Keep learning, price keep connected
By Bernard Freeman
Find Free Education
Do you consider yourself a lifelong learner? Do you find yourself wondering if you could pick up a new skill, buy even later in life? You may be feeling the itch to get more education, hospital which you can do at discounted rates or even free of charge at your local community college or university.
The American Council on Education reports that at least 60 percent of accredited, degree-granting educational institutions nationwide offer tuition waivers for senior citizens. Check with your local community college or university to find out if yours is one of them. Start by calling the admissions office and asking what programs are available for senior learners. You may have to set up an in-person meeting with a college official or counselor to talk through your tuition and class options. Be sure to confirm that your educational opportunity will be free of cost, or at least discounted to a special rate.
Choose a Specialty
Depending on your educational goals, you may not be looking for a full two- or four-year degree. In that case, you can find a variety of “lifelong learner” courses at your local college or even community centers, art studios or fitness centers. If you’re interested in film and cinema, you can search for courses or seminars that focus on the history and evolution of Hollywood. There are also collegiate classes centered on business-building, personal finances, health and public affairs. Whatever your interest, you can likely find a program offering some kind of senior-learning coursework that can help keep you sharp and teach you new skills, or even lead to a second career.
Learning can be contagious, so invite your friends or family members to take some courses with you. Knowing someone in your class can help put you at ease in an unfamiliar situation and give you more conversation topics. If your friends are unavailable to take classes with you, be sure to pass along what you are learning about, whether it’s a new view on historical happenings or an innovative cooking approach.
Stay Safe on Social Media
Have you ever wondered what those “#” symbols mean when you’re watching television or how to “like” a company on Facebook? Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest can help you stay in touch with global, national and even family news with a few clicks of your mouse or swipes on your mobile device.
With 73 percent of American adults using social networks, according to recent figures from the Pew Research Center, now is a great time to jump on board. Setting up a social media profile is easy. You’ll need to provide some basic personal information, such as your birthday and email address, to get started. Given that social media is just that — social — you also will be prompted to give people an idea of your personal interests or community involvement. This type of information lets your contacts know what you’re passionate about.
While social networks are valuable tools for maintaining close connections with your friends and family members, they also, unfortunately, are popular targets for scammers or senders of junk email that can shut down your computer, or worse, find access to your personal information.
Fortunately, with the practice of some basic Internet safety steps, you can keep your profile and identity safe.
Choose Your Network Wisely
It is best to only accept or invite new connections who you already know. There also are options for social networking sites to only allow access to your connections. That way you know exactly who is reading your posts and looking at your photos.
Read Privacy Policies
Watch What You Click
If you receive a message through a social media site, make sure it is actually from someone you know before clicking on any links. Hackers can easily send phony messages that look like they’re from your friends. Reach out to your sender for confirmation if you’re suspicious of a message you receive.
Cut Your Food Costs
Grocery shopping can be a major expense, especially for those living on a fixed income.
Frozen and processed foods may be the least expensive in your grocery store aisles, but they are generally not the best options for your health. You can also scour your local newspaper for coupons and special deals so you’re finding the best offers.
Here are three other ways you can save money at the grocery checkout:
Many grocery stores offer a special Senior Day every month to help you save money on your final bill. If you aren’t sure when or if your favorite store features such a day, call or check the store’s website for more information. Once you find out which store to visit, be sure to get there as early as possible to avoid getting stuck in long lines or battles for parking spots. These are likely on the grocery store’s busiest days of the month, so plan accordingly.
More Work = Less Cost
If you’re willing to put in a little extra work in preparing your meals, you can often find great savings in whole meats or vegetables. A whole chicken usually costs less than a pack that is cut into pieces by the butcher, while an entire head of lettuce will be cheaper — and last longer — than a bag of salad mix. Making choices like these, although they may cost you a bit more time, can help save some cash at checkout.
Before you head out for this week’s groceries, plan ahead. On your list should be plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as grains and foods high in fiber. Make sure your list is mostly free of red meat, processed foods and snacks. Resist the temptations that line the checkout shelves. Candy and chips will only drive up your final bill, along with your calorie count.