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Cheap, Cheerful Living: Budgeting Tips for Seniors on a Fixed Income
For many seniors on a fixed income, the cost of living can outweigh our means and threaten our financial futures. When this happens, it can help to make a few adjustments, thus ensuring comfortable living and protecting our bottom line.
When you’re looking to create healthier finances and a more manageable lifestyle, it’s a good idea to plan well in advance, aiming to free up cash and avoid pitfalls further down the line.
- Assess costs: Your first point of action is to review your outgoings and identify exactly where you could be losing money. This means collecting together bank statements from the last 12 months and scrutinizing these for unconscious spending habits and potential overspending.
- Prioritize: As we review our finances, it’s important to find areas of compromise. To help, make sure you’ve written out your priorities clearly and earmarked lifestyle choices that can be dropped if necessary.
- Budget: Writing a new budget for yourself is an excellent way to set the tone for healthier finances. This should include recurring costs, averages for monthly living (fuel, utilities, food, housing, and more), as well as projected outgoings for the future. You can set speculative estimates and also targets for yourself that you know you’ll need to hit if you want to avoid dropping the things you enjoy.
Sometimes, all you need to restore your balance sheet is a few clever tweaks to your lifestyle. Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Identify alternatives: When you have a formulaic daily routine, it’s common to overlook cheaper alternatives when it comes to utilities, food, leisure, and more. Fortunately, the internet gives us a clearer overview of our options and the option to renegotiate contracts or seek out cheaper providers.
- Refinancing: To save on mortgage repayments, it could be a good idea to refinance your property, thereby decreasing equity in your home and freeing up cash or reducing your monthly payments.
- Wholesale: The majority of products we buy in grocery stores, mall stores, and hypermarkets are sold at an inflated price. If you want to save extra cash, it’s often worth cutting out the middleman and buying from wholesale suppliers. Bulk purchases may prove costly in the short term but can save you thousands across the course of a year - better still, these can often be ordered and delivered directly to your home.
If you have things you’d like to sell, an idea for a business, or a passion you’d like to pursue, age should never be a barrier. In the digital age, it’s easier than ever to supplement your income - here are a few pointers to help.
- Online marketplaces: Websites such as Craigslist, eBay, and others can allow you to quickly and easily sell furniture, electronics, and other possessions you no longer have a need for. Just be certain to read up on how to carry out the selling process safely.
- Part-time work: Many employers are looking for extra administrators, writers, accountants, and other help to contribute on a part-time basis. Check your options online and see if you can be of service.
- Entrepreneurship: It’s easier than ever to start a business of your own, thanks to the vast array of online tools. This could not only supplement your income but also boost your mental & physical health, as well as connect you to new people. Consider venturing into consulting, tutoring, baking, or crafting as ideas.
With a few key adjustments, there should be no reason you can’t enjoy your golden years free from financial worry. Whatever your concerns, be sure to plan ahead and take decisive action to prioritize the most important thing - your happiness.
Enjoying Aging is a resource for people who place a high value on Aging Well. For those wanting to stay informed on the topics that matter to us, the 'Fun After 50' crowd, you will find interesting articles on a variety of subjects. Learn more at: www.enjoyingaging.com
A special thank you to Sharon Wagner at seniorfriendly.info for contributing this article.
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