Living on a low or fixed income in your golden years can be challenging, but it doesn’t mean you have to cut back on everything you enjoy. In fact, by saving in certain areas, you can free up more money to spend how you want. In this article, I will present some advice on how to make the most of your money, as well as a few tips for boosting your income.
No matter your income, having a budget is one of the best ways to stay on top of your expenses. Mint explains that even though you have less to work with, budgeting is actually easier when you live on a fixed income. This is because you know exactly how much you will receive each month, unlike people with variable incomes.
When creating a budget, you will be able to see areas where you spend the most money. Once you know where you spend heavily, it will be easier to identify where you can cut back.
Some expenses, such as healthcare costs, are non-negotiable. Luckily, other areas are more flexible. Food, for example, takes up a large portion of most people’s budgets. However, food doesn’t have to cost a lot to taste delicious. Senior Advisor says that by changing your shopping habits -- such as buying generic brands -- can save you a great deal on your grocery bill. There are also many ways to dress up budget-friendly food to make it taste gourmet.
When putting together your budget, think about whether a debt relief program could help you make the most of your money. In Florida, debt relief programs are designed to help people who want to get their heads above water, but there are many guidelines that you must follow. To help you navigate what can seem like an overwhelming process, get in contact with a debt-relief expert who can help you get started.
Even after budgeting, you might find that you need additional income to live the life you want. As a senior, there are many ways that you can supplement your income each month. For example, by becoming a freelance customer service representative, you can work for clients from the comfort of your home. Skills such as writing, accounting, data entry, and sales are also highly marketable if you are interested in becoming a freelancer.
Becoming a pet sitter is another avenue to explore if you love animals. Pet sitters enjoy flexibility and the ability to work on their own terms. It’s also convenient, as you can usually find clients in your own town to work with.
You don’t want to be unprepared when tax time comes around, so take the time to structure your business as an LLC early on. Not only will this reassure you that your personal assets will be protected, you’ll also get to enjoy some tax breaks! When registering Florida LLCs, many business owners choose to work with an online formation service to handle the filing process to ensure that they abide by the requirements.
When you reach a certain age, you become eligible for a number of different benefits, tax breaks, and discounts. For example, many stores and services provide a senior discount on certain days of the week.
You can get even greater savings by checking which tax breaks and government benefits you might be missing. For example, under the Senior Accessible Housing Act, you can get a tax credit of up to $30K for doing renovations that make your home safer or easier to navigate.
When it comes to benefits, it doesn’t hurt to check whether you are claiming everything you are eligible for. If you haven’t checked your eligibility in awhile, this tool from the National Council on Aging can help you determine what programs you can apply for.
One easy way to save money is to look at your home energy consumption. There are many ways to cut your utility bill without changing your habits. For example, some electronics use power even when they’re not on. By unplugging unused appliances, you can start saving on your bills. Switching to more efficient light bulbs or appliances may help save money, too.
If you want to save on utilities but can’t afford to make any changes, it might be worth looking into the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). This program is best known for providing emergency help when you can’t pay your energy bill, but it can also help you pay for weatherization and home repairs that will make your home more efficient in the long run.
It’s not always easy to live on a fixed income, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your golden years. Making a budget, supplementing your income, and making your home more efficient may all be small steps, but they can make a big difference in how much you save.
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Thank you Karen Weeks for contributing this article.