10 Tips to Save Money while Living on a Fixed Income
Living on a fixed income can be tricky when it comes to budgeting for daily life. Bills need to be paid, groceries need to be purchased, and of course there should be some room for fun and activities. Saving money is so important, so we have 10 tips for you to use as you navigate your budget.
Trimming each budget category
When it comes to saving money, chances are good you are already paying close attention to your budget. A great way to save an extra 5-10 dollars is to trim each part of your budget a little bit more. For example, when you are grocery shopping, cut an item or two off your list that is not completely necessary. You can also save a little bit on your electric bill by turning off lights in your home. When you leave a room, unplug electronics when they don’t need to be plugged in. It might not seem like much at first, but a few dollars saved here and there over time will make a huge difference.
Cut down on eating out
Eating out and fast food generally make a big dent in our day to day expenses. A great way to save money is to cook more and eat out less. Of course, treating yourself once in a while is perfectly fine. However, even inexpensive fast food meals add up. Cutting down on how often you eat out not only saves money on food, but it will also save you money on fuel in your vehicle.
Change up your cable subscription
Cable television can get so expensive. Sure, you can get killer deals when you first sign up with a provider, but after 6 months to a year, the monthly price goes way up. Instead, save yourself a lot of money by switching to streaming services. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Disney+ (to name a few) offer their services for a fraction of the cost of cable television. These services have apps available for your smartphone and television that can be easily accessed.
Buy only when it’s necessary
Online shopping makes it so easy for us to buy things we don’t need impulsively. If you are doing your best to save money, give yourself a cooling off period. When you see something online, or even in the store, that isn’t essential, give yourself 24 hours. After 24 hours, you can decide if this item is legitimately worth you purchasing or not. More often than not, the impulse desire has worn off after the time you give yourself to think about it. Again, there are moments when it is perfectly acceptable to treat yourself! Just keep in mind the last time you bought something you didn’t need and how you felt afterward.
If you are going to shop online, you may want to utilize the Honey, an app and browser extension that scans the internet for coupon codes and applies them upon checkout. It’s free.
Get a handle on grocery expenses
As mentioned above, when you go grocery shopping, only purchase what is necessary. To prepare yourself for your shopping trip, make a meal plan for the week. Decide exactly what you plan on making for meals and what food items you will need to make that happen. Then, stick to your list. Sticking to your list and only buying the groceries you need for your plan will save you money and also time wandering the store. Avoid soda, chips, and other junk foods that truly are not essential. You will also find yourself eating healthier as well, so that is a bonus on top of the financial savings!
Check out mealime, a free meal planning app, as a potential resource.
Unsubscribe to email lists
It is pretty much inevitable that most of us are subscribed to many email lists. Retail stores can flood your email inbox with deals of the day, coupons, and so-called “savings” on a daily basis. If you go to the very bottom of the email, there is a small unsubscribe link usually hidden in the fine print. It will be time consuming but go through all those emails and unsubscribe! This will remove the temptation to make non-essential purchases and end up saving you a lot of money.
Work out transportation expenses
There are a few ways to cut down on your transportation expenses. For example, do some research on affordable car insurance. Shop around and find the best rates that work for you. Also, if it is possible, consolidate your errands in less trips. When you are out grocery shopping, maybe you run other errands while you are out in that area. This way, you are not making several trips a week or a day driving back and forth from your destinations to your home. You will save money on gas as well as maintenance for your vehicle.
Set aside all of your loose change
Whenever you decide to use cash for purchases, put your change into a savings account. That savings account could look like a jar at first. Over time, that jar will fill up, and you will have a nice chunk of change to take to the bank for your savings. You can also use that change as an emergency fund. If something happens to your car, your home, or yourself, then you won’t need to dip into your checking account.
Lower your cell phone bill
Chances are your cell phone bill is higher than it needs to be. There tend to be hidden fees, going over your data penalties, and unnecessary warranties. You can save money by finding out what you can trim on your plan with your current carrier. If that doesn’t do much, then maybe it is time to switch carriers and plans altogether.
Borrow, don’t buy, items you won’t be using daily
Instead of purchasing high-priced items that you may only use once or twice, borrow them instead. Do you need to do some yard work but don’t have the proper tools? Ask a friend, family member, or neighbor if you can use theirs. This also saves you a trip to the store where you may be more likely to spend money on something else that you do not need.
Saving money does not need to be complicated. These 10 ways to save money will make living on your fixed income easier and will save you some stress.
If you need help investigating potential savings on your Medicare insurance plan, we can help there…for free, of course.