4 Simple Budgeting Tips for Seniors
If you are entering your golden years and find yourself living on a tight budget, chances are you are not alone. A 2016 retirement survey revealed that many seniors are living on slightly over $30,000 a year, with a considerable percentage of those in their 70s scraping by on less. Health care costs, the rising cost of living, and housing issues can all make living comfortably as a senior challenging. However, there are a few financial strategies you can use to stretch your budget and pad your savings account, even when you are living on a fixed income.
1. Revise Your Current Budget
You may be wasting money within your current budget if some financial conditions have changed in the past few months and you neglected to adjust for them. If it has been more than six months since you have reviewed your household budget, take the time to sit down with your spouse or whoever may be assisting you with your finances. Revise for new or changed monthly bills, look for income gaps, and note where you might be able to cut expenses, such as buying fresh ingredients at the local farmer’s market to make meals at home instead of eating out.
2. Budget Proactively
If you find yourself short on cash at the end of each month, then proactive budgeting may help you spend more wisely. This type of budget plan can help you focus on where your money is going by planning your spending ahead of time. Start at the beginning of the month and track how and where you spend your money each day. Keep a detailed report, and by the end of the month, you can compare what you spent versus the plan you made at the start of the month and adjust accordingly.
3. Borrow Instead of Buy
If your entertainment expenses are taking a considerable chunk of your income, consider becoming an expert borrower instead of buying books and movies. Start a movie lending club at your local senior center or ask your family members if they are willing to split the monthly cost of an inexpensive streaming service. If you enjoy reading, find out how to borrow e-books and visit your local library instead of the bookstore. You may be surprised how much you can save without having to miss out on blockbuster films or bestselling novels.
4. Pad Your Budget With Senior Discounts
Many companies offer discounts for seniors and taking the time to search out those that best suit your budget can add up to considerable savings. For example, your utility company may offer reduced rates for seniors, and many phone companies have economy plans that may reduce your monthly bill. If you still drive, you may want to contact your local insurance agent and inquire about discounts for senior drivers and whether you qualify. These discounts can add up to noticeable savings and help you stretch your budget when you have a tight month.
Living on a fixed income as a senior citizen can be challenging. However, when you take the time to create an effective budget and learn how to take advantage of the discounts offered to you, living comfortably can become a reality instead of a desire.