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Living on a Fixed Income by Karen Weeks

Living on a Fixed Income? These Tips Will Help You Cut Costs While Living Large

Everyone loves a good bargain, and seniors are no exception. So why do so many seniors overpay for household goods and services while living on a fixed income? The truth is, many seniors are unaware of ways they could be saving money on things they already pay for.

If you’re looking for ways to live better on a fixed income, try these money-saving strategies that won’t hurt your quality of life.

Look for an affordable phone plan

Phone service can get expensive, but with a little research, you can usually find an unaffordable option, whether you are looking for a home phone or a mobile device. You may also qualify for discounted phone service depending on your income. AT&T explains that many individuals qualify for discounted phone service through Lifeline, a program sponsored by the federal government.

Swap cable for streaming

Do you have access to hundreds of channels through your TV provider, but only watch a handful? You probably feel like you’re stuck with your high cable bills and bloated channels, but there are ways to spend less while getting the programs you want. Compared to cable, which can cost upwards of $100 a month, streaming libraries like Hulu and Netflix start under $10 while live TV streaming starts around $20. To watch streaming on your TV, all you need is an internet connection and a streaming device.

Save money on groceries

Forget clipping coupons. Apps make it easy to save money at the grocery store by letting shoppers access digital coupons and cashback rewards. Some of the most popular grocery apps include Ibotta, which offers cashback rewards from stores like Costco, Kroger, Safeway, and Walmart, and Flipp, which finds the best deals on your favorite products and links them with coupons to get you the lowest price.

Take advantage of your local library

Seniors patronize public libraries less than their younger counterparts, but that may be because they don’t know all the cool things that are available for free through the library. In addition to books and e-books, libraries loan musical instruments, household tools, recreation equipment, museum passes, and even seeds for your garden. Not all libraries are the same, so check with yours to find out what’s available to borrow.

Save on home expenses

Remodeling your home for energy-efficiency is a smart call if high energy bills are hurting your budget. However, there are also low-cost ways to improve your home’s energy efficiency. Installing a programmable thermostat, replacing incandescent light bulbs with LEDs, and sealing gaps around doors and windows are a few affordable ways to save money on utility bills. Seniors can also use power strips or smart plugs to turn off electronics when not in use and avoid energy vampires.

If your monthly mortgage payments are too high, you may want to consider selling your home and downsizing into a smaller space. Or if you’d prefer to stay in your home, you can lower your mortgage payments by refinancing. Talk to a lender to see if refinancing makes sense for your current financial situation.

Sell your car

This may feel like a drastic move for seniors used to driving themselves everywhere they need to go, but selling your car could save money without hurting your ability to get around. Seniors who supplement with ridesharing services, such as Lyft and Uber, may spend less compared to the costs of maintaining a vehicle. Those worried about safety should know that rideshare drivers must undergo a background check. Most experts caution, however, to confirm that you are getting into a vehicle with the right person. If you are still uncertain about hitching a ride with a stranger, your local church and some community organizations may be able to help you find transportation when you need it.

Living on a fixed income doesn’t have to mean sacrificing enjoyment in your senior years. Instead of going without things you need to save money, find painless ways to cut costs. These six ideas are great starting points, but you should also contact a financial advisor to help you with money management. Not only will you get through each month with more money in your bank account, but your lifestyle also won’t feel the difference.

Image via Unsplash

  • Karen Weeks – elderwellness.net

Securities offered through LPL Financial. Member FINRA & SIPC. Investment advice offered through Garnett Retirement Group, a registered investment advisor. Garnett Retirement Group, a division of Hub International Carolinas and Hub International are not affiliated with LPL Financial.

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