Budgeting Ideas for Seniors Living on Fixed Incomes
Senior citizens who are retired, working part time or are otherwise living on a fixed income may improve their finances by putting a few simple budgeting tips into practice. In this article, we’ll go over some of these ideas and offer some links to helpful resources.
1. Take advantage of discounts and other benefits.
Being a senior citizen may have its drawbacks, but there are plenty of advantages, too. There are numerous businesses that offer special discounts to seniors, although they aren’t always heavily advertised. Many grocery stores offer a “senior day” where shoppers over a certain age can receive a percentage off their purchase. To find out if and when your favorite store offers such a special, simply give them a call and ask.
In addition to grocery stores, many other businesses offer senior discounts. From golf courses to pharmacies to hotels and just about any other business you can think of, you may be surprised to find out how many places you can save money just by being an older citizen.
Check out the site SeniorDiscounts.com to search businesses that offer these deals in your area.
2. Opt for systematic withdrawals.
It’s usually unwise to allow yourself unlimited access to investment funds. Instead, set up your account to make X amount of direct deposits to your checking account per month. There are several different types of funds that allow systematic withdrawals, but you should consult with your retirement planner or financial adivsor before you make any changes.
3. Downsize your living space.
Owning a large home may be ideal when you’re raising a family, but once your children have left the nest, it may not make a lot of sense to continue paying for the upkeep a big home requires. Consider looking into buying or renting a smaller, efficient home that offers less maintenance and lower utility bills. Condos are popular among seniors because they allow the owner to enjoy the benefits of homeownership as well as a low-maintenance lifestyle. There are even some condo communities that are designed specifically with seniors in mind.
You can search the site Condo.com for senior living options in your area.
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4. Downsize your vacations.
One of the greatest parts of retirement is that it allows you the freedom to travel. But if you’re living on a budget, it’s probably wise to keep your vacations modest. And while you’re on vacation, refer back to tip #1 on this list and be sure to ask for senior discounts from car rental agencies, hotels, restaurants and sight-seeing excursions.
Want to try something a little different for your next vacation? Check out SeniorsHomeExchange.com, where users can arrange to swap homes for a short period of time. There are listings all over the world, and many listings offer additional perks like the use of a vehicle. This could save you a lot on transportation when traveling!
5. Use public transportation.
If your city has a good public transportation system, why not take advantage of it and save money on gas at the same time? If you’re unsure where your local bus routes go, Google Maps has a handy feature that allows you to search local bus routes online from the comfort of your home.
6. Look into local nonprofits and government programs.
You might be surprised to find out how many goods and services you can get for free or reduced cost through local government or nonprofit programs. Contact your county and city government to learn about what programs and services they offer. From free classes and workshops to food delivery service to transportation assistance and more, you’re likely to find something that will save you money.
7. Stay on top of debt.
Almost all people have debt of some kind. The idea isn’t to eliminate debt completely, but to use it wisely. If you need extra money and your home has a considerable amount of equity, a reverse mortgage could be a better option that taking out a personal loan or signing up for a high-interest line of credit. With a reverse mortgage, the bank pays you money every month instead of you making payments toward the mortgage. There are certain risks involved and a reverse mortgage isn’t right for everyone. However, it could be a good fit for the right senior homeowner. Talk to a credit counselor, reverse mortgage specialist, or financial planner for more information.
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