Living on a frugal income can now be regarded as a necessity for many of us seniors. Our cost of living is a talking point, especially for boomers. We’re either pensioners or on a fixed income. We need to consider budgeting for increases in petrol, food, utility bills, or for any tradesperson. Personal entertainment costs have had to be slashed for so many of us.
It’s not quite the retirement lots of us had planned. I must say, I try to budget, do you? But then there can be unexpected expenses, for example, if anything dramatic happened to my economical little car. But, I’m fortunate that I can keep a buffer zone for that. Some people have sold their second car to help reduce their costs to the household budget.
So, how do I try to keep costs down?
With my weekly shopping, I look for half-price specials and discounts. Some weeks, I buy frozen foods on special, instead of fresh vegetables which are not in season. Seasonal fresh fruit and vegetables can be the cheaper option and we must be more flexible when choosing what’s available and affordable.
We can also plan our weekly meals and only buy what’s needed for the household to help reduce waste. I no longer eat sweets or desserts, which has lowered my costs. Carbs were reduced.
While in the kitchen, I plan meatless meals regularly and no longer dine in cafes. We can all browse for low-cost recipes to suit. Cooking at home can be a fun hobby too, trying out new recipes. I like to focus on plant-based foods, adapting my taste buds. Such food intake is good for staying healthy as long as we are able, as well as helping to lower our health costs. Friends of mine are growing their own vegetables now. A true gift these days is two fresh homegrown lettuces! That’s a sign of a great friend!
Next, I can consider my petrol bill. Like my senior acquaintances, we are rolling our short trips into doing several at once. We’re more used to being homebodies these days. Looking at my car insurance bill, I did budget for that which is great, and I’m getting a loyalty discount for not claiming. So far, so good.
Regular routine car servicing is maintaining my ‘hot wheels’. That will be a big bill right on Christmas. My friends and family this year will be receiving hand-crafted ornaments. This is whether they like crocheting or not!
If I need a big ticket item, I check prices and sizes, then purchase something on special. I keep hoping to have my appliances functioning as long as possible. Additionally, to lower my costs, I no longer have cable television, and the daily newspaper subscription is cancelled. We can read the newspapers online.
When the evenings are drawing on, lots of us like to walk around, checking out gardens, and sunsets. Getting fit is free, really. I must say I once used to drive to a gym in an air-conditioned car. Real luxury. These days, I do home gym exercises, lifting soup cans for weight resistance.
For people who wish for a focus, we could volunteer at a local food bank or community kitchen, to share with others in the same boat, or worse. It’s somewhere to go and meet people in the neighbourhood. Some areas have parks to enjoy or free concerts in some areas.
If I wish to wander around my nearby shopping mall, I ask myself, “Will I need this in 3 days’ time?” If not, it’s good to avoid impulse buying. So, I get to the free library instead. Literacy is a first-world blessing, so I appreciate that privilege.
The gas bill approaches. So I lower my thermostat and cross that bridge as it happens. Frugal living is our new norm. People on fixed incomes can explore any entitlements from the government, as well as ask for senior discounts.
We rein in our spending and hope for the best. Not only for us seniors but for any adult children and growing grandchildren. The government we elected must make practical plans, to look after us all, especially the vulnerable in our society.
What are you doing to lower your costs?