Thursday, December 19, 2013

5 Ways to Reduce Living Expenses and Save Money

As adults brace for their fiftieth birthday and continue to grow older, they worry more about the unlikely possibility of comfortable retirement. Although the economy slowly grows and unemployment rates drop, many older adults find themselves forced or willing to work into their 60s and later in life.

They still have mortgages to pay, college tuition for their children, car payments, and other bills that reduce their savings accounts or retirement funds. Those individuals not able to consider or not wanting to retire must readjust their long term life plans.

That’s why now presents an ideal time to change your lifestyle, lead a healthier life, count your pennies, live within your means, and save. The cost of living will not cease to rise while annual salaries and benefits remain stagnant.

The only way for these older adults to brace for change, prepare for a possible delayed retirement, and to save is through changing the way they live in small, significant ways.

1. Conserve Home Utilities

Reduce the utility bills and save energy at home. Often, especially during the winter or summer months the heating and electric bills paralyze home owners, especially those still paying mortgages.

Take the tiny steps to decreasing that utility bill by shortening the length of showers, washing the dishes, the number of times you wash clothes per week. Turn off lights when possible. Unplug power adapters to computers, tablets, and cell phones that can consume costly electricity. During winter and summer, keep the thermostat at a reasonable temperature and do not change it often. Maintaining a consistent temp ensures less electricity, gas, or oil usage.

If possible, perhaps invest in an energy efficient dishwasher, washing machine, or other household appliances. More energy efficient homes and eco-friendly houses are popping up everywhere. Consider the investment of roof solar panels if you have the necessary funds or think the investment is worthwhile after a consultation.

If you’re not overly reliant on cable television and internet within the home, then eliminate that costly monthly bill. Most individuals have internet access via their smartphones when home. Save the long computer tasks for a couple hours at Starbucks, the local public library, after hours at work, or any places of business that provide complimentary Wi-Fi.

2. Rent to a Tenant

After the kids moved away from home and went off to college, it’s time to start considering renting their rooms. A tenant will help pay the utility bills and even their extra rent contributes to a mortgage. When maintaining a house, the living expenses can grow out of control quickly.

3. Downsize

As individuals grow older, maintaining a larger house proves more difficult. Older parents don’t have the time, money, or resources to maintain a large house that was once necessary for their families.

Fight the urge to keep every piece of furniture, old stationary bikes, and anything you might find useful one day and downsize your home. Those individuals in their 50s or older lived through countless shifting economies that leave them with a frugal mindset. Instead donate, sell, or trash the unnecessary items in your home. Rent or sell the house and move into a smaller condo or apartment.

4. Credit Card Benefit Programs

If you failed to do so already, apply for one or two credit cards that boast fantastic reward programs. There are countless credit cards offered through VISA, American Express, Discover, Capital One, and Chase that provide numerous cash back opportunities on daily purchases such as gas, food, eating out at restaurants, online shopping, and even going to the movie theatre. You can earn redeemable points on travel for cash or free flights.

5. Short Term Loans

When entering old age, it’s important to know your financing options, especially in the event of unemployment that creates financial emergencies. Absorbing unemployment in your 50s could very well be nightmarish initially. Don’t let that unfortunate experience side track you financially.

While searching for a new job or in between jobs, there are lending options available to help pay for living expenses such as groceries, gas, rent, or utility bills. Explore the options of personal loans through lending institutions such as the ones available at or with friends, credit cards, payday loans, and short term bank loans. These borrowing options save money in late payment fees, late rent payment charges, and related expenses.

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