In this guide you will find 23 home improvement tips that will save seniors money.
In fact, there is money saving advice in this guide that can help almost any homeowner save money.
Professionals from across the country have contributed their advice to help seniors cut costs on their expenses.
You will find everything from exterior home renovations that cut utility bills, to money saving advice on financing and hiring contractors.
If you are a senior citizen or future senior that likes saving money....
You are in the right place!
"When it comes to people, it’s what is on the inside that counts. But for your home, it’s the exterior that protects the life inside."
In this guide seniors will learn about:
- Money Saving Advice for Seniors to Use When Hiring Contractors
- Ways Seniors Can Improve Their Homes Energy Efficiency
- Roof Repairs That Will Save Seniors Money
- Landscaping Improvements to Protect your Investment
- Alternative Energy Improvements for Seniors to Save Money
- Home Repair Financing Advice for Seniors
- Free Home Repair Assistance for Seniors
From professional advice to save money on utilities with alternative energy, money saving strategies for hiring contractors, and even free home repair assistance. This guide covers it all.
I know, it’s a lot to cover!
So let’s get started!
Who is this Money Saving Guide For Senior Citizens for?
Well, of course this money saving advice is primarily for senior citizens who want to save money.
Specifically for individuals looking to build the ultimate money saving retirement home.
However, this article is of course for future seniors as well.
No doubt about it, home repairs take time, and planning ahead is the best course for any action. Therefore, almost any homeowner will find methods to reduce at home expenses by maintaining, upgrading and repairing the exterior of their homes.
This money saving guide for seniors primarily focuses on exterior home renovations and repairs you can make to your home to cut costs on bills, and avoid premature damage to your retirement home.
Truly, anyone can benefit from this guide, as one day, sooner or later if we are lucky enough we will all be seniors.
Money Saving Advice for Seniors to Use When Hiring Contractors
Money Saving Tip For Seniors #01- Vet Contractors Before Hiring
In the modern age, with so much information at our fingertips it can be so tempting to go with the first contractor you find.
But Don’t Do It.
Here’s the deal, as a lawn care veteran having seen and talked with 100’s of homeowners, I have heard all the nightmare stories.
But I am not the only one.
Jody Costello, Founder of Contractors from Hell knows the story all too well. She gives this advice to seniors looking to hire a contractor:
“It has to be said that seniors are an easy target for unscrupulous contractors and hiring one is a sure-fire way to lose money, time and the stress can certainly affect anyone's health but the elderly are surely at risk.”
“So vetting the contractor by doing an online background check on complaints, lawsuits and whether they are licensed and insured is critical. Having a license alone doesn't guarantee ethical behavior and unlicensed contractors are often looking to make a quick buck at the expense of unsuspecting consumers.” -Jody Costello, Contractors from Hell
Jody Costello is spot on, but she also expands on the point by offering one final piece of advice:
“Never pay a large sum of money to start the project.” -Jody Costello, Contractors from Hell
This is so true, although it is common practice for a contractor to request material costs up-front and a percentage of expected labor. It is never a good idea to pay too much up front.
If it is a bigger home renovation or repair project it should be broken up into phases.
You can find more tips from Jody at ContractorsFromHell.com where she shares tips and resources to help consumers from experiencing remodeling disasters and unethical contractors.
Tip #2 expands into other tips to use when vetting contractors.
Money Saving Tip For Seniors #02- Check Contractors References.
Look, conducting the proper background check on any contractor you intend to hire can not be harped upon enough.
The more time you invest in finding the right contractor for your home renovation, the less likely you will be to lose money.
Mike Martin Founder of Remodeling Expense, offers some great advice on how to dive deep into any contractors past with this quote:
“Always ask for references. As a home improvement contractor in Boston, MA. You would be amazed at home many home owners don't follow up on references and wind up spending more money solving the very same issue they started with another contractor."
"Take the time to call one or two references and visit your state’s .gov website and look up a contractors license info - it takes less than five minutes to do to verify if their license is valid. Look them up on the bbb.org ( Better Business Bureau) - most, if not all respectable companies are listed on there.“ -Mike Martin, Remodeling Expense
For more information on hiring a contractor without getting scammed, I highly recommend Remodeling Expense’s guide on How To Hire a Contractor.
