When seniors have a fixed income to live on, they may find themselves living frugally, finding ways to save money, or working to make extra money. With increased medical expenses and other costs going up due to inflation, most seniors are on the lookout for money-saving tips.
As you enter your golden years, what should be relaxing and fulfilling can be stressful due to money constraints. Senior citizens can do many things to help save money as the cost of living escalates.
Not everyone has a large bank account or substantial retirement savings. No matter what your financial situation, there are ways you can cut your costs.
How Can Seniors Live Frugally?
Senior citizens can live frugally simply by spending less money. While that sounds so easy in a time of record inflation, it can be very difficult.
Even if a senior has a strict budget that they stick to, unexpected utility costs and rising food prices can get a budget out of whack very quickly. And, of course, healthcare costs are the wildcard for many seniors.
On a fixed income. using credit cards may seem like a good way to gain access to more funds. However, you will find yourself running short of money if you overuse credit cards. Unless you can pay them off every month, you will end up paying interest that eats away at your limited resources. Consider using them for emergencies only, such as car repair, appliances, or home repair, and then look for financing specials and low-interest rate cards.
However, sometimes there are perks to using a credit card. Many credit cards give you some type of credit for every dollar spent. The Amazon credit card, for example, gives you Amazon credit at the end of each month. If you are using the card for purchases you would make anyway, this can end up benefiting you.
What Are Some Budgeting Tips For Seniors?
You can downsize to a smaller home to save money. Buying a smaller place might be costly in the current housing market, so consider the whole picture. Will you save on lawn care, utilities, or other costs?
2. Prescription Drugs
There are a couple of ways to save on prescriptions, and most pharmacies can help advise you. First, you can ask if meds are available in generics. Second, sometimes pharmaceutical companies offer coupons on certain drugs. Third, sign up for GoodRx or other discount cards that can make some medications cheaper than insurance prices.
3. Healthcare Costs
Medicare supplements may have high monthly premiums but pay for most medical services or have lower premiums but higher copays and deductibles. Make sure to talk to a financial advisor or insurance professional about the most economical choice for you.
Once in the program, try to stay in-network so your insurance pays the maximum on covered services. Try to stay on schedule for recommended services, so annual tests are covered, but don’t put off getting needed medical attention.
4. Avoid Late Fees
Paying bills on time can prevent late fees. If you find yourselves forgetting due dates, set up automatic payments or reminders to pay on your computer.
5. Interest Rates
Often, people are not aware enough of interest rates, which are rising these days. Paying attention to rates on your credit cards can help you save money. If you have good credit, shop for the best rates. Consider consolidating high-interest cards to another that offers no-interest balance transfers.
6. Auto Insurance
Shopping around every couple of years will ensure you are getting good rates on car insurance, especially if you have not had any claims. Call your insurance company to be sure you are getting the best rate from your current company, but don’t hesitate to check online for better deals.
7. Utility Bills
Dressing warmly, turning down the thermostat, and using less water are just three ways to save money on utility bills. Again, it sometimes just boils down to paying attention to your use. The reality is, though, that you need your water and heat and air conditioning to stay safe. You may need to consider other areas in your budget to trim. Take advantage of utility company budget plans if they are available to you.
8. Inexpensive Vacations
You don’t have to quit traveling just because you are on a budget. Consider visiting inexpensive places such as national parks or taking senior excursions offered by groups and senior centers.
Don’t keep paying for subscriptions you don’t use. This includes newspapers, magazines, or apps for your smartphone or iPad. Keep track of renewal dates so you can cancel what you don’t need on time.
10. Don’t Buy if You Can Avoid It
While purchasing books and other things you love is tempting, you can borrow some things. For example, instead of visiting the bookstore, stop at a local library. Even if you use a Kindle or other e-reader, you can get many books you want without even leaving your home.
11. Combine Bills
Can you bundle your cell phone with a family member to save money? An additional line costs less than having just one line.
What Are Some Ways Seniors Can Save Money On Food?
There are multiple ways to save money on food, and that includes everything from groceries to restaurants.
- Coupons: One way to save money at the grocery store is to clip coupons. Although it won’t seem like much, pennies make dollars.
- Generics: Buying generic food is a great money-saving technique at supermarkets. Often you won’t even taste a difference.
- Senior Discounts: Never hesitate to ask if there is a discount for senior citizens. Both AARP and AAA offer discounts at restaurants and other venues, along with discounts on some goods and services.
- Early Bird Specials: Sometimes, you can save money just by beating the rush of other consumers. Registering for an event or eating the meal earlier in the evening can result in early bird discounts.
What Are Some Ways That Seniors Can Make Extra Money?
Financial advisors often suggest working as long as possible to qualify for the highest level of Social Security and other benefits. However, retiring is the not end of your opportunities to earn additional income.
Older adults can make extra money with part-time work. You can freelance in your former career to bring in money. Whether you are working on taxes or doing editing for a publishing company, retirees can often find part-time employment that can be done in the comfort of their own homes.
Depending on your health, you might be able to find work outside the home. Sometimes retailers are looking for someone to work just a few hours a week, or to cover when someone needs a day off.
Renting out space in your garage, pole barn, or house is another way to earn income. Does your family have a cabin that rarely gets used? If you have the ability to clean it after it is rented out, consider posting it as an Air BNB.
Pet sitting can also be lucrative. People like to know that their dog or cat is getting loved and snuggled while they travel. You can offer your services either in your home or the home of the pet owner.
Online sales of things you don’t need might bring in a few dollars. You won’t get rich on Facebook Marketplace or eBay, but you might make a few dollars to fund something you want.
Healthy senior citizens might find they match well as caregivers for others with health concerns. Sometimes the family is just looking for companionship for their elderly loved one. What better person to cook light meals and help with daily tasks than another senior? You can make a few dollars while helping someone.
Sometimes you can monetize your interests and talents. Have you always loved water aerobics or cycling class? Head to your local gym or YMCA and ask if they have ever thought of offering classes geared toward retired people looking for ways to stay healthy and physically fit.
The point is if you are looking for extra income, you may be able to find it.
What Are Some Tips For Paying Off Debt?
Looking to pay off debt?
- Pay more than the minimum.
- Pay multiple times a month if you can.
- Snowball payments. This means you pay off your smallest debt first, then snowball that payment amount into another bill. You can check debts off one at a time.
- Balance transfers. As noted earlier, banks offer no or low-interest balance transfers that can reduce the interest you pay out.
More Money-Saving Tips For Seniors
There are more ways to save money. Once you have eligibility to join AARP, you should do so. They offer discounts on premiums for many things, such as life insurance, car insurance, prescription eyeglasses, etc.
Some medical providers offer discounts for people without health insurance or who have Medicare which may have lapses in coverage. When you make a purchase, don’t hesitate to ask your provider if there are any savings programs available to you.
Some states offer a discount on property taxes once people reach a certain age. That is another thing to look into.
Affording life on a fixed income can be challenging, but if you are creative, you can get the most out of your money.