Budgeting Basics for Seniors Looking to Save!
As we age and our priorities change, our budgets can become a bigger and bigger issue. You may be concerned about saving money to pay for medical bills, putting money into a college fund for your grandchildren, or even paying for trips and entertainment during your retirement. Regardless of what you want to save for, keeping these few budgeting basics in mind will help make managing your money easier. Read on to find out more!
Seniors Save Big with These Budgeting Tips
Work out weekly expenses. An easy way to break down your average expenses is to see what you spend in a week on groceries, gas, and other expenses. You can even divide up your monthly bills per week to see how much you should be setting aside. Budgeting in small increments like this allows you to get a realistic picture of what an average week looks like for you.
Take advantage of discounted services. For seniors in some states, certain services are offered at a free or discounted rate. Cell phone plans, for instance, are often available to seniors for reduced rates- this could also eliminate your need for a landline and that additional expense.
See what you can do for free. When it comes to entertainment and activities, there are always opportunities for saving money. Instead of going out to a pricey movie, spend the afternoon at a local farmers market or at a church event. Participating in these types of activities can not only save you money, but also boost your spirits by getting you out in the community!
Create accounts for children and grandchildren. If part of your money-saving plan is to put aside money for your children or grandchildren to pay for certain expenses, create those accounts so that their money is safe and can start to accumulate interest.
Ask for assistance! If budgeting is becoming too difficult for you to manage on your own, seek the advice of an accountant or even a family member with a good head for figures. They can help you create a plan that works best for your needs.
According to AARP.com here are some great tips to help downsize and help to save and even make a little money.
The Big House
Consider making this decision as soon the kids are gone rather than when you’re ready to retire. Even if your home is already paid for, there are still significant costs in owning more space than you really need, including taxes, utilities, insurance and repairs. Plus, it will force you to downsize other belongings, too. You’ll also have an excuse for why the kids can’t move back in with you later!
If your wardrobe has outgrown your closet and dresser, start by purging enough pieces so that everything will fit. Get rid of unwanted clothing at yard sales or online, or by donating items to charity.
According to the Self Storage Association, there are about 50,000 self-storage facilities in the U.S. That’s more than five times the number of Starbucks! Vow to eliminate storage fees by getting rid of enough stuff so that all your possessions fit in your own home.
If the exercise bike or treadmill in your bedroom has morphed into a permanent clothes rack, donate it to a local thrift store or charity.
Ask yourself: “When was the last time I plugged that in?” If it’s been more than six months since you’ve used the waffle iron or bread maker, it’s probably time to find that appliance a new home. While you’re in the kitchen, eliminate unused culinary gadgets and nonmatching tableware.
Besides downsizing your home and eliminating debt, getting rid of one — or all — of your vehicles could result in the greatest savings. According to AAA, it currently costs an average of $8,698 annually to own and operate a vehicle in the U.S. if you factor in all the costs, including depreciation. If you’re a two-car family, getting rid of one set of wheels might make sense once one or both partners are no longer working. You might be able to get by with public transportation or a car-share program, or at least downgrade to less-expensive vehicles. If you’re planning to relocate in retirement, there are communities where owning a car may not be necessary.
If your kids or other family members don’t want keepsakes from their own childhood (or yours) now, they’re not going to want them when you’re gone. Hold on to a few precious, symbolic mementos — those that truly spark memories and joy — and digitize images of the other things.
Filling — and too often, overfilling — a room with furniture is a common tendency. Doing so makes the room seem smaller and gives you more places to store and display more stuff. Start by eliminating a couple of pieces from a room and see how much more spacious it feels
Unless a book has sentimental value or you’re going to read it again, put it back into circulation via a yard sale or thrift store so that others can enjoy it. Or donate it to your library, where you can always get free access to books, CDs and DVDs. You can store countless e-books (many are available for free) on an e-reader that’s smaller than a single print volume, and you can easily digitize your music and movie collections.
While holiday decor has some sentimental value, consider getting rid of the decorations you haven’t used in the past five years, particularly bulkier items such as outdoor decorations and holiday tableware you use just once a year.
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