Seniors: Making Ends Meet
Budgeting Tips You Can Use
A lower economy has everyone trying to reduce expenses, but it can be even worse for seniors on a fixed income. Seniors are still getting the same amount of money each month but that money doesn’t stretch as far as it used to. Finding some ways to lower monthly expenses can help make ends meet. Financial advisors recommend starting by making a budget.
Make a Budget
Maybe you’ve never lived on a budget before, but now you find that you’re on a fixed income. Start by making a simple budget. List all your monthly expenses. Be sure to include all the categories of items that you pay for or purchase on a regular basis. Now list all your regular sources of income. This will give you a quick snapshot of your overall financial health.
Get More for Your Money
One way to lower monthly expenses is to try to get more for less. Discounts, coupons, and other special options can often provide you with savings. Even small savings add up to provide you with some additional discretionary money at the end of the month. Whenever you shop be sure to learn about any type of special offers or discounts that may be offered.
- Take advantage of senior discounts. Many stores have a special senior discount day each week where senior citizens get an automatic discount just by showing their driver’s license.
- AARP discounts – A large variety of companies offer savings to AARP members. Go online to see a list of the savings offered.
- Inquire about any special deals offered for older citizens whenever you shop. Not all senior programs are well publicized.
- Ask about special payment plans that will help you budget your money. Often if you pay for a year of service in advance you’ll get a better savings.
The sticker shock of senior living might not seem so bad after you know what your monthly expenses add up to be.
Reduce Living Expenses
You can effectively lower the cost of living by following some of these easy tips:
- Switch to CFL light bulbs – they provide the same amount of light at a reduced wattage.
- Install a timer on your thermostat – adjust the temperature at night and when you’re not at home.
- Replace appliances with energy saving models
- Use coupons for grocery shopping
- Eat out less often – when you do eat out, try using coupons for savings
- Unplug electronics when not in use – many devices draw energy just by being plugged in.
Plan Ahead: You want to be able to save money for the things you want as well as for holidays and birthdays. Make a list of your family’s birthdays on a calendar so you know which months you need to save.
Think it Through: Before making any major financial decisions it is best to discuss your plans with a qualified professional.
Separate Disposable Money: Open a savings account where you can save the extra money on a monthly basis. A “Christmas” account is one option that helps you save a little bit each month for buying holiday gifts. Live frugally by avoiding purchases that are unnecessary.
Save for an Emergency: Be sure to keep a special account that holds money that you won’t touch unless it’s an emergency. Talk to a financial planner to assist you in making the best decisions for saving and investing your money.
Know the Monthly Costs
There are costs that we all have to pay monthly. Rent, mortgage, food, heat, electricity, cable, phone and internet are just a few. Add all of these up to calculate your monthly expenses. You may be surprised just how much that number is. The sticker shock of senior living might not seem so bad after you know what your monthly expenses add up to be. These communities provide, within the monthly rent, three meals a day and most of the major utilities including cable and internet in some cases.
Even if you are not at the age where retirement living or assisted living is appropriate, but by analyzing your expenses early can help you plan properly for the future. If you are considering a senior living community and would like to learn more about the senior living prices in your area, call (866) 662-0435. to speak to your local Care Advisor.
SeniorLiving.Net is a free referral source to families that are looking for senior living. Our Care Advisors work with families to help them find the best new home for a loved one.
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