping trip with friends or taking a cooking class. Whatever it is you want to do, use the savings from your fun fund. However, don’t completely turn from your frugal ways.
As you age, you will inevitably need to save up to pay for long-term care. In fact, according to Mason Finance, over half of Americans 65 and older will require long-term care for at least two years or more due to injury, illness, or a decline in independence. Rather than have to surrender your life insurance policy to foot the bill, consider a Medicaid life settlement so that your policy isn’t counted against you. There is nothing wrong with having your finances in order and being prepared for what life may throw your way doesn’t hurt either.
There isn’t anything wrong with living frugally, but don’t let the number crunching get in the way of having fun. You can travel on a budget and create a fun fund so that you don’t have to forgo living a fulfilled life at the expense of saving money.