5 Tips for Living Affordably as a Senior
A dollar seems like it doesn’t stretch as far as it used to. We pinch pennies, clip coupons, and budget as much as we can, but we’re all trying to find ways to make our money go a little further.
If you are a retired senior, you may also be on a fixed income without much wiggle room. Finances are one of the biggest things Americans worry about, but there are plenty of small ways to make your money work for you.
Here are five ways you can stretch out your budget a little more as a senior:
1. Senior Discounts
Whether it’s a few dollars off at happy hour or a percentage off your bill at the grocery store, discounts and coupons are a great way to get more value wherever you shop. If you’re a veteran, you can also see if there’s a discount for you. Sometimes the spouses or partners of veterans get perks, so make sure to ask!
Check out online whether a place you frequently visit has discounts you hadn’t considered. For instance, are you a crafter? Maybe there’s a discount you can use at Joann’s or Michael’s or another craft store. Do you travel (or want to travel more)? Check whether you and your flight are eligible for a senior discount the next time you buy your ticket!
Joining AARP is also an excellent way to get automatic discounts, though you do have to pay a membership fee. If you already get discounts from your favorite stores, you may not need the additional cost of the AARP membership.
2. Eliminate Food Waste
The Natural Resources Defense Council reports that Americans throw away 25% of the food they buy. Many of these discarded items are fruits and veggies, so only buy what you can use in the next few days. If you get a good deal and decide to buy your produce in bulk, freeze what you can’t eat immediately; then, you can have already-frozen ingredients for smoothies or stir fry.
The easiest way to avoid throwing away old leftovers is to meal plan your menu ahead of time. Pick a day every week to plan, prep and shop. Don’t forget to take stock of what is in your pantry or fridge already, and see what you can cook or bake from what you have.
When you’re shopping, check out expiration dates as well. Knowing how much time you have to eat that ingredient will motivate you to use it in a recipe.
3. A Clean Sweep
Expensive cleaning products may make you feel like your space is cleaner, but in the end, many of them tend to be expensive and smell nice, but they do not clean effectively. Most things can be cleaned with soap, warm water, baking soda and vinegar, or a little bleach; all inexpensive items!
There are plenty of green-certified cleaning products on the market, but you can make your own all-purpose cleaner at home from ingredients you might already own. It may only work for some surfaces in your home; porous surfaces such as untreated wood, granite, and some plastics might need different cleaners.
Take note of some safety precautions if you decide to make your own cleaners. Ensure the bottle or container you store your homemade cleaner in is labeled clearly.
Also, be sure which chemicals you should never mix, such as bleach and vinegar. Mixing some chemicals can cause toxic gases or corrosive liquids, which you definitely should avoid. A castile soap and water mixture can clean many things and won’t cause any issues.
4. Home Entertainment
If you find yourself at the movies every weekend, you can pinch your pennies a little more by staying home and going out only occasionally. If you have a library card, you can find DVDs, Blu Rays, and audiobooks at your local library for free, so you may not even have to pay to rent your movies. Some libraries also have video games or board games you can check out!
You don’t need all the streaming services available, so pare down to those you use the most. You can subscribe for a month to watch a specific show and then cancel the service when you’re done. There’s no need to pay for something you don’t use!
You can find plenty of other free or low-cost events in your community. Check out listings online or in your local paper for events at your library or around your neighborhood. In the summer, there are often open-air concerts, movies in the park, street fairs, and art walks. Zoos and museums often have free-admission days as well.
Wholesale clubs such as Costco and Sam’s Club will often have discounted movie tickets or movie gift cards available. Finding the discounts and freebies available just takes a small amount of searching.
5. Affordable Assisted Living
Assisted living can seem like a massive hole in your budget, and you might be worried that you can’t pay for everything in a month. Plenty of assisted living communities in the Phoenix area might provide the care you need, but the price may be too high. We believe that limited resources shouldn’t be an obstacle to getting the care and housing options that will most benefit you. Because of that, BridgeWater Assisted Living has found a way to make assisted living affordable – and enjoyable! Not only do we provide financial aid opportunities for income-qualified residents, but we also accept Medicaid and VA pension benefits.
If you’re afraid you may not meet the qualifications to apply for assisted living at BridgeWater, you should still contact our Community Benefits Advocate. They are helpful and would love to work with you to help determine if you meet the income-qualified requirements.
It’s easy to live well on a small budget; you just have to do a little leg work!