Live Comfortably on a Budget

| September 2, 2012

Living on a fixed income requires making changes to avoid running out of money.

Seniors are one of the fastest-growing segments of the population, as medical advancements have increased life expectancies considerably. Many Baby Boomers have entered retirement age and are joining the ranks of other seniors on fixed incomes. This means they’ll also have to implement strategies to live comfortably on less money.
The average net worth of individuals age 65 and older was roughly $303,000. This amount is characterized by money in savings, income provided by pensions and government assistance. In the United States, the average income of seniors was around $29,000.
Upon retirement, many retirees are faced with quite a reduction in income and the stark reality of making ends meet with this new level of income. Those who are successful are often those who are adapting and are able to budget cleverly. Here are some ideas to do just that.

  • Set priorities. What are the necessities that you absolutely cannot skimp on? These may include a mortgage or rent, utility bills and any other loan payments that have already been established. These amounts will have to be deducted from monthly income before you will discover just how much money will be leftover for other things.
  • Downsize. There is the option to cut back on certain things to free up more money. Many people find it is wise to sell their home and move into a smaller condo or apartment. Not only will the expenses be less, there’s a good chance the complex will offer maintenance — further saving you on unexpected expenses. Consider downsizing your car as well. Rather than making high monthly payments for a brand-new auto at the dealership, you may be able to get a preowned vehicle for a lower payment schedule. Or you may have enough in savings to pay for the used car outright, saving you the expense of a monthly payment.
  • Consider shopping at consignment stores. Consignment stores are popping up in all different areas, including exclusive cities and towns. Shopping consignment stores no longer carries the stigma it once did. Many times the merchandise in consignment stores is brand new or has only been used once. This could be the ideal place to turn for housewares, clothing, accessories, and even gifts for others. The prices are typically marked well below retail value, and you may find some well-known brands.
  • Shop store sales. With the popularity of shows teaching others how to save big with coupons, many people believe this is the best way to save at grocery stores. However, the people doing the couponing are often capitalizing on buying in bulk and clipping mass amounts of coupons — not practical for senior households. It could be in your best interest to simply shop for the items you buy frequently at the store that is selling it at the lowest price. It may increase the number of stops on your shopping trip, but you can get a really good deal in the process.
  • Get crafty. Sometimes things that are sold at stores for a high price can be replicated at home easily with just a few materials. From tufted headboards to curtains to decorative pillows, chances are with a little ingenuity you can make these items yourself. Or, enlist the help of a friend or family member to assist you in a project that is slightly beyond your level of expertise.

Living on a fixed income can require reassessing priorities and making a few changes to the household budget.

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Category: Articles, Senior Snips

About the Author ()

Barbara is the publisher of People and Places Newspaper which she started in August of 2011. A lifelong resident of Schiller Park, she always felt it important that residents needed to be kept informed about their communities. Since newspaper coverage for Schiller Park stopped about twenty years ago, she made it a goal to bring a newspaper back to the area. She tries to include all of Leyden Township in her reporting and wants to keep true with the mission of the paper to "inform, educate and entertain."

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