budgeting tips

Recently Retired? Use these Budgeting Tips to Get Ahead in the New Year

Now that you’ve retired after working hard for the past few decades, you’ll want to spend some of your free time enjoying yourself as much as possible. However, it will now be more important than ever to create an effective retirement budget that will ensure that you don’t run out of money – especially if you know that you won’t be able to go back to work at any time. 

Below are some tips that will enable you to budget your retirement income as effectively as possible:

Know how much you’ll Need Each Month

Most individuals spend less after retiring than they did while working and financial experts suggest that expenses during this time of your life will be up to 20% less. For example, if you spent $2,000 while employed, chances are that your post-retirement budget will be approximately $1,600 per month. Keep in mind that this scenario is not absolute – some retirees will need to spend more than others. 

Determining how much you’ll need each month will involve making a list of all expenses such as rent/mortgage, property taxes, transportation, groceries, medical expenses, subscriptions and any other discretionary expenditure.

Shop around to Try and Reduce Regular Bills

If you’ve grown accustomed to using the same utility companies, cell service providers, insurance companies or any other providers that charge monthly rates, chances are that you may not be getting the best deals possible anymore. 

Nowadays, companies often change their offerings without informing existing customers. It’s recommended that you take some time to review all existing policies; subscriptions and recurring bills to see if any better rates can be negotiated – over time, this could reduce the amount of money you need to live on each month quite substantially.

Consider Moving to a Lower Cost of Living Area

The lower you can trim your monthly expenses, the further your retirement income will go – and one of the best ways to reduce the amount of money you need is to relocate to an area that’s more affordable to live in. Examples of states that offer lower costs of living include Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, West Virginia, Missouri, Nevada and Indiana.

Downsize your Living Space

Regardless of whether you still carry a mortgage or not, holding on to the large family home where you raised your children may not make the most sense financially. It may be a good idea to sell up and purchase a smaller property that will be easier and more cost-effective to maintain. This will not only ease your budget; you’ll also be able to enjoy more free time because of having less maintenance and cleaning to do. 

It’s also important to remember that a lot of fun can be enjoyed for free or at very low cost when you’re a senior citizen. Community and senior centers often have several activities on the go, while museums and a number of other public entertainment venues offer steep discounts to older persons. 

If you would like advice regarding how to stretch your retirement income as much as possible without having to resort to drastic measures, contact our financial advisors today. 

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kids money

Kids Always Asking for Money? Here’s how they can Earn It

Does it seem like your kids are always asking for money to purchase the latest toys, games or other items their little hearts desire? While it may seem easier to just shell out the cash, this won’t teach them anything about managing their finances when they get older. 

One of the best lessons you can teach your children is that they will have to earn the money they need to buy the things they want – and the good news is that technology has made it easier than ever for kids to earn a few extra dollars to spend. 

Here are some kid-friendly income generating ideas you can present to your children the next time they ask you for a cash handout:

Start a Yard Service Business

Performing yard work is probably one of the oldest methods around that allows kids to earn their own money and it’s now possible for them to advertise their services online instead of trudging from door to door in your suburb to let neighbors know about their service offerings, such as raking leaves, mowing lawns, watering plants and doing general yard cleanups.

Dog Walking

With life becoming busier than ever for most adults, this doesn’t leave much time in their schedules for taking Fido out on a daily walk. Offering this service will not only allow your kids to earn some spending money; they will be getting a good amount of exercise and spending time with animals while out walking – a favorite activity for many children.

Teach Others how to Use Technology

Many older persons struggle to master using various gadgets and today’s kids are more tech-savvy than anyone else. If your child has a little patience and enjoys showing others how to use apps, set up their phone or computer or even navigate the internet, they could make a decent amount of money teaching older folk how to perform these tasks.

Organize other People’s Stuff

If your older child has a knack for keeping their own stuff well organized, they could put these skills to use for others and earn money doing so. A number of individuals simply don’t know where to start when it comes to getting their living spaces organized in a practical way, so they are normally more than willing to pay someone else to do it for them.

Run Errands

Older children are more than capable of running errands such as dropping off or collecting items at the post office, delivering and picking up dry cleaning and doing grocery shopping and delivering the goods afterwards. You may need to be willing to assist at times, such as when a particularly large grocery order needs to be dropped off at a neighbor though. 

Although the above-mentioned ideas will involve a fair amount of physical labor, they will also teach your child a valuable lesson in that hard work pays off. If they’re willing to put in the labor, they will quickly realize that it gives them some of the buying power that they so desire – especially as they become older. 


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Approaching Retirement on a Budget? How you can Keep Home Maintenance Costs Affordable

When questioned about where they want to live, a significant amount of those aged 65 and older state that they would prefer to stay in their own homes for as long as possible. This allows them to still remain a part of the activities in their communities that they have become accustomed to over the years.

However, living in your own home during your golden years can present some challenges, especially where property maintenance is concerned. You may be finding it difficult to climb ladders and change bulbs, clean gutters and perform other repairs – while also struggling to find reliable and reputable tradespeople or businesses to get the job done for you. 

Below are some available options for getting various types of maintenance performed in and around your home – allowing you to remain independent for as long as possible:

Seek Out Community Organizations

These days, many communities are served by various nonprofit organizations that can enable retirees to have home maintenance performed at extremely affordable rates – or even free of charge in some cases. Although organizations that offer these services will differ depending on the area you live in, one of the easiest ways to find out if any assistance is available is to visit your local senior center. Some libraries may have information in this regard as well.

Don’t Overlook Home Healthcare Providers

Many seniors already benefit from helpers or aides who come to their homes and assist with basic cleaning tasks such as vacuuming, dusting and general tidying up. Although these individuals usually won’t perform home repairs or general maintenance, there’s a strong chance that they will know of someone reliable and affordable that will be able to perform any repairs that may be needed.

Ask Family and Friends for Assistance

When any type of help is needed around the house, one of the best options for retirees is to consider asking friends and family if they will be able to help or whether they know of anyone else that can provide the assistance that’s needed. 

If you’re part of a religious community, you may find that youth groups and other volunteers will be more than willing to perform home repairs and other types of upkeep such as