How Seniors Can Make the Most of a Tight Budget
Living on a fixed income isn’t easy. Seniors have everyday expenses to think about. And as a family, you must give some thought to the possibility of one or both parents needing long-term health care.
On top of everything else, your parents still want to enjoy retirement. All of these financial concerns can trigger major stress for older people who just want to enjoy their lives.
The upside is you have plenty of options for smart budgeting without having to sacrifice the things that make life fun.
Get a Side Gig
Getting a side gig has become a popular way for many people to create an additional stream of income, especially for those who’ve been sidelined by COVID-19. Side gigs aren’t limited to the younger set, though. For seniors, having a part-time job is an excellent way to boost retirement income.
But if you have a parent who’s reluctant to work again, it may help to give them some ideas for part-time jobs that won’t feel like work. The great thing about retirement jobs is they can be as fun and flexible as you choose. For example, the Sixty and Me website suggests non-profit work for someone who wants to serve their community. Or someone who loves crafting could make money selling their goods either online or at craft fairs.
Your parents might also like freelance work. Freelancing is especially popular with retirees who don’t want to be tied down to someone else’s schedule. Plus, it allows seniors to use the skills they already have. Some of the most in-demand freelance opportunities include web development, writing, sales and customer service, to name a few. Whatever your parent’s skills, they can likely find jobs that fit their experience on freelancing sites like Upwork.
Be More Frugal (And Still Have Fun)
Along with earning extra money, seniors can stretch their savings by spending less. This tip sounds simple, but it’s often hard for people to change spending habits in retirement. For that reason, The Balance recommends seniors set a budget that includes flex money, which is money left over after essentials are paid.
By keeping this money flexible rather than allocated to strict categories, you can make choices about where your “fun” money goes. The key is to realize that cutting spending doesn’t have to mean missing out.
There are hundreds of ways seniors can save money. If you’re helping your parents with their finances, look for deals and discounts (see our post on restaurant deals). And, of course, many other types of businesses offer senior discounts. It never hurts to ask because discounts aren’t always advertised. You can also check online sources like Easy Climber to see if your parents’ favorite places to dine and shop offer them.
Other ways to save money include using the library rather than buying books and movies. You can also cash in on travel rewards.
Take Advantage of Digital Tools
Staying on top of a budget takes work, but going digital can help ease the burden. Start by getting your parents set up with online banking and automatic bill payments. This strategy will help ensure nothing important slips through the cracks, plus you can avoid incurring late fees.
Another smart use of digital tools is to take advantage of apps that cater to seniors’ needs. For example, the financial tech app EverSafe helps protect seniors from financial exploitation and identity theft. The Silvernest app is perfect for seniors living alone who want to find a roommate or rent out a room in their home.
Some of these ideas may seem off the wall to seniors who are set in their ways. Even if your parents are reluctant at first, it’s worth the effort to help them broaden their horizons if they need additional sources of income. And if they keep an open mind, they’ll see that seniors have more options than ever for making the most of living on a tight budget.
Our thanks to Karen Weeks, Guest Author, ElderWellness.net