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Clothing and more at thrift shops

If your image of thrift shop duds is populated by rips, stains and fraying, think again. Thrift stores and more upscale resale shops offer clothes, in many cases gently used, for a fraction of what you’d pay new. Hunt carefully, and you’ll see tags on new items that have worked their way down from major manufacturers. Thrifting at places such as Goodwill, the Salvation Army and local spots (Chicago’s legendary Brown Elephant shops come to mind) also offers a wonderful diversion of the treasure hunt variety that extends to all sorts of other items, from backpacks to books. Imagine getting your reading kicks for 90% off or greater than the original price.

Stores like Goodwill and The Salvation Army also offer seniors discounts.

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Buy a budget bike

The good news is that with a majority of bicycles now made overseas, prices for a two-wheel ride aren’t as high as you might suppose. Outroad, Hiland, Nishiki and Huffy are among the manufacturers with models under $300, and getting on your bike is a great way to enjoy sunshine, fresh air and low-impact exercise – while saving money on driving, rideshare or even public transportation. Even if you’re a fair-weather biker in a cold-weather climate such as Chicago’s, you can count on six months of the year where temperatures reliably surpass the low 60s.

AARP Membership

Here’s an investment with a guaranteed return. You don't have to be of retirement age to take advantage of the American Association of Retired Persons' many discounts; membership is open to anyone 18 or older, but you may not be able to enjoy certain age-restricted benefits if you're below the age of 50.

A one-year membership is $16 ($12 for first year with automatic renewal) and the potential benefits number in the hundreds. Some apply to everyday services such as gas, restaurants, shopping and wireless service. Others include discounted car insurance, free theatrical performances, 50% off eyeglass lenses with a frame purchase, and discounts on cruise ship tickets. For the complete list of AARP benefits, click here.

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America the Beautiful National Park Pass

Time for travel marks one of retirement's joys, and with careful planning, you can stretch those dollars even further. The annual pass offered by the National Park Service costs just $80 and is honored at more than 2,000 sites managed by the Forest Service, Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service and more. It's a highly popular item, rated 4.91 out of 5 stars by 1800 reviewers.

Those 62 and older can get the annual pass for just $20 and a lifetime pass for $80.

A cozy, cozy blanket

As we spend roughly a third of our lives in bed (and who knows how much more snoozing on the couch or the patio), a high-quality, snuggly blanket makes that time all the more indulgent. An article in the New York Times Wirecutter section rates some of the best blankets around. Take, for instance, L.L. Bean’s Wicked Cozy Blanket. Per the article: “This blanket would be a great option for someone who always runs cold; my feet warmed up faster under it than with almost all of the other blankets we tested.”

Ahhhhh. Warm, toasty feet. What could be more comfy?

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Lou Carlozo Freelance writer

Lou Carlozo is a freelance contributor to Moneywise.

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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.