Be it your mother, father, grandparent, a sibling, or even yourself, staying on top of finances as a senior can be a difficult task. Unexpected or costs in addition to typical everyday living expenses such as prescription medications can often take what was a reasonable budget for example, and bust it at its seams. Making room for any costs that have the probability of putting a budget overboard, or finding alternatives for dealing with them, is essential to helping a senior stay on top of their finances. If the senior is someone other than yourself, you will also have to have the senior agree to be as honest with you, as he or she can be, if you are to be of any help to him or her. If the senior is yourself, being realistic will bring you closer to your goals than any other thing you can do.
Make a list of all incoming income. Remember that not all income may come in weekly or monthly. Some income, such as annuities, might be paid quarterly or even only once a year. This sort of income is still income though, and will need to be considered when comparing all incoming income towards outgoing expenses.
Next, as simple as it sounds, make a list of all outgoing expenses. Be sure to include costs that are both weekly, monthly, annually, and any irregular expenses, such as a green fee on top of a membership fee that is incurred when playing on a course outside of your regular one for example. No matter how small a cost put it down. Include everything from housing costs to newspaper deliveries. Only by drawing a complete picture of the current bills and expenses can you hope to gain a valid look at how much money is truly needed to meet the cost of living.
Once you have a clear picture of incoming and outgoing expenses, consider the possibilities of future expenses. Unexpected increases in areas such as healthcare and prescription costs are two of the major ones, but also consider the increase in more common items, such as groceries and gasoline. If there, are insurance policies, including home, auto, and life, set up an appointment with the agent or agents overseeing these, and go over these costs and coverage’s if this has not been done so recently. Insurance costs can be a major part of some senior’s budgets. Too often, as seniors, it can become easy to become complacent in what the current costs of living are, and it becomes easy to overlook the rising costs of everyday living. By reviewing what might seem ordinary, a clearer picture of finances will emerge.
If costs currently exceed incoming income, or are, too close for comfort, consider what areas might be trimmed from the budget, or dealt with in an alternative manner. For example, rising prescription costs might warrant research into reduced prescription costs or even free prescriptions offered through some pharmaceutical companies. Inquire with the physician who prescribed the prescriptions, at the pharmacy where they are filled, or at a local senior center for information about such programs. The cost savings can often range from a few dollars a month into the hundreds. Money can also often be saved in ways that are surprisingly simple. Maybe there are fees or dues being paid out for a club or social event that is no longer used or routinely gone to, or by consolidating services that overlap. Phone bills and internet service providers are good places for such tactics too, especially if the senior lives in a metropolitan area where numerous service providers exist for such services.