There are also issues and concerns that seniors must deal with, including health care, housing, day to day living, and so forth. These are issues that should be dealt with in advance by proper planning and preparation. These topics are also discussed below. It is important to note that it is highly advisable to get assistance and advice regarding these things from trusted and professional advisors and not just from well meaning family members or friends.
Housing is usually the single biggest expense for most people. If you are fortunate to be living in your own home with no mortgage, this may not be true. If you still have mortgage or rent payments to make, it is. You should seriously consider downsizing to reduce your housing expense. Also, be aware that even in a fully paid home – you still have to pay for property tax, utilities and maintenance.
Food is another major expense and one that can’t be just cut. It is important to have proper nutrition to maintain your health. Take the extra time you have to shop and meal plan more smartly. Don’t buy convenience and junk foods and do stock up on things when they are on sale. If necessary, don’t be ashamed to ask for food assistance from government and senior citizen organizations.
Always seek out and utilize senior discounts, especially for your communication, entertainment, travel, insurance and banking needs. Joining groups like AARP can provide you with a broad variety of discounts.
A major way to cut expenses overall is to move to a new location where the overall cost of living is less than your current location. This is especially true if you live in a major urban area – more rural areas are almost always significantly less expensive across the board. This may be difficult if you are currently near your family members, but it should be seriously considered.
Medicare is a blessing for seniors to have, but it is not always a total solution. Medicare has restrictions and limitations. A good way to deal with this is to get a Medicare Advantage policy. These are sold by private insurance companies, but supervised by the government. These policies provide what Medicare covers, but also offers expanded and more liberal coverage. Shop carefully for this type of insurance to make sure it meets your needs.
Other ways to help with medical care are to buy a reputable dental insurance plan, use medical school and other medical clinics where feasible, and if need be, apply for help from Medicaid.
If possible, don’t continue to own a car anymore if you have one. Even if fully paid for, the ongoing expenses for gas, insurance and maintenance are significant. In most urban regions there are mass transit options and usually with discount fares for seniors. When you need to, you can rent a car occasionally – for much less money than owning one all the time.
Just using cash for shopping and paying your bills can be dangerous (you should not keep a large amount of cash on your person or in your home) and can believe it or not actually “cost” you money. There are numerous credit cards available that will provide you with all sorts of discounts and even cash rebates when you use them. So, if you are disciplined and not just use plastic to buy on a whim – by using these cards for your necessary shopping and expenses, you will actually save money. Also, if you always pay your bill in full, there will be no interest expense.
By using the flexible schedule that most seniors have, you will find all sorts of discount opportunities for dining, movies, plays, concerts and so on. The same holds true when you want to take a trip – by going during “off season” you can save significant money on cruises and hotels.
If you just can’t cut your expenses enough and your Social Security or other pension income just isn’t high enough, consider getting part time work. There are numerous opportunities for seniors to get part time work at home jobs – many with flexible schedules. If need be, seek out and obtain government financial assistance – there are many such programs geared towards senior citizens.