If you’re a senior who has to get by on a tight budget, you know how stressful it can be to worry about money. The problem is that worrying about money can take over our lives, distracting us from what really matters. And if there’s one universal truth about worry, it’s that it never accomplished anything. So why not trade in your worry for action? Start with some simple tips to spend less.
These tips will help you take steps toward stretching your dollar further. The best part is that you don’t even have to make sacrifices. In fact, these simple changes will help you get more out of life and ditching all that worry about money will be like icing on the cake.
Reduce Your Housing Costs
For many seniors, worrying about money goes beyond day-to-day expenses. There’s also the bigger concern about becoming a burden to loved ones, and most often, it’s the big expenses and debt that create this burden. As worrisome as this is, there are actually some easy ways you can reduce spending on these big expenses.
Fixed expenses, like your housing costs, are ones you can’t avoid entirely, but they may not be quite as fixed as you think. For example, making your home more energy efficient is a simple way to lower utility bills. And if you have a mortgage on your home, you can save even more money by refinancing. Refinancing allows you to replace the mortgage you have with one that gives you better terms. There are some costs involved, and refinancing does reduce the equity in your home, but the benefit is that you can lower your monthly payments or even access the equity you have in the form of cash, which can be used for other major expenses you have.
Always Look for Discounts
Reducing your fixed expenses has a dramatic impact on your financial situation, but it’s just as important to find ways to reduce smaller expenses too. These small savings add up, and as a senior, you have one big advantage going for you: senior discounts! The great thing about this strategy is that it doesn’t involve missing out on anything. Instead, all you really have to do is make the most of the discounts and savings that are available to you.
The Balance has rounded up a list of chain restaurants that offer senior discounts, but if you don’t want to be limited to chains, they also recommend checking with any city’s tourism website for local deals. As long as you’re willing to search, you can truly find discounts for just about anything, including shopping and travel. What this ultimately means is that you can stay budget-conscious without having to give up the activities that help you stay connected, or the self-care essentials that keep you well.
Avoid Scams and Money Traps
Of course, being budget-conscious also means protecting your hard-earned savings from scammers. The fact that scammers target seniors is an unfortunate reality that we all have to be aware of, but it’s easy to protect your money with some smart strategies. For example, Consumer Reports recommends protecting your savings by opting out of mail solicitations and using a call screening service for your phone, along with setting up safeguard measures at your bank.
Along with preventing outright scams, it’s also good to be aware of ways that legitimate businesses get consumers to overspend. One example from AARP is how big box stores will use marketing strategies and even configure their store layout as a way to get you to buy more. While this isn’t the same as being scammed, it’s just as important to be aware of these tactics so you can avoid falling prey to them.
Money isn’t everything, but just like the air we breathe, we need it to live. That’s probably why so many people worry about money. The good news is that financial worries can become a thing of the past. With these money-saving tips, you’ll be spending less and living more, which is a goal we can all get behind!
By Karen Weeks, contributing author
We are all working our way through a changed world as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. We may no longer be quarantined or under stay-at-home orders, but everyone is stretched to adapt like never before. All of us are in this together. Now more than ever, caring is what we need most. Caring for our self. Caring for others around us in our communities. Life now demands caring, resilience and compassion like never before. This is a great opportunity to create the world we want for our future generations. We invite you to join us in creating a caring movement!