Money Saving Tip For Seniors #03- Track the Budget
Besides hiring the right contractor, seniors can save money on their home renovations by keeping track of the projects budget and holding the contractor, and themselves to it.
This tip for seniors to save money when renovating their home comes from John Bodrozic, Co-founder of Homezada.com.
“Most homeowners are over-budget on their remodels and renovations. To avoid this, consumers should create a list of all the materials, equipment and finishes required for the exterior remodel or other exterior landscape projects.”
“The next step is to take the time to do product and brand research. You have many choices for what products you want for your remodel, but there is a huge difference in price points. It is important to understand what the low end, mid-point, and high end selections will cost you. “
“Then you can determine the mix of what you like versus what you can afford.” -John Bodrozic, Homezada
If you want some help tracking your budget John Bodrozic’s company, Homezada has a great application which helps track the budget of home repairs,
It’s no secret, improving your home's energy efficiency and cutting down on utility bills is a great way for seniors to save money.
There are a number of things seniors can do to the exterior of their home to improve their energy efficiency.
Here are some great tips seniors can use to improve their homes efficiency and save money.
Ways Seniors Can Improve Their Homes Energy Efficiency
It’s no secret, improving your homes energy efficiency and cutting down on utility bills is a great way for seniors to save money.
There are a number of things seniors can do to the exterior of their home to improve their energy efficiency.
Here are some great tips seniors can use to improve their homes efficiency and save money.
Money Saving Tip For Seniors #04- Install Energy Efficient Windows
No doubt about it, replacing windows can be expensive. But, in the long run the right windows can literally pay for themselves.
Especially if you have old windows, replacing them can greatly cut utility costs that seniors will face in the long run.
There are many options for windows.
Benjamin Ross of My Active Agent offers this tip for seniors looking to improve their home's energy efficiency:
“Use Low-E, also called low-emissivity windows. These windows are specifically designed to let in less heat escape during the summer and trap more heat inside during the winter, lowering your heating and cooling bills during peak seasons.” -Benjamin Ross, My Active Agent
Money Saving Tip For Seniors #05- Fix all Drafts and Air Leaks
Look, not everyone can afford to replace their windows. But for just a few dollars you can seal up most of the leaks and drafts in your home.
Most importantly doing so can save seniors $100's over the years.
This tip for seniors came from Brett Elron and I'm the Owner and Lead Interior Designer at Barter Design:
“If your house has any air leaks along your windows or doors, you're essentially throwing money out the window! Whether you're running the heat during the Winter or trying to cool your home during the Summer, outdoor temperatures are trying to make your way into your home.”
“By sealing your windows and doors with an insulation kit or installing new energy efficient windows and doors, you'll help to keep your internal temperature inside, and the outdoor temperature outside!” -Brett Elron, Barter Design
Simply put sealing off the air from outside of your home can greatly reduce your homes energy costs.
It gets better, Brett followed up with one more tip on the importance of sealing your fireplace:
“Although fireplaces can be a lifesaver in the Winter, they can also cost you some money when they aren't in use! Because fireplaces are of course attached directly to the outdoors, if they aren't properly sealed when not in use, then you are wasting energy as the cold air is seeping in.” -Brett Elron, Barter Design
Seriously, if you don’t use your fireplace, you are losing a lot of heat through your roof. Heat rises, and that chimney that can keep your home warm when in use, is a vacuum which can suck warm air from your home.
Money Saving Tip For Seniors #06- Add More Insulation
Simply put, insulation is a key to keeping energy in your home.
Especially if you are a senior living in colder climates a little extra insulation can make a huge difference.
This money saving tip comes to senior citizens from Robert Taylor, The Real Estate Solutions Guy:
“Poor insulation and leaks can cost you hundreds of dollars a year by letting energy escape from your home.”
“Lastly, consider adding more insulation to your home. Many older homes have much less thermal insulation than is recommended by today’s standards. Adding insulation to your attic is relatively cheap and can be done by a handyman for around a $1-$2 a square foot.” -Robert Taylor, The Real Estate Solutions Guy
Robert offers more advice on often overlooked home repairs on his website that are worth checking out!
