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How do I live on a Social Security budget?
One of the first things you need to do is prepare a budget. When you know exactly what your monthly income will be, you can deduct regular monthly expenses and look for creative ways to reduce variable expenses such as gas, grocery, clothing, etc. . Sites such as Thrifty Fun are an excellent resource for finding frugal living tips such as how to shop with a small budget, ways to lower monthly utility expenses and many other frugal living tips.
Very frugally! Make sure your rent and utilities are paid first. You can get help with food and clothing from charities. Some seniors get roommates to defray living costs. It works well for some and not for others.
If you own your home and have no rent or mortgage to pay then it may be an easy task but not too many seniors are that lucky so you will have to set up a budget or you may find yourself in serious "money" trouble in a very short length of time.
Building on all of these answers...here are some of the things I have found helpful when living on a fixed income:
1. Contact all of your utilities and see how you can reduce bills. Our electric company had a kit with those bulbs that last forever and other energy saving items--it was free. The other companies worked with me on less expensive packages or bundles or whatever they call them these days.
Note: Ideally I would have dropped a cable and internet as books and movies are free to borrow from the library and also you can get free internet, but I was out voted :) It is always an option and saves you TONS of money!
2. Relook at your grocery budget. Slash as much processed food from your diet as you can and look for inexpensive fresh alternatives. Find alternate places to shop...for example, Sundays, if we can make it to the flea market, they have amazing produce very cheap. I also get things like my favorite cereal (one of my few processed food keeps) at Ollies or Big Lots or Dollar General. They are often 1-3 dollars LESS than the grocery store...but you have to know your prices because some of their items are much smaller packages and the per ounce price is double the store
3. Buy ONLY what you need for the week and only stock up on things that are the very best price and won't spoil. This helps reduce waste, which saves money.
4. Don't be too proud to take things that are offered to you...like produce from a friend's garden, or a hand me down outfit! Yes, adults do hand me downs! My most favorite outfit I am wearing now came to me that way and I always get compliments on it!
5. Talk to your bank about any accounts you have and if they are being charged fees, see what can be done to stop the fees and get a small amount of interest (better than nothing and much better than fees).
6. Talk to your insurance agent and see if you can reduce any of your premiums (like if you are no longer driving to work, you may be able to have a reduction on your car insurance) and if you are retiring and downsizing and no longer have a lot of possessions, you may be able to reduce your home owner policy. Consider changing insurance companies if you are not getting helpful information from your current agent.
7. Sell off your unneeded possessions. Yard sales seem to be a thing of the past...but if you can sell at a Flea Market or on Facebook or Craigslist (safety first here...only meet people in a public place like a police station parking lot or busy grocery store entrance), you can cash in on some of the clutter in your closets.
Consign or sell at a resale shop shoes, clothing, purses, jewelry you never wear. If you need hints on how to value your items--let me know and I can help with that!
8. Take advantage of free things (some are paid with your taxes already)--like if you need something notarized, don't go to an expensive notary--your State Senator's office should do it for free--same with making copies. The library is a great source for everything--books, music, books, internet, etc. Take advantage of it.
9. Take advantage of all the preventive services your health insurance offers--you may be eligible for free flu shots etc. This will help you stay healthy which saves HUGE bucks and improves quality of life!
10. Look for inexpensive or free alternatives for gifting...I am working really hard to give gifts of time vs. items....for many reasons...including gifts of time create lifelong memories and gifts of stuff create clutter.
Also I make my own cards in PowerPoint and email them to people for their birthdays--I just learned yesterday how to add music to them...now I can create even better cards (a musical Hallmark card is $7--mine are a few minutes of my time--now that I learned from a YouTube video how to do this!).
You can live on less! Be creative, flexible, and learn to laugh! What works for me, may not work for you, and your solutions may be way better than mine!! Ask everyone you know what they do and learn from them, then teach them what you do!! Everyone wins!!
Wishing you all the best!
Does someone know of anyone writing blogs/information about or by people over 70 living on Social Security?
Here is an article from the AARP. https://www.aar urity-alone.html