When you’re living on a fixed income you really do have to have your wits about you, and always be on the lookout for clever ways to make every cent count. And while we’ve all got our own saving methods, Ilona Richards takes it to the next level.
The 67-year-old former truck driver is the author of the highly popular blog Life After Money, and might just have a claim to the title – world’s most money savvy senior.
Ilona is constantly updating her blog with new, clever ways to save in retirement and manages to enjoy a rich, fulfilled life on less than $5,000 a year. But what’s her secret?
We’ve put together six of Ilona’s most interesting money saving measures. While some of these are out of left-field, you can’t deny that she’s very effective.
1. Wearing men’s underwear
In Ilona’s words, men’s underwear is cheaper and lasts much longer, “It’s true, I have been wearing boys and men’s pants for years, some of them have lasted up to ten years. Women’s’ knickers stretch, they go baggy, the elastic comes off and the lace comes adrift, in no time they will look tatty. Buy men’s pants, give it a try.”
2. Cut your own hair or go to the local hair college
If you’re afraid of being your own barber, Ilona suggests, “Contact your local college. The students will give you a trim for a knockdown price. Don’t worry, you will not come out with a higgledy piggledy hairstyle, there are supervisors present to watch the trainees at work. If necessary they will tidy up your hair before you leave the premises.”
3. Only go shopping at night
When it comes to saving money on your shop, timing is everything. Ilona suggests, “Go supermarket shopping between 5pm and 9pm when they reduce prices of goods on their last date. The closer you go to 9pm the cheaper they will be, but you take a chance on whether there is anything left… You have to be prepared to take whatever is on offer and not be too picky.”
4. Only brush your teeth (with toothpaste) once a day
Now this is one of Ilona’s more controversial suggestions! She believes you should, “Only use toothpaste once a day, in the morning to freshen your mouth. You don't need to squirt loads onto your brush, just a small amount. You can brush your teeth several times throughout the day with just water. It's removing the remains of your food which is important, and not leaving it to rot between your teeth causing decay.”
5. Make every meal count
Leftovers is the key to cutting down on food expenses, according to Ilona, “If you live alone scrape every last bit of food out of the pan, then use it again for the next meal. Cuts down on the washing up, saves money on heating the water and wash up liquid.”
6. Make use of rainwater
Ilona also suggests that you, “Collect rainwater for washing the car and watering plants. Get some water butts, collect water in any plastic containers you have. Using tap water to wash a car is wasteful and will cost you if you are on a meter.”
What do you make of Ilona’s tips? Are there any you might think about adding to your money-saving arsenal? Let us know in the comments section below.