Improving Life on a Fixed Income » Montana Senior News

Improving Life on a Fixed Income

By ALYSSA WINBERG

Life on a fixed income may seem difficult, but it is doable if you’re willing to make some lifestyle changes. A large number of retirees without 401(k) plans or pensions will end up living off of social security alone, which on average brings in a modest $1,461 a month, according to U.S. News & World Report.

“The maximum possible Social Security benefit for someone who retires at full retirement age is $2,861 in 2019. However, a worker would need to earn the maximum taxable amount, currently $132,900 for 2019, over a 35-year career to get this Social Security payment.” If you’re panicking about living off of a small monthly income, here are five tips for living a quality life while living on a meager fixed income.

Think about Downsizing

If you live in a large home, it’s time to start thinking about selling it, finding a smaller home, and saving the money from your sale. You most-likely don’t need a large home any longer, and you can really use the extra money and less upkeep. As you get older, a small home is safer and more fitting for your lifestyle anyways. It’s understandable to be very attached to your long-term family home. It may hold many memories and milestones, but at the end of the day, your memories will last forever, and you have to do what is best for your financial situation.

Get Rid of Your Car

If you no longer need your car, sell it. If possible, take public transit to get around. This will get you some extra cash in your pocket as well as save money on maintenance, repairs, insurance, and so much more. Your monthly insurance cost could go toward other necessities. If a car is necessary for you, keep it and save money in other areas, but if it is sitting in the garage most of the time, sell it and never look back.

Shop Smart

When it comes to grocery shopping, don’t be embarrassed to save every coupon you get in the mail, and only buy things that are on sale. Try not to only buy foods you want, such as junk food and candy, but instead, stick to foods you need. Eliminating junk food from your grocery list can save you a large chunk of money every month and can also be extremely beneficial to your health. Consider shopping at discount stores and comparing prices. These things take time but save money.

Cook Your Own Meals

Going out to eat adds up quickly. Cooking your own meals will save you money and will probably lead to much healthier eating as you will be more conscious about what you are putting into your body. Go online to find millions of nutritional recipes, from extremely simple and easy to complex and gourmet. Whatever your experience level is, there are recipes out there for you. If cooking is new to you, it may be a fun new hobby.

Here’s a healthy and budget-friendly meal plan from Market Watch.

Eat one piece of fruit in the morning along with a boiled or poached egg and a plain unsalted biscuit.

For lunch, eat turkey or chicken breast, poached fish or other lean pieces of meat accompanied by steamed vegetables, such as kale and red beets, tomatoes, or others that are in season. Eat fresh salads, prepared from ingredients that are in season. Cut down on or eliminate dressing altogether.

And for dinner, eat small lean cuts of beef or veal. By boiling or steaming your meats, fish and your vegetables, you’ll discover a brand-new world of flavors. Steamed meat is much easier to digest.

Stay away from fried and starchy foods such as fries, bread, or cakes. Anything fried can affect your health.

Ideally, your complete monthly budget for food should not exceed $360.

Exercise Weekly

Whether you like to walk around your neighborhood or swim laps in a pool, being active at least three days a week will be instrumental to your health. This will lead to fewer medications and doctor visits, helping you to be healthier and happier. It will also save you money in the long run. Take baby steps and do what works for you.

These five tips will not only help you to save money but will also lead to better health habits. Living on a small monthly income may sound scary, but it is certainly doable, and you are not alone in it. Remember to think about the necessities and how the “extras” can be illuminated to cut costs. MSN

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