Money Saving Tip For Seniors #07- Use Composite Cladding
This one was new to me.
Composite cladding is often used for decking material nowadays, but it can also be used for siding.
This tip came from Matt Daigle, CEO and Founder of Rise:
“Composite cladding. This exterior cladding is extremely economical, looks great and is low maintenance.” -Matt Daigle, Rise
It's true, composite siding is tough stuff, and it’s even thick enough to act as an additional layer of insulation for your home.
Most Importantly it can last a very long time!
Roof Repairs That Will Save Seniors Money
Some of the most important improvements that can be made to the exterior of your home involve the roof!
Having the right roof on your home can mean the difference between a livable space and a derelict home.
"If your roof is not protecting your home and holding in your homes energy properly, you are losing money."
Due to the importance of your homes roof and the impact it can have on your retirement home, we simply had to make a section dedicated to roof improvements!
Money Saving Tip For Seniors #08: Install Metal Roofing
No doubt about it, we have come a long way since the first roofing materials such as sod. In fact, not that long ago, wooden shingles were commonly used as roofing material.
However, one of the longest living roofing materials is all too often overlooked.
This home improvement tip for seniors was brought to us by Todd E. Miller President of Isaiah Industries:
“In my experience, many seniors are concerned about the ongoing operating costs of their homes. Being on a fixed income, seniors want to control future utility and maintenance costs. They also do not want to have to worry about maintenance / replacement costs as they age.” -Todd E. Miller, Isaiah Industries
“Metal roofing is one of the fastest growing areas of residential home improvement. Metal currently has a 13% share of the roofing market, up significantly in recent years.” -Todd E. Miller, Isaiah Industries
So why does he recommend metal roofing to seniors so admittedly?
Well it’s simple. Here is what he had to say:
“For seniors, metal roofs offer:
Sustainability – maintenance-free life expectancy of 50+ years for a quality metal roof.
Lower utility costs by reducing summer attic heat gain and subsequent air conditioning loads.” -Todd E. Miller, Isaiah Industries
Seriously, you can’t beat a 50 year lifespan when it comes to your roof. Even if you get your roof re-done before your senior years, you can trust that it will last as long as you need it to.
Todd Miller can be at found his site www.asktoddmiller.com.
Money Saving Tip For Seniors #09: Install Skylights
Another great way for seniors to save money on their retirement home is to install skylights.
This method for seniors to save money came to us from Mason Stout of Senior Leaf:
“Skylights can substantially reduce power bills over months and years by reducing the use of daytime lights. Many seniors have failing eyesight and need a lot of light to read or go about their activities. By bringing more natural light into their homes they can rely less on lamps and ceiling lights.” -Mason Stout, Senior Leaf
It’s true, skylights can greatly reduce the cost of lighting in a home.
But that is not all. South facing skylights can reduce heating costs in the winter by allowing more solar heat to enter your home.
Money Saving Tip For Seniors #10: Install Roof Vents & Fans
As if those roof improvements weren’t enough, there are still a few more exterior improvements seniors can make to cut utility costs and save money.
Here is one more money saving tip!
Mason Stout followed up with this second tip for seniors:
“Proper roof ventilation will reduce heat in your attic. This can help keep your home cooler during the hot summer months. Reducing attic heat also helps prolong the life of your roof, which reduces its overall cost per year.” -Mason Stout, Senior Leaf
Landscaping Improvements To Protect your Investment
Look, if it one thing we know at GreenPal it is all about landscaping improvements.
From the beginning of spring to the depths of winter, there are endless tasks that need to get done around the landscape.
Worst of all, not handling your landscape properly can lead to costly problems down the road.
For seniors looking for ways to save money on their long term housing, caring for the lawn and landscape can not be overlooked.
If you want your home to last through retirement and your golden years, there are a few things that must be done to prevent premature damage to your home.
In fact, landscape improvements have a high rate of return on your investment.
According to Austin Weyenberg of The Logic of Money:
"Updating or improving your landscaping will on average return 100 percent of your investment. It will also make your home more appealing and welcoming." -Austin Weyenberg of The Logic of Money
So, what are some landscaping improvements that seniors should invest in? Let's take a look!
