Receiving Less and Spending More: A Senior Citizen Dilemma

May 17th, 2010 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

A safe formula  retirees are recommended to live with is to spend less as you advance in age.  That’s a worthy idea, but one that seems  difficult to fit into today’s economy.  We are doing our best by reducing expenses to the bare minimum.  We do not impulse buy nor do we splurge in our spending.  Monthly necessary expenses are kept to the minimum, but there are still those items that resist reduction and adjustment. Many seniors are in this situation, and today we have the following suggestions to offer:

  • Keep a careful accounting of monthly outgo.  Attempt to winnow it down where you can; the winnowing always seems to cry out for more expense and less reduction of costs. Take a look at clothing, groceries utilities; for most of us, medical costs are not negotiable; prescriptions and over-the-counter products are generally necessary.  Look at any frivolous expense that may eat into your monthly budget.
  • Automobile costs are a necessity for most of us senior citizens; however, take a look at whether or not you need that second vehicle. If you don’t, sell it, or better yet, give it to a grandchild just learning to drive.
  • Even with all that most of us are living within a budget that consumes almost all our income from pensions, social security and minor other sources.  Try to leave  untouched the principal of your investments; dip into it only if necessary.
  • Most of us, in retirement, have learned not to become too dependent on credit cards, but to pay them down to zero each month, thus avoiding interest costs.  When purchasing larger items, make it a habit to do so at zero per cent financing, thus using their money, not ours.  There are ways to introduce frugality, but not many.
  • The effort is to try to say no to expenses that can be eliminated from your monthly costs.  Eating out, we find, is a biggie.  Over all, abiding by a set of disciplines which will enable the monthly budget to reflect prudence and good judgment is the best advice to follow.  Otherwise, anxiety has a way of creating stress and unnecessary conflict in the family.

If you don’t need it, don’t buy it. If you need it, but can live without it, don’t buy it.  If you need it and must have it, give it a few days before making the purchase.  Eventually, those items will fade into the past and your need of them will likely be enormously less crucial and important.



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