Seniors who are living on a fixed income often have difficulty adhering to a budget while still living a fulfilled and active life. Because retirement should be one of the happiest and most relaxed times in your life, it always pains me to see seniors struggling with money problems. Here are nine tips I’ve developed to help those on a fixed income live a full life.
⦁ Create a spending plan
Start with the basics—housing, clothing, food, medical expenses, and transportation. Once those are taken care of, add on the extras as the funds allow. Expenses such as eating out, vacations, gifts, and cable TV can be added based on which are most important to you.
⦁ Evaluate your spending
Once you have created your spending plan, take an honest look at the individual categories to see if you can trim those expenses. For example, if you are paying $100+ for cable TV each month and rarely watch any of the channels, this could be an easy cut. You might be able to get away with a TV antennae or another provider like Amazon Prime or SlingTV without taking away from your quality of life. Read my money-saving blog for more ideas on trimming expenses.
⦁ Cook your own meals
To reduce your food cost, cook your own meals. If you enjoy eating out with friends and family, consider inviting everyone to your home for a covered dish meal where everyone brings a dish to share and no one person has to do all the cooking.
Trade your skills and knowledge with someone who has a skill or knowledge you need. For example, if you don’t cook and you want to save on groceries and be healthier by eating home-cooked meals, see if your neighbor, friend, or family member would consider cooking for you in exchange for you completing minor home repairs or watching her children.
⦁ Don’t forget your social life
As we age, it is natural that we lose family and friends. Sometimes this can lead to a feeling of isolation. It is vitally important for our mental and physical well-being to continue having social interactions. Reach out to friends and family and look for opportunities to meet new people. Volunteer work is a great way to meet new people, use your skills, and keep your mind sharp. Look for other social activities that are free or low cost such as walking in the park with a friend.
⦁ Use senior discounts
Many businesses offer senior discounts. Don’t be afraid to ask for the discount if it’s not offered. Some discounts are as large as 30% so it’s well worth it to ask.
Exercising not only helps you be healthier, but it also helps keep your mind sharp. Plus, it’s a great way to meet new people. Whether you go to a gym or walk the same route every day, you will meet people and possibly make new friends.
⦁ Have an emergency fund
The best way to keep your financial life healthy is to have an emergency fund that you can use when you have a major expense such as your vehicle breaking down or you need a new refrigerator. Read my emergency fund blog for more tips on creating this important safety net.
⦁ Evaluate your possessions
Honestly evaluate your possessions and think about what enjoyment they bring you. Perhaps you have some items that you no longer use but that you would like to stay in the family. Consider giving them as a Christmas or birthday gifts to the person who would enjoy them and care for them. Other items you may be able to sell to earn some extra money. My mother gave many items away to family members in the last years of her life. It was a blessing to both the giver and the recipient.
Enjoying your retirement is the goal for everyone, no matter what stage of life they are in. If you have retired and are on a fixed income, consider the above nine tips to minimize costs while still maximizing your lifestyle. Have questions about living on a fixed income? Contact me at [email protected]
Judith Ackland has more than 15 years of experience in accountancy and financial planning, including seven years as a CFO and COO of a diverse business. She started Crystal Financial in 2001 to help a wide array of individuals, families, and business owners better understand their finances and how good financial management could help them achieve their goals. Judith has an MA in Professional Accountancy from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln as well as a Certified Public Accountant Certificate and a Certified Financial Planner designation.Judith Ackland has more than 26 years of experience in accountancy and financial planning, including seventeen years as a CFO of a diverse business. She started Crystal Financial in 2010 to help a wide array of individuals, families, and business owners better understand their finances and how good financial management could help them achieve their goals. Judith has an MA in Professional Accountancy from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln as well as a Certified Public Accountant Certificate and a Certified Financial Planner designation.