How Fixed-Income Seniors Can Create a Budget That Works

seniors create a budgetAs a fixed-income senior, making ends meet isn’t always easy. Fortunately, seniors can create a budget that works. By exploring a range of options, you can find ways to cut costs or boost income, giving you more financial wiggle room. Presented by Money Tracker, here are some tips that can help you get on the right track.

Take Advantage of Programs for Seniors

There are many programs for seniors that can help you stretch your money. For instance, if you’re a homeowner, you may qualify for a senior property tax exemption. There’s also a discount fare program that can reduce the costs of public transit.

Many retailers and restaurants offer senior discounts, either always or during specific days or times. There are also discount programs through certain memberships, such as AARP discounts — some of which may surprise you.

If you’re having trouble making ends meet, look for programs designed to lower costs for seniors. That way, you can potentially reduce your expenses without having to change your spending habits dramatically, making you more comfortable while maintaining your lifestyle.

Remain (Partially) in the Workforce  Helps With the Budget

If you need to pad your bank account, staying in the workforce a bit could be your answer. Check local job listings or work with a staffing agency to find part-time work in your area — as CareerOneStop shows, some websites can even connect seniors with employers who hire older workers. However, if you want more flexibility, you can put your skills to work as a freelancer. With that, you remain in control, choosing projects that interest you and ensuring you can stick to a schedule you prefer.

Consider turning your gig into a full-fledged business if you decide to freelance. By forming an LLC, you limit liability, have less paperwork, maintain flexibility, and potentially get tax advantages. Plus, you can bypass hefty lawyer fees by filing on your own or using a formation service. Just make sure you review regulations for LLCs in New York, as formation laws vary by state.

Take Advantage of Free Entertainment

Chances are, you live within driving distance of a town or city with plenty of free entertainment options within its borders. If you want to have a fun day or night out on the town, take advantage of those options, ensuring you can have a great time without busting your budget. This could be anything from free plays and performances put on by local troupes or even a free guided tour of local attractions, such as a brewery or even a historical site. Public institutions such as community centers and public libraries are excellent places to find free entertainment. Also, spend some time looking around online to find events that appeal to the things you enjoy!

Split Bulk Groceries with a Buddy

While buying in bulk doesn’t always save you money, there are plenty of instances where it does. However, if you’re a senior on a fixed income, affording the larger packages might not be practical. Additionally, you may worry that perishables won’t get used in time, making the purchase wasteful.

Fortunately, you can overcome some of those challenges by partnering with a bulk grocery shopping buddy or buddies. Essentially, as Woman’s Day notes, you’ll find bulk items that you can all use. Then, you purchase the larger quantity, dividing it up among you and splitting the cost accordingly. That way, you all get the lower per-unit price without worrying about the upfront cost or possible waste.

If you need assistance and expert advice on budgeting for groceries and other expenses, reach out to personal budget coach Judy Lawrence of Money Tracker!

Comparison Shop for Prescriptions Helps Seniors Create a Budget That Works

Whether you have insurance or not, it’s wise to compare shops if you have any prescriptions you fill regularly. The price of medications can vary dramatically between pharmacies, altering what you owe. Plus, there are situations where paying out of pocket costs less than using insurance.

Explore all of your local and reputable online options to see where you can get the best deal. That way, you can keep this critical cost in check.

In summary, this two-pronged approach of saving and making more income can help you create a workable budget that will get you on better financial footing in no time. Remember to take advantage of senior discounts, continue working at least part time, buy in bulk, and shop for the best deals on medications. By doing so you’ll also gain confidence!