(BPT) - Nearly one year ago the U.S. economy took an uncomfortable turn for many consumers courtesy of inflation and rising interest rates. Costs for groceries and daily living skyrocketed, the job market became unsteady, and incredibly high gas prices hit communities nationwide.
While some of these financial strains have lessened, many are still looking to find balance and budget-friendly ways to continue to do the things they love — particularly during this time of year when there are many opportunities to gather, give, travel and celebrate. In addition, there are important factors that must be balanced within our finances, such as health needs. All of this can take a toll on your wallet, and even well-being, begging the question: is it possible to experience better living on a budget?
With a little planning and some helpful tips from money-saving expert Trae Bodge, and by taking advantage of your AARP member benefits, you can be both fiscally conscious while still enjoying moments that matter.
“You can be smart with your money and enjoy a stacked social calendar. It just takes being a bit more thoughtful with your choices, including ways to save money or time — or both — when you’re taking care of your health,” Bodge said.
“It’s fun to have a lot to celebrate but feeling like each event warrants another pricey gift can quickly put a damper on the excitement,” advised Bodge. “Remember, gifts don’t have to be flashy or expensive to make an impact. Often, it’s things that are meaningful, offer an experience or serve a purpose that are the most appreciated.”
When it comes to something meaningful, flowers always deliver. They’re also a great way to show you care without having to stress to find a gift. Make your selection by occasion, recipient, color or flower type, or even opt for a plant if it’s more their style. Flower arrangements and delivery may seem expensive, but when ordering through FTD, AARP members automatically save 25% sitewide on flowers and 30% on select items with promo code AARP30. No minimum purchase amount is required, and same-day delivery is available by local florists.
As you celebrate with family, what better way to honor the occasion than with a gift that delves into the history of that very institution? An Ancestry subscription offers access to historical information, billions of records and opportunities to connect with others to uncover your family’s unique story. AARP members save 30% on the first year of an All Access or a World Explorer subscription and get access to records and online tools to search, save and share their family history. If you’re new to Ancestry, you’ll receive the discount on the first year of your subscription, and if you already have an account, you’ll receive the discount when you renew your subscription for a year.
According to Bodge, “A budget-conscious celebration can still be festive. Look for venues that offer deals and discounts or consider entertaining at home. The most important thing is not where you celebrate, but who you celebrate with.”
Gathering at home, whether around the table or in the backyard, is a convenient way to manage costs. You can decorate as much as you desire and keep tabs on food and beverage expenses ahead of time. Use a local caterer or flex your culinary muscles and do it yourself.
When it comes to libations, Naked Wines helps make it easy and affordable with world-class wine sourced directly from independent winemakers. AARP members receive a $110 voucher on the first order of $139.99 or more. Plus, when you sign up to become a Naked Wines Angel and invest directly in the winemakers, you will receive an ongoing benefit of an additional $72 in annual wine credits to put toward wine purchases.
Rather avoid the stress of hosting and clean-up? Let someone else do it. Check out a local restaurant that can accommodate your gathering and budget. Or simply pick a family favorite to enjoy some quality time together. AARP members can save 15% on their check at participating Denny’s locations, for example. You can also have the best of both worlds by ordering to-go* and enjoying at home and still receive the 15% discount.
While you’re busy making the most out of your social calendar, it’s a good idea to also check in on your health. Sometimes, in our effort not to disappoint, we overcommit despite not feeling our best. Take some time to rest and focus on your well-being, especially if travel is involved. If it is, it’s a good idea to confirm that you’re up to date on your latest exams and be sure to stay on top of managing any strict medication regimens you might have.
A check-in with your primary care provider can help prevent, detect and treat any health issues that might arise and prevent you from attending celebrations. If you don’t already have a provider, Oak Street Health provides primary care services with more than 170 centers across 21 states, and also offers phone and video visits to Medicare eligible adults from a team of doctors, nurses and other professionals, dedicated to keeping you well.
If high levels of physical activity, standing for long periods or getting from place to place might impact your attendance or ability to enjoy an event, physical therapy is a great way to improve strength, flexibility and balance, especially after a procedure or injury. AARP Physical Therapy At Home by Luna enables you to receive in-person treatment in the comfort of your own home. Easily find a therapist and make an appointment online; a prescription may not be needed to start. Luna accepts most insurances and Medicare, and AARP members and nonmembers can take advantage of physical therapy access at home.
Finally, go confidently into the rest of this year with the knowledge that you won’t miss a beat, or a conversation. It’s possible to address hearing concerns without breaking the bank through AARP® Hearing Solutions™ provided by UnitedHealthcare Hearing. Members save 20% on hearing aids and 15% on accessories, plus receive an online hearing test at no cost and personalized support through a large nationwide network of hearing providers.
Ultimately, with these tips, you can enjoy better living on a budget year-round. To learn more about ways to live your best life without overspending, visit aarp.org/benefits.
*Offer does not apply to Dennys.com or in-app purchases.
AARP member benefits are provided by third parties, not by AARP or its affiliates. Providers pay a royalty fee to AARP for the use of its intellectual property. These fees are used for the general purposes of AARP. Some provider offers are subject to change and may have restrictions. Please contact the provider directly for details.