Money Saving Tip For Seniors #11- Maintain a “no-grow zone”
It’s true, having trees on your property not only provides a feeling of security, they can help you maintain your property value.
However, you want to be sure that there is no vegetation rests against your home.
This tip comes from Derek Gaughan from his company Bug Lord:
“Maintain a strict vegetation "no grow zone" of 2-3 feet around your home's exterior." -Derek Gaughan, Bug Lord
"By preventing grass, weeds, and tree limbs from creeping up to your house, you'll make it more difficult for pests like ants, squirrels, raccoons, and more from getting access to your home and starting an infestation.” -Derek Gaughan, Bug Lord
Just like Derek said, maintaining a no grow zone around the perimeter of your home is essential to protect it from pest and rodent infestations.
It is also important to keep fallen leaves from the base of your home for the same reason.
Money Saving Tip For Seniors #12- Consider Using Cedar Mulch
Although the first landscaping tip for seniors to protect their homes will go a long way in preventing infestations, it's not the only way.
There are many more things that can be done as well.
Derek Gaughan actually followed up with a second tip, here is his advice to seniors:
“Bugs like ants, termites, and cockroaches and repelled by cedar wood chips which makes them getting into your home less likely.”
A little bit of yard work is much more cost efficient and less aggravating than dealing with a pest infestation in your home! Some pests can take weeks to get rid of and multiple visits from an exterminator.” -Derek Gaughan, Bug Lord
If you do use cedar mulch, be sure to apply it once a year.
Money Saving Tip For Seniors #13- Consider Xeriscaping
If you are looking to save money on landscape maintenance, one of the best ways is to switch your lawn from a grass based lawn to a xeriscape.
Xeriscapes are incredibly low-maintenance landscapes primarily made up for rock features and drought-tolerant plants like cacti and succulents.
They do cost a bit to install, but once installed, they require minimal maintenance adn may be ideal for a frugal senior citizen.
This tip came to use from Benjamin Ross of My Active Agent:
“Changing your landscape from grass to rock can save you big on water and maintenance. Even by partially changing your landscape, you will notice reductions in monthly costs.” -Benjamin Ross, My Active Agent
Money Saving Tip For Seniors #14- Energy Efficient Outdoor Lighting
For senior citizens outdoor lighting can be essential for safety.
And when it comes to energy efficiency, there are a few ways seniors can cut costs with their outdoor lighting.
The following tips on updating your outdoor lighting come from Matthias Alleckna, energy analyst at EnergyRates.ca:
“Because they're not as frequently used as their indoor counterparts, people usually forget to upgrade their outside lights to LEDs. LEDs use on average $4 less a year than incandescent bulbs, and also come in warmer or cooler shades for your preferences. If it's in an area that you don't use as frequently, consider getting a motion sensor switch for them as well, so that you never leave the lights running after forgetting to turn them off.”
“This can also increase your safety, as you won't have to wonder through your yard in the dark, and it can alert you when something enters your backyard." -Matthias Alleckna, Energy Rates Ca
If you are looking for more tips on maintaining your landscape, check out these articles:
Alternative Energy Improvements for Seniors to Save Money
Alternative energy is all the rage these days, and it seems like everyone is talking about it.
However, alternative energy can be a terrible investment if you don’t go about it the right way, the following tips and advice for seniors to cut costs on their retirement home is tailored to discuss the topic of alternative energy.
According to Abe Fouhy who has been in renewable energy for 22 years.
As long as you have the land, wind solar and other alternative energies can be great ways to eliminate electric costs.
Here was what Abe Fouhy had to say:
“It is really broken into those who have land and not, those with land can capture wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and hydro while those in most cities can only do solar. In any of these cases you can save up to 100% on your utility bill.”
“The government and utilities incentivizes/subsidies these energies to increase our renewable energy portfolio, so most can get into their systems for 0 down and a total cost of around $6,000, but the savings pay for the monthly payments. Larger systems can get up to 70% of their total system cost paid for.” -Abe Fouhy, Clackamas Community College
Abe Fouhy now teaches at Clackamas Community College in the Renewable Energy Program.
