I've been asking a lot of retirees recently, "Now that you're retired, have your shopping habits changed and, if so, how?"
My mom says that she and my dad have been shopping together more. "I always did all of the shopping, but now we almost always do it together," she said. "It's definitely been a change for both of us, but overall it's worked out pretty well and we probably spend less because of it. It helps to have an extra pair of eyes to spot the best bargains."
Happily retired for almost 20 years, my parents' experience is apparently pretty typical for a retired couple, based on the informal survey I've been doing and based on a number of marketing and academic studies on this topic. A paper published on the website of the Association for Consumer Research explains that retired couples tend to shop more together and often view shopping as a form of recreation, more so than before retirement.
But just because retirees may shop more doesn't necessarily mean that they spend more. As I discussed in an earlier blog post, there is strong evidence to suggest that people spend progressively less - not more - during their retirement years, at least on most everything other than health care.
I suspect that my parents aren't unique when it comes to using their "extra pair of eyes" to help scout out bargains that might be overlooked if either one was shopping alone. I know some single folks who prefer having a friend go along to serve as a shopping "wingman,"too.
I'm interested to hear how your shopping habits may have changed since you left the work force.
- Do you spend more time or less time shopping now that you're retired? If you spend more time shopping, does that mean you're spending more money or using the extra time to find the best possible bargains?
- If you're part of a couple, do you now do more shopping together? If so, how has that affected both your spending and your relationship?
- If you're single, do you tend to shop solo or with a friend or neighbor to help each other try to find bargains and stay on track budget-wise?
Please tell me your experiences in the comments area below, and thanks for sharing your thoughts.