Smart Budgeting Tips for Money-Savvy Seniors
by Hal Salazar @ Elders.Today
Once we retire, our incomes are less fluid, and we may have to learn how to live with less. But, that doesn’t mean that we can’t enjoy our retirement years. There are many different things you can do to manage your budget, pad your bank account, and do all the things you love without sacrificing the mortgage payment.
First, evaluate your financial situation. To do this, start by adding up your monthly obligations. This will include your mortgage/rent, utilities, food, insurance, medical expenses, and other necessities. Then, take a look at what you have coming in and what you’re pulling out of savings each month to cover your financial commitments.
If you do the math and find that you're spending more than you have, it’s time to make a few changes. These might include:
Getting a part-time job. Getting a part-time job in your senior years doesn’t have to mean that you commit to something long-term. You have lots of options, including becoming a freelancer. This means that you take your skills and sell them to whoever you want, whenever you want; not that you go into an office or shop at certain hours
Starting a business. Starting your own business on the side could be a terrific way to bring in some extra income. Develop a business plan that details marketing strategies, your business name and structure, how you’ll get funding (if needed), and more. Explore how to set up a new company by reading online guides.
Cutting out unnecessary monthly fees. If giving up your free time isn’t an attractive option, it’s time to pay closer attention to where you are spending. For many of us, a good place to cut the fat is streaming services. For example, Netflix. Although still more affordable than a traditional cable option, you can save more than $15 per month by canceling your subscription. If you already have an Amazon Prime membership, use that for TV. You can also check with your cell phone service as many offer free subscriptions to streaming media that you may not know about. (Check out Komando for a list of providers that help you watch without a credit card.)
Reducing your debt load and refinancing. Your debt load is the amount of money you owe to all creditors. Unfortunately, even if you can make your monthly payments, interest rates can compound over time, meaning that you’ll spend more than your initial purchase would suggest. If you have multiple credit cards, consider transferring your debt to the one with the lowest rate. Then, you’ll have one monthly bill and won’t rack up interest on other cards. Another idea is to refinance your home. By giving up some equity in your home, you’ll be able to lower your monthly mortgage payments.
Healthy Financial Habits
If you’re still looking for healthy financial habits that won’t suck the joy right out of your retirement, consider these:
Volunteer for fun. Volunteering is a great way to get out of the house while doing something good for your community, all without spending a dime.
Enjoy free attractions in your hometown. If you haven’t lived in the area for long, you may not be familiar with all of the great things you can do that don’t cost anything. Downtown walking tours, museums, and lots of events and festivals can keep you busy all year long.
Spend more time in the kitchen. Want to save money? Learn to cook. Money The Simple Way explains that it’s simply less expensive to eat in, and you may be able to get away with all of your meals for less than four dollars each, compared to a minimum of around $10 at the drive-through.
You don’t have to give up everything you love to keep your bank account from disappearing each month. A few small adjustments to your habits, routine, and budget can help you save big every day. Remember, start by evaluating your spending, and then look for ways to shave expenses off your budget.
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