Money Saving Tip For Seniors #15: Consider Geothermal
I became curious about geothermal heating for seniors when I saw the video above about a retiree in Nebraska that grows tropical trees using the earth’s heat.
Geothermal can be expensive, but if done right it does not have to be that costly.
However, it may not be a practical solution for all seniors to save money.
Dave Miller, an HVAC Technician with Heat Talk had this to say about seniors using Geo-thermal:
“Although the upfront costs associated with the installation of a geothermal heat pump can be significant, it can immediately save you as much as 60 per cent on your heating and 50 per cent on your cooling costs in comparison to traditional heating and cooling systems.In addition, these systems have an incredibly long life, with the components being able to serve the average property for as long as 25 years.”
“On top of that, these systems require very little maintenance. With that said, due to the geothermal systems only offering a reduction in consumption, the return on investment is only really worthwhile for larger properties.Instead, it is much more worthwhile for owners of moderately-sized properties to invest in heat retention measures instead.” -Dave Miller, Heat Talk
Solar Power For Your “Retirement” Home
Solar is easily the hottest of all the alternative energy solutions for homeowners, but solar isn’t for every home.
Choosing the right solar options can save seniors up to 100% of your energy costs for the life of your retirement home and it can protect your from future rate hikes.
Be warned solar power isn’t always a cut and dry investment, so here are some tips from solar professionals to help seniors and future seniors understand their options.
Money Saving Tip For Seniors #16: Determine the validity of solar for your home
Solar may not be right for everyone, but here is some advice on determining if solar is right for you, or your senior family member.
This tip comes from Mike Flahee, Owner and CEO of Marygrove Awning Co.:
“Many retirees are trying to find ways to save money where they can and, in some cases, utility bills can be a great help. I personally lean towards solar power."
"There are a couple of things that make it really easy to determine if solar panels are something that will work for you.”-Mike Flahee, Marygrove Awning Co
“Solar sounds really safe because, after all, we all get sunlight, right? Well, there are actually many factors that can affect how well solar will work for you. For one, you can get an impact estimate based on your address at www.solar-estimate.org” -Mike Flahee, Marygrove Awning Co.
Money Saving Tip For Seniors #17: Check for Tax Breaks on Solar
Surprisingly there are still tax breaks for solar too!
Mike Flahee provided this tip as well, on how to check for programs to save money on solar in your area.
“The initial cost of solar can be high but there are many programs in place to offset those costs with tax breaks. You can figure out if there are any programs available in your area by checking out www.dsireusa.org and putting in your zip code.” -Mike Flahee, Marygrove Awning Co
Home Repair Financing Advice For Seniors
This wouldn’t be the ultimate guide to home improvement tips to help seniors save money, without covering how to cut costs when financing projects.
I just had to add in a great piece of advice given by Raf Howery the Founder and CEO of Kukun:
"Remodeling your home as a senior is intended to make your life better and easier and not necessarily to make it into an economic investment. However, you should also be mindful of your ability to sell the house one and recover the costs once that time comes." -Raf Howery, Kukun
"If you super customize it (your home) to being a home for seniors, you will reduce the number of people who would be interested in buying it." -Raf Howery, Kukun
I love this point. Seniors looking to improve their home may want to be mindful of their ability to resell it in the future.
Instead Raf suggest that you break up home improvements into to 2 categories; basic improvements, general infrastructure and to recognize that changes to the general infrastructure like elevators will likely lower a home's resale value. While basic improvements like wider doorways will actually be a bonus when selling the home.
Without further ado, here are a few tips on how to save money when financing any home repairs.
Money Saving Tip For Seniors #18: Renovate Earlier Than Later and DIY
Planning ahead is one of the best ways for seniors and future seniors to save money on their golden year homes.
In fact, planning ahead and making the perfect retirement home ahead of time is a great way to cut costs. Especially if you can manage some of the repairs yourself.
This tip comes from Brian Davis, a real estate investor and co-founder at SparkRental.com:
“I would urge older adults thinking about age-in-place home renovations to make them sooner rather than later, and preferably before they retire. Borrowing money is far easier when you’re working a full-time job, rather than retired. And the younger you make the renovations, the easier it is to manage them. You may even be able to do some of the repairs yourself – what’s practical for a 60-year-old is very different than what’s practical for an 80-year-old.” -Brian Davis, Spark Rental
Money Saving Tip For Seniors #19: Borrow Early
Renovating early isn't the only way to save money on home repairs, borrowing early is another great method for seniors to cut cost when improving their homes.
Brian Davis continued his advice for seniors when financing their renovations. This is what he had to say:
“For financing, try to avoid borrowing against your home if at all possible. Many borrowers fixate on interest rate, and object that interest rates are lower for mortgages and HELOCs than credit cards or personal loans. But interest rate doesn’t tell the whole story; loans secured against your home come with massive closing costs, in the thousands of dollars.” -Brian Davis, Spark Rental
“Beyond being easier to get financing while you’re still working, it’s also easier to pay the loan back quickly. And the faster you pay the loan back, the less interest you pay.” -Brian Davis, Spark Rental
Free Home Repair Assistance for Seniors
Don’t worry, if you are already in your retirement home, and weren’t able to make renovations ahead of time. Maybe you are even out of money of update your home.
Good news! There are many programs available that can help seniors update their homes at a discounted cost. In fact, there are quite a number of programs that offer free home repair assistance to seniors.
The following tips will help seniors find low cost and free home repair assistance.
Money Saving Tip For Seniors #20: Check with Medicare
This is shocking but medicare and health insurance may help seniors cover some of the costs of repairing their homes.
This tip comes from Igor Mitic co-founder, and editor-in-chief at Fortunly, here is what he had to say:
“My advice would be to check with your Medicare and private health insurance coverage and find out which renovations are covered based on medical need. This way you can prioritize your home renovations and budget accordingly.”
“This can include everything for installing non-slip floors to accessibility features such as a wheelchair ramp. For renovations that aren't covered by insurance, you can try to find grants and loans for seniors that will help you finance them.” -Igor Mitic, Fortunly
Money Saving Tip For Seniors #21: Check for federal grants and low-interest loans
Of course, there are many federal, and even state grants and programs which seniors can take advantage of.
Igor from Fortunly had this advice for seniors looking for loans and grants:
“There are many federal grants and loans available for seniors, but eligibility varies based on income and geographical area. Low-income families can benefit from visiting the hud.gov website to find programs in their local area. There are also federal and state repair grants available for seniors, including weatherization grants in some states.”
“These grants are aimed at helping make your home more insulated and energy-efficient, which will help you save on electricity and make your home more eco-friendly. For more information on low-interest loans and grants, you can check the Eldercare websites here: eldercare.acl.gov.” -Igor Mitic, Fortunly
Money Saving Tip For Seniors #22: Give a friend/family member power of attorney
Unfortunately, there are a lot of people looking to take advantage of senior citizens. From phone scams, to bad actors seniors are a prime target for scams.
Igor from Fortunly had this advice for seniors to avoid scams:
“Finally, I would recommend giving a family member or trusted friend power of attorney to help you during this process. Many seniors are victims of financial fraud, and especially when it comes to home renovation and construction, it's good to have another pair of eyes to ensure you are getting the best deal.” -Igor Mitic, Fortunly
One Final Tip:
Money Saving Tip For Seniors #23: Consider renting your property to save money
One great way to help seniors make it through their retirement years is to purchase an investment property that will allow them to rent out a space. Whether you purchase a home with an in-law suite, a spare rental room, or a duplex.
"Having a rental property can be a great source of income which will finance any home repairs seniors may experience down the road."
The days of long term 6-month and 12-month leases have past. Of course those may be great options, but nowadays with great vacation rental sites like AirBnB, VacationRentals and Trulia allow you to rent out that extra space all year round. Best of all, you will still maintain the freedom of having your property available on the holidays for friends and family.
Purchasing a home with a rental property, or adding a rental property on can be an excellent investment for seniors to save/invest in their retirement property.
To Wrap it up
Seniors and future seniors carry a lot of responsibility when it comes to maintaining their homes during their retirement years. Hopefully, this guide will help you, your friends or family save some money during their golden years.
And if any of these tips rang a bell with you be sure to check out the sites of the many professionals that helped construct this ultimate guide for more information.
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