Following the excess of the holiday season, and with resolutions fresh in our minds, January is such a good month to start improving a few not-so-good habits in our lives. One such area might be our finances and the way we spend money.
For seniors on a fixed income, it’s especially beneficial to rein in spending and find ways to save a few dollars. With 130 years of experience in working with older individuals, Concordia Lutheran Ministries has a number of suggestions for seniors to tighten the proverbial boot straps. Have another idea? Leave it in the comments section below!
1. Shop around: If you have multiple grocery stores in your area, pay attention to the weekly specials and spend the extra time to get the best deals at each. Join the frequent shopper programs for additional savings as well. Some stores even have days set aside for senior citizen discounts.
2. Plan your menu ahead of time: Consider making a weekly menu and sticking to it when grocery shopping – this helps eliminate impulse purchasing and can help you cut back on waste. Since grocery shopping for one or two people is difficult, consider using a main ingredient twice in the same week (like having chicken parmesan on Monday and grilled chicken salad on Wednesday).
3. Consider downsizing: The expense of caring for a full house can have an effect on your pocketbook as well as your health. Downsizing to a retirement living situation may be the best option at this point in time. Concordia offers several levels of care to those who have made the decision to receive a helping hand, including personal care and worry-free apartments and villas for retirees.
4. Evaluate transportation expenses: As a senior, there are a number of ways to cut costs in the area of transportation. Check your current insurance premiums and compare them to the competition. Look for long-time driver discounts and find a safe driving for senior’s class – which Concordia offers periodically – to lower your rates by an average of five percent annually. Lastly, ask yourself if a car is still a necessity. Many senior living communities like Concordia offer shopping trips and rides to local physicians.
5. Stay busy, get creative: Entertainment is an area many seniors cut back on during tough economic times; however, a little creativity can go a long way. Evaluate how many channels you actually watch – maybe you can scale back your cable plan. Consider starting a card group or book/movie club with friends. When hosting a dinner, make it a themed pot luck, so you’re not making all the food yourself.
6. Be flexible with travel plans: Many retirees enjoy traveling in their free time, and as expensive as roaming the country can be, there are ways to cut costs. Join free frequent traveler programs (just be wary of scams). Be flexible with your departure and arrival dates – many hotels and airlines will give significant discounts during the week to fill a block of rooms or flight. Start planning early and look for discounts, especially by looking at flight costs from nearby airports traveling to the same destination. Conversely, often you can find the best deals by booking a week before your trip.
7. Save energy around the house: Don’t fall into the trap of turning your heat off too soon in the year – When the typical Pennsylvania late-March snowfall comes, the cost to warm your home can actually be more than if you would have just turned the thermostat down one degree all winter. Things like replacing your furnace filter every three months, using ceiling fans, and operating heat-generating appliances in the evenings and in succession can help reduce energy bills as well.
Founded more than 130 years ago, Concordia Lutheran Ministries is a faith-based, CARF-CCAC-accredited Aging Services Network and recipient of the inaugural Pennsylvania Department of Aging Excellence in Quality Care Award. As one of the 50 largest nonprofit senior care providers in the country, the organization serves over 20,000 people annually through home care and inpatient locations in western PA and eastern OH. Concordia offers a lifetime continuum of care that includes adult day services, home care, hospice, medical and rehabilitation services, memory care, personal care, assisted living, respite care, retirement living, skilled nursing/short-term rehab, spiritual care and medical equipment.
For more information on any of Concordia’s services, call toll free 1-888-352-1571 or message us through the Contact form here.
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