in our free newsletter.

Thousands benefit from our email every week.

  • Discounts and special offers
  • Subscriber-only articles and interviews
  • Breaking news and trending topics

Already a subscriber?

By signing up, you accept Moneywise's Terms of Use, Subscription Agreement, and Privacy Policy.

Not interested ?

The nonpartisan Senior Citizens League says these 10 retiree costs are going up the fastest. The percentages are the changes in price from January 2017 to January 2018.

9. (tie) Propane gas

A large propane tank against a red brick wall
Tom Gowanlock / Shutterstock

Up 9%

The rising cost of propane for heating has been burning up retirees' budgets.

Back in 2000, a gallon of propane gas cost $1.01. By 2017, elderly homeowners were paying $2.39 a gallon.

In January 2018, the average cost per gallon was up to $2.60.

Experts recommend that households stock up on propane during the summer, when prices are lower. The cost can shoot higher during a frigid winter.

How to get a free $20 to invest in your future

An app called Acorns automatically rounds up purchases made on your credit or debit card to the nearest dollar and places the excess "change" into a smart investment portfolio. Acorns offers a $20 welcome bonus, immediately from your first investment.

Get $20

9. (tie) Car insurance

Senior woman driving a car
Photobac / Shutterstock

Up 9%

As Americans live longer, there are more older drivers on the road. The U.S. has over 40 million licensed drivers who are 65 or older, 50% more than in 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Senior motorists sure wish they could put the brakes on their car insurance premiums. In recent years, those insurance rates have risen more than four times faster than inflation.

But many retirees may not realize they have fairly easy ways to cut the cost of coverage.

Several of the auto top insurers offer senior discounts based on age, or on whether the older motorist has completed a defensive driving course.

8. Medical expenses

American doctor talking to senior man in surgery
Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock

Up 10%

he health care expenses Medicare doesn't cover — including deductibles, some medical equipment, and dental and vision care — can put a big bite on retirement savings.

Those out-of-pocket costs have taken a big jump, from an average $12,125 per year to a painful $13,304 in 2018.

It's a situation that's likely to keep getting worse.

By 2030 those expenses could be equal to half the Social Security benefits seniors receive, the Kaiser Family Foundation says.

Stop overpaying for home insurance

Home insurance is an essential expense – one that can often be pricey. You can lower your monthly recurring expenses by finding a more economical alternative for home insurance.

SmartFinancial can help you do just that. SmartFinancial’s online marketplace of vetted home insurance providers allows you to quickly shop around for rates from the country’s top insurance companies, and ensure you’re paying the lowest price possible for your home insurance.

Explore better rates

7. Eggs

Carton of twelve brown free range hen laid eggs.
Vicki Vale / Shutterstock

Up 11%

Eggs are a great source of protein and help fight the muscle loss that can occur with aging.

But older Americans who want to enjoy an egg or two at breakfast have been finding they have to shell out considerably more.

The average cost of a dozen eggs rose from $1.60 in 2017 to $1.77 in 2018.

That's not the kind of price increase that goes over easy.

6. Oranges

Senior man choosing fruit to buy at supermarket
Goksi / Shutterstock

Up 12%

We're all supposed to eat plenty of fruits and veggies, but seniors have extra reasons to fill up on oranges and orange juice.

Studies indicate they help keep older brains sharp and fight hypertension.

But rising prices for oranges might just send blood pressure soaring.

Retirees paid $1.19 a pound for oranges in 2017. In 2018, the citrus averaged $1.33 per pound.

5. Gasoline

Senior male hands inserting fuel nozzle in car for gasoline fueling
Kekyalyaynen / Shutterstock

Up 13%

Gas prices spiked earlier this year, thanks to higher demand for fuel and cutbacks in oil production.

Gasoline taxes are part of the equation, too.

Retirees who were paying an average $2.41 a gallon to fill up their vehicles in 2017 were handing over $2.72 per gallon in January 2018, The Senior Citizens League says.

In the summer of 2019, prices are right in the middle: averaging about $2.65, according to auto club AAA.

4. Tomatoes

Senior woman choosing her tomatoes in supermarket
wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock

Up 14%

Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that's good for maintaining brain health and protecting against prostate cancer. It may even have benefits for patients with Parkinson's disease.

And here's another good reason for seniors to buy lots of tomatoes: They contain a lot of water, so they can help prevent dehydration.

About the only downside for older consumers is the rapidly rising prices for tomatoes.

Supermarkets were charging an average $2.34 a pound in 2018, compared to just $2.05 in 2017.

2. (tie) Potatoes

Senior woman holding potatoes at the grocery shop
wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock

Up 16%

Who doesn't love potatoes? They're delicious whether you mash them, bake them, boil them, make french fries or breakfast hash browns out of them, or include them in stews.

But here's what's not to love, particularly for seniors: Taters have been seeing hefty price increases.

In 2017, a 10-pound bag of spuds cost $5.14, on average.

A year later, 10 pounds of tubers set a supermarket shopper back $5.98.

2. (tie) Medigap supplements

Medical background with blue pills and blue capsules
ImageFlow / Shutterstock

Up 16%

Know what's rising even faster than out-of-pocket health care costs for retirees on Medicare?

Here's the answer: premiums for the special private insurance seniors buy to cover those expenses.

In 2018, older Americans were paying an average of $306.64 a month for a policy called a Medigap supplement.

That was up from $264.45 per month in 2017.

1. Home heating oil

Worried Senior Man With Bill Turning Down Heating Thermostat
SpeedKingz / Shutterstock

Up 22%

Seniors who can't afford to retire to the Sun Belt or be seasonal snowbirds have been paying more and more to keep warm — and not just with propane.

Price increases for home heating oil are the worst that older Americans have been dealing with, The Senior Citizens League says.

If you thought the 9% increase in propane prices was bad, just look at what's been happening with heating oil.

The price gushed to an average $3.22 per gallon in 2018, from $2.63 early in 2017.

More: Here's how to boost your Social Security benefits.


Follow These Steps if you Want to Retire Early

Secure your financial future with a tailored plan to maximize investments, navigate taxes, and retire comfortably.

Zoe Financial is an online platform that can match you with a network of vetted fiduciary advisors who are evaluated based on their credentials, education, experience, and pricing. The best part? - there is no fee to find an advisor.

About the Author

Doug Whiteman

Doug Whiteman

Former Editor-in-Chief

Doug Whiteman was formerly the editor-in-chief of MoneyWise. He has been quoted by The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and and has been interviewed on Fox Business, CBS Radio and the syndicated TV show "First Business."

What to Read Next


The content provided on Moneywise is information to help users become financially literate. It is neither tax nor legal advice, is not intended to be relied upon as a forecast, research or investment advice, and is not a recommendation, offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities or to adopt any investment strategy. Tax, investment and all other decisions should be made, as appropriate, only with guidance from a qualified professional. We make no representation or warranty of any kind, either express or implied, with respect to the data provided, the timeliness thereof, the results to be obtained by the use thereof or any other matter.