How Seniors Can Stretch Their Budget on a Fixed Income
Guest post by Sharon Wagner
Image via Unsplash
When you live on a fixed income in retirement, it’s common to worry about making ends meet. At the same time, you may feel the need to cut out the activities that bring you joy but don’t fit into the budget. Fortunately, there are many ways to make your money go further without sacrificing the pastimes you enjoy. Coach Win presents the best ways to stretch your budget so you can live life to the fullest in your retirement years.
Evaluate Your Housing Needs
If you’re a homeowner, one way you can save money is to refinance your mortgage. This option may make sense for you if the interest rates are currently lower than they are on your existing loan, or if you have equity built up in your home that you wish to cash out on. By refinancing, you can stay in your current home, but pay a lower mortgage each month.
Even when refinancing makes sense, many seniors ultimately decide that their home is too large for their needs after they reach retirement. Moreover, a large home is often difficult to maintain, or presents a risk for falling. For that reason, downsizing is a popular option.
Many seniors choose to buy a smaller home that’s easier to maintain and navigate. However, you may also find that a different living arrangement altogether is better for your needs. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are popular choices, but residential care homes are also worth considering. These homes have fewer residents and are typically more affordable for families who are budget conscious.
Take Advantage of Discounts
Once you reach retirement age, you’ll find that you’re eligible for a number of discounts that you didn’t qualify for before. For example, numerous restaurant chains offer senior discounts. Similarly, a number of grocery stores offer discounts as long as you shop on the right days of the week.
It’s worth noting that some types of senior discounts are only available if you have an AARP membership. GoBankingRates points out that while annual memberships only cost $16, it’s important to consider whether you will actually use your membership enough to get your money’s worth.
You should also keep in mind some discounts aren’t widely known or even advertised, so it’s always worth asking to avoid missing out. For example, you might be able to score savings on your utilities or phone bill if you make a point of asking about discounts. Even when there’s not a specific type of discount available, you may still find success simply by negotiating for better rates on your services.
Adjust Your Shopping Habits
Getting discounts is a great starting place for saving money, but you don’t have to stop there. Making simple changes to your shopping habits can also make a big difference. For example, FoolProofMe explains that buying generic brands at the grocery store might save more than you think.
Similarly, when it comes to clothes, you can save a ton by shopping at thrift stores and discount stores. You can often find surprising gems at second hand stores, and the experience can be more interesting than shopping at a regular department store. Buying items of clothing that are versatile enough to work for multiple outfits will also allow you to purchase fewer pieces for a complete ensemble.
Starting Your Very Own Business
If you don’t feel totally comfortable simply drawing on your retirement savings to support yourself in your golden years, you could always consider getting a side hustle going! For seniors, running a side hustle is a great way to keep busy while bringing in extra income. Whether you decide to freelance or turn a hobby into a small business, you’ll need to think about business formation before it’s time to pay taxes. Seniors in particular should take steps to protect their personal assets and save on taxes and looking into California foreign LLC registration will allow you to do just that. You can get your documents together and file through an online formation service to avoid any confusion during this process.
Living on a fixed income doesn’t mean you have to give up a lifestyle you enjoy. By spending wisely, it’s entirely possible to keep eating out at restaurants, traveling and shopping. Saving on large monthly bills like housing and utilities will free up more cash, while adjusting how you shop will help your money go farther.