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5 Tips for Seniors to Live Well on a Fixed Income

5 Tips for Seniors to Live Well on a Fixed Income

Fixed-income senior living doesn’t have to be difficult. Bridgewater Assisted Living’s motto is “Less Worry. More Life” for a reason. We know making decisions about how to manage your income and live your best life can seem confusing and overwhelming. 

We understand your retirement years are a time to do nothing but relax. Even if you don’t live in one of our communities, we want to help you accomplish that goal of high-quality, fixed-income senior living, so you can spend more time celebrating the joys of life. 

Below find five tips for fixed-income senior living that can make your life more fun and fulfilling:

1. Eliminate Debt

Older Americans are carrying more unpaid financial obligations than ever before. Many seniors have pointed out how overwhelming it can be to keep up with bills of any kind, especially credit card payments. 

One of the ways you can begin managing your debt and get it under control is credit counseling. Credit counseling works to connect you with a counselor who learns your needs and assists you through each step of the process, from creating a manageable repayment plan to finding a lower monthly payment for you. In the end you should find yourself removing credit debt entirely, freeing up extra funds for other expenses or fulfilling activities.

Debt can be a huge burden no matter what stage of life you are in, but when planning for retirement and beyond, it becomes incredibly important to reduce extra expenses and debt. It may feel like that small purchase now is a serotonin boost, but cutting back on the things you don’t truly need can help you save money and have a better quality of life down the road (with less knicknacks you need to dust).

Going back to work is the last thing on anyone’s list of fun activities, but if you are struggling with debt, or your fixed income isn’t enough, finding a part-time job or even full-time work can be rewarding and motivating. This motivation can extend to better financial planning, or even making better shopping choices overall. 

To find work as a senior, there are a variety of sources available to you such as job boards, websites, newspaper ads, job fairs and networking events catered specifically to older adults to find employment, whether you are returning to the workforce or finding your first job.

2. Create a Budget Calendar

Tracking your finances is important at any age and in any income bracket, but when you live on a fixed or limited income, it’s vital to know exactly where your money is coming from, when it should arrive and where it is going. 

A “budget calendar” is a tool that lets you view your income each month, when it will be deposited into your accounts, and what your expenses are. Being able to see all your spending and earning in one place provides a better representation of where your money is going, hopefully encouraging you to spend smarter. Having a handle on how you spend can also reduce your worry about money overall. Making your own budget calendar is something you can do yourself and doesn’t have to be difficult (a regular wall calendar works). Learn how to create a budget calendar here.

3. See If You Qualify for Food Assistance

As grocery prices rise, food insecurity issues rise and affect more and more people. SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is set up as a financial safety net for people who might not otherwise get enough to eat. 

SNAP is a need-based program serving many seniors living on a fixed income. Those who qualify receive benefits monthly, loaded onto an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card. This card can be used just like a credit or debit card to purchase eligible food items at certain retailers and even some local farmers’ markets.

If you live at home, another option would be to apply for senior-specific food programs like Meals on Wheels, senior mobile pantries, and more.

4. Consider Moving for Savings

You should already be paying less in taxes now that you’re retired. If you’re looking for additional tax savings, choosing to move to a smaller place or to another state entirely may be a good idea. Some states are more retirement-friendly than others when it comes to social security benefits and income and sales taxes.

If you’re still living in your original home, now may be the right time to sell and move into a smaller, less-expensive place. Moving often gives you money to invest and save, and a smaller home will cost less to manage. By selling, you could lower your property taxes, or not have any if you choose to rent.

5. Find Free Fun

If you live in a retirement village or assisted living community like Bridgewater, you are often offered a wide range of daily activities and events to engage and nurture mind, body, and spirit.

It’s ironic that when you finally have time to pursue hobbies and interests, your income is limited, but it is possible to enjoy yourself by spending little to no money at all. Take advantage of senior specials, check local papers, magazines, and websites for free events. Museums, zoos, gardens, parks, and wildlife refuges often have complimentary admission days just for seniors. 

Also, consider volunteering! Many establishments will reward volunteers with free experiences. Online communities also exist that bring together people with similar interests. Fixed-income senior living doesn’t have to be a downgrade.While looking around for a less expensive and easier option, consider living with us at Bridgewater Assisted Living. We offer regularly scheduled shopping and leisure outings, and social activities. We believe it’s important for our residents to live their lives doing the things they love to do, so we focus on filling our residents’ lives with meaning and purpose. All the little things can be taken care of with one simple choice: to move in with us.