Inflation increases daily living expenses.
Whether or not frugal habits are in place, those who are aging and entering the elderly population experience reduced spending power – they have less to spend and must focus on needs first over wants.
This can be stressful for not only the elderly but also for their family and friends who want to enjoy the time they spend with each other.
Frugal habits honed during the last 50 years will make for an easier transition into the senior phase of life. But, for those who didn’t form those habits, who didn’t heed the words of money and financial experts over the years, there are things that can be done now to make the best use of the spending power they have. The following list is also a good reference for those who want to make suggestions to the senior member of their family:
1. Shop for new Medicare coverage. Whether the senior person does it or a family member, it is a mistake to assume that current Medicare coverage is actually a good deal. Changes to the Medicare program and offerings are made annually and it is a good idea to review the coverage in place, and then compare it to the new coverage available.
2. Shop for groceries and hard goods once a week, or even once a month if possible. Shop with a list and save any impulse purchases as an item on the list for the next shopping trip. This way, you recognize that you want to purchase something and rather than saying “no”, you simply put it on the list for the next trip. Then, when creating the list for the next shopping trip you can decide whether or not that purchase is really something you want or need.
3. Bargain or ask for lower interest rates. If you currently have debt, there is no harm in asking the lender for better interest rates. The worst that can happen is they say “no”. The best that can happen is that they say they can reduce your interest rate.
4. Look at an annual payment, if possible. Many purchases set on a monthly payment plan can be paid on an annual basis and with significant savings – often stated as “Pay annually and get 1 month free” or “Pay annually and save 15%”. Look over the services and products you are currently paying for on a monthly basis and ask if the annual payment will save you money.
5. Share on the grocery shopping. When you’re creating your grocery list, ask a neighbor or friend to share theirs with you and compare. If you have many similar items on the list, consider shopping together and purchasing in bulk or larger sizes then splitting the purchase when you get home. Bulk pricing, volume pricing, larger size pricing is always less expensive than single serve size.
6. Stop purchasing movies and books. Your local library is an excellent source for entertainment, lending movies in various formats as well as books via eBooks (Kindle format). Call or visit your local library and ask if they offer digital lending and DVD lending.
7. Unplug devices you aren’t using. Your electric bill will show a measurable decrease by simply unplugging appliances and devices you aren’t using. Every appliance and digital device that is plugged in uses electricity. Albeit a small amount, but when you unplug for a month you will see that the small amount from each adds up.
8. Generic is good. Generic labels on food and soft good items are often equal in quality to brand name items.
9. Drink water. Replace your store-bought juice and soda with water from your tap and you will see significant savings.
10. Barter. The internet is an excellent place to find someone willing to trade an appliance or tool or even labor for something you are willing to exchange. Try Facebook marketplace, Craigslist, and Yahoo Freecycle. But also consider your network of friends and neighbors and store owners. Often it’s a matter of asking if the person is willing to exchange a product or service for something you have to trade.