Everyone finds it challenging to stick to a budget, but people on fixed incomes need help. Since many rely only on social security income and small savings to make ends meet, it is becoming more and more common for seniors to experience financial hardship after retirement.
Even if an older person has been wise and fortunate enough to save sizable retirement assets, this money must be carefully managed to ensure they survive, especially given the escalating costs of long-term care.
This article will help you do this by guiding you on making a budget plan for your senior years.
Budgeting Tips For Seniors
Create a Monthly Expense Worksheet
Filling up an expense worksheet with all monthly income and expenses is the first step that most financial advisors advise. This can help you get a good handle on your loved one’s spending and show you where to make cuts. The following recommendations can reduce any discrepancy in monthly income if there is one.
Minimize Utility Costs
Check with your loved one’s utility providers to see whether they provide a budget billing plan that keeps their bill fixed each month. The expense is distributed more equally across 12 months instead of paying larger monthly bills during specific times of the year because of increased energy demand for heating or cooling. Sticking to a budget constant throughout the year is simpler when expenses are predictable.
Choose Insurance Premium Payment Plans Wisely
Payment schedules for insurance premiums include monthly, quarterly, and semi-annual payments. The ability to pay premiums in installments rather than all at once for the year may depend on your loved one’s financial situation. Some insurance providers do, however, give reductions to clients who make full payments. Large upfront costs are associated with paying annual premiums for vehicles, health, homeowners, and life insurance, yet this is frequently the least-priced choice.
Use Senior Savings Programs and Government Benefits
If your loved one meets the eligibility conditions and owns a house, they might have savings available. Find out if your older loved one qualifies for any federal, state, or local aid or discount programs by visiting Benefits.gov. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs (food stamps), housing assistance, and energy assistance are some benefits that can help low-income seniors reduce their costs. You can also check with the local Area Agency on Aging (AAA) for more information, guidance, and support with benefits applications.
Read also: Benefits For Older Adults: What Are They
Look For Senior Discounts
Like anybody else, there are many strategies to assist older persons in saving money, but this is one instance when seniors have an advantage. Many establishments provide “senior discounts” to older customers, including restaurants, shops, and motels. Anyone qualified and who doesn’t use this deal is leaving money on the table. Even though the savings on a single transaction are typically not significant, they will add up over time if used consistently. You and your loved one can look up listings of senior discounts online, but it never hurts to enquire about current specials or offers with a company.
Coupons can add 10 to 20 percent of savings on the average purchase of items like groceries, appliances, and durable goods, even though some people may view them as more of a hassle than a useful way to save money. In other circumstances, the savings might be as much as 50 percent. Again, it is silly to only use coupons once one knows how much is frequently discounted when doing so.
While many brands and businesses have converted to electronic coupons and promotions by email or text, older individuals are still pretty accustomed to clipping paper coupons. Just make sure using coupons doesn’t have a detrimental effect on your loved one’s buying preferences. Encourage consumers to only buy things they need and like—and in realistic quantities to reduce waste and storage issues—as many are tempted to spend money on things they normally wouldn’t buy just because they “got a deal”
Manage Credit Card Debt
If accumulating credit card debt is a problem, encouraging your loved one to use cash or a debit card may be beneficial. They can control their expenditures because they have a limited amount of money. The connected account can be topped off monthly with a debit card, but the senior must monitor their balance to prevent overdrafts and fines. One of several advantageous credit card methods for retirees is this one.
Look for Telecommunications Bundles
Telecom firms frequently offer cable, internet, home security, and home and cellular phone services in bundles or packages cheaper than paying for each item individually. Inquire about package packages, senior discounts, and introductory offers to save costs. Just be careful to avoid packages containing services your loved one doesn’t want or need and unreasonable contract lengths.
Create a Financial System
Making a budget doesn’t do much good if your loved one doesn’t follow it and check their progress. Some seniors struggle with budgeting their money and making on-time payments on their debts. Others have little interest in creating goals or tracking their monthly financial savings. It could be time to assist if your loved one is of sound mind but reluctant to take control of their financial condition.
Every senior must complete a durable financial power of attorney (POA) form. This legal instrument appoints a reliable individual (known as the agent) to act on behalf of the elderly in matters of money if they need to make wise financial decisions for themselves. Many family caregivers also assist with money management for still capable elders, and financial POA paperwork also comes in handy in these cases.
How To Make A Budget Plan
- Discover the components of a budget. You will enter the following figures into your monthly budget:
- Income such as your Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, senior community service employment program training earnings, volunteer stipends, or other sources of income.
- Monthly fixed expenses, including rent or mortgage payment, health insurance premiums, and fixed debt payments.
- Monthly flexible expenses like gas for your automobile, utilities, and food.
- Regular costs including car and home insurance, upkeep and repairs, and real estate taxes.
- Discretionary costs including entertainment, charitable donations, clothes, and personal care purchases.
- Determine the source of your revenue. Collect your pay stubs from pensions, life insurance policies, and other sources of income, including Social Security and other government benefits.
- Find out where your money goes. Keep a record of every dollar you spend for a week. Be truthful! A spending journal like the one below, in which we’ve previously recorded expenses and revenue, can be useful.
- On a straightforward budget sheet, list everything. Put everything in one location, and presto! A working budget is in place! Try making one right now with the NCOA’s blank calendar (link to download at home).
To prevent running out of money in retirement, you must use your nest egg carefully. The two most crucial considerations are limiting non-discretionary expenditure and providing adequate room for unforeseen costs, particularly medical care-related.
Since people are living longer than they did in earlier generations, being wise and careful in handling money is a must to make sure you’ll be able to give enough to support your aging needs.
To know more about senior finances, our Guide To Finance For Seniors can help you navigate through the crucial senior financial topics that you need to know.