On A Low Budget?
Helpful Hints #127
When Dan and I married in 1958, our combined monthly income was about $750.00. Each month, we put money in envelopes for food, clothing, house payment, etc. Our first house cost $12,000; that $72.00 house payment took a chunk of the money. We were well acquainted with tight budgets, and because of that beginning - I don’t have to worry so much today.
However, financial security is a concern, whether you are an older adult, young as we were, or somewhere in between.
Last July, I wrote an article about seniors living on a tight budget and thought it was time for a review - hoping to provide valuable ideas.
Because as the Forbes Observer website says
many senior citizens struggle to survive financially. In 2019 alone, 8.9% of seniors had income below the poverty threshold, according to a 2021 report from the Congressional Research Service. Now, record-high inflation is eating into their already-limited financial resources.
And The National Council on Aging says
Over 15 million Americans aged 65+ are economically insecure—living at or below 200% of the federal poverty level (FPL) ($25,760 per year for a single person in 2021). These older adults struggle with rising housing and health care bills, inadequate nutrition, lack of access to transportation, diminished savings, and job loss. For older adults above the poverty level, one major adverse life event can change today’s realities into tomorrow’s troubles.
This article discusses three actions I’d take if I were struggling financially or concerned about the possibility:
assess my situation
locate available resources for information and support
identify changes I could make
Have a clear understanding of my financial situation.
Dan took care of the finances and was good at it. The problem was that I had to take over when his memory failed and had to learn a lot. What was our insurance coverage? How do we file taxes? How much money did we have?
Those were a few of my questions. My solution was to consult with a financial planner and CPA. True, it was expensive but well worth the cost. They walked me through the process and saved me money in the long run.
Identify my needs.
I don’t mean having my hair and nails done, but what I need-housing, medical care, and food.
Balance the two.
Determine the difference between how much money I have and how much I need monthly.
Figure out how to compensate for the shortage.
Get acquainted with available resources.
Know how to use a computer and the Internet.
If I didn’t have a computer, I’d find one at the library, church, or local community center. The Internet is a valuable resource, although prudence is required. These articles explain some traps: Almost Scammed Again and Watch Out Scams Ahead.
Once I complete the assessment, I can explore potential sources for help. There are numerous possibilities and options. Here are a few.
On The Internet
For $12.00 (automatically renewable) a year, the AARP website offers a wealth of information and resources.
Free online classes offer an abundance of information. One particular resource I have used is Udemy. They provide inexpensive courses on every topic imaginable, from learning to use the computer and the Internet to building self-esteem.
The California Department of Aging provides a wealth of information. Other states may have similar departments.
You can find articles about every subject on the Internet. But make sure the source is credible.
The Forbes Advisor provides a wealth of information regarding financial help.
The Biggest List of Senior Discounts offers numerous options.
I searched local resources in the San Francisco Bay Area and found
The Community Center near me provides emergency services, financial support, and a food bank.
The Senior Center offers various educational, recreational, and health-related services for adults 50 and older. In addition, the Center provides case management, care planning, and referrals to community services for seniors and their families for a low cost. Their City Cafe offers low-cost lunches Monday through Friday.
The Salvation Army sells gently used clothes at low prices.
A local hospital provides reliable resources and tools, including classes, support groups, and services at their Health Resource Centers and Libraries.
The gas and electric company conducts in-home checks to reduce costs.
Some churches have food pantries.
The California Department of Aging works with 33 Area Agencies on Aging. The network directly manages federal and state-funded services that provide meals and helps find services that assist older individuals to live as independently as possible.
States and the federal government jointly fund Medicaid. It provides health coverage to millions of Americans, including eligible low-income adults, elderly adults, and people with disabilities.
The Buy Nothing Project is a network of neighbors who share everything from a cup of sugar to free furniture without exchanging money.
Neighbors provide trusted information and give and get help on Next Door.
Check your area for similar resources.
While many websites offer ideas anyone can use, here are a few.
15 Ways Seniors Can Save Money suggests shopping once a week and sharing food. I live by myself. Most food comes in large amounts and goes bad before I can use it. So, my daughter and I share food. I buy a package of zucchini and give her half; she orders something for dinner and gives me enough for a meal.
20 Practical Ways Seniors Can Cut Expenses recommends visiting the local library rather than buying books and movies.
Frugal Living Tips for Seniors suggests using coupons and finding senior discounts.
A Dozen Ways a Senior Can Save Money recommends getting a roommate or downsizing.
The video offers ideas, as well.
At the time, my changes included
moving to a two-bedroom apartment
learning everything I could about my financial situation
buying a smaller car
As you can see, there are numerous ways to help yourself - make it a project and be prepared just in case.
What topics would you like to read about? Let me know.
There is a 17-year Gap Between New Science and Its Adoption in Clinical Practice. A fact that is crucial to understand.
The Tram That Wasn’t There. This article is an incredible journey through a country I will never visit.
Thanks for reading Aging Well News! Subscribe for free to receive new posts.
If you want to contribute to my work, consider donating to the Alzheimers Association. This link takes you to their website. The choice is yours.