How seniors on a budget can still enjoy their Golden Years

If you’re like most older adults over the age of 65 in America, you’re working with a monthly fixed income. This can make it difficult to do all of the things you want to do, especially when you feel restricted by a tight budget. But the good news is there are some simple cost-saving tips that can help you stretch your budget and put more money back in your pocket!

Cost-saving tips for seniors

Flex your budgeting muscles

Dollar Sprout not only discusses how to create a budget, but they also offer a free template that you can use to start working on your budget. There are different types of budgets you can employ. For example, the 50/30/20 budget suggests that you spend 50% of your income on necessities, 30% on wants and 20% on savings. On the other hand, a zero-based budget asks you to account for every dollar of your income. This means that if you have money left over after you’ve designed a budget and assigned figures to each category, you should assign the funds to an item like savings. With a working budget, you’ll be able to reap the benefit of having complete control over your money.

Read more: Budgeting 101: How to create and stick to a budget that works for you

Maintain a balanced diet on a budget

While your eating habits have likely changed, that doesn’t mean you have to eat expensive foods. In this helpful article, Healthline shows a few ways you can eat healthy on a budget by doing things like cooking at home and making use of your leftovers. You can also replace meat with other proteins such as legumes or canned fish. If you prefer to eat meat, then consider buying cheaper cuts. You may also be able to pay lower prices in the grocery store by shopping for generic brands, buying whole foods instead of pre-cut ones, and buying local foods. You can check out the store’s website or the local newspaper for sales or coupons.  

Get your monthly bills under control

At this point, it may seem like you have no control over your bills, but that’s not the case. There are always ways to save! All it takes is a little bit of effort to find cheaper alternatives to your monthly recurring bills.

For example, there are a variety of ways you can reduce your electricity bill. You can switch to energy-efficient appliances, use LED bulbs, reduce your water heater’s temperature and clean your HVAC filter every 30 days. To get your water bill in line, you should regularly check for leaks, convert your regular toilet into a low-flow one and add aerators to your faucets. If your cable is a luxury you want to keep, you should speak with your cable provider about switching to a more affordable package that still has the channels you enjoy. Sometimes, if you call the cancelation department, they will offer you a discount to get you to stay!

If you already have telephone and internet services, look into what discounts you may get by bundling all three into one package. You can also look for cheaper plans, there are so many discounts happening all of the time. 

Then take a look at the monthly bills you don’t need. For example, you can swap out cable for a much cheaper streaming service. Do you pay for monthly subscriptions you don’t use? Cut those out.

Read more: Money-saving tips from a woman who lived on $14,000 a year

Assess your insurance policies

As an older adult, your health may be at the forefront of your mind, and you won’t want to take risks with your health insurance. First, it’s always recommended that you give careful consideration to your needs. If you’re not getting sufficient healthcare coverage from Medicare, you may need to supplement your coverage with a Medigap Plan or switch to an alternative Medicare Advantage plan—just make sure to review the costs of coverage. Additionally, you can ask about senior discounts as well as special programs where drug manufacturers offer discounts.

If you’re still driving, realize that some insurance companies raise their rates for drivers over the age of 65. Since you’re on a budget, you should ensure your current policy is priced appropriately for you. When it’s time to renew, ask your current insurance company about discounts for safe driving or being a long-time customer. If you also have homeowner’s and life insurance, ask the insurance provider(s) about the savings you could reap from bundling your policies.

You have to be careful with your money in your golden years but that doesn’t mean you have to be unhappy. The sooner you take advantage of as many of these money-saving tips as you can, the sooner you can get back to enjoying some of the fun activities life has to offer!

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Alex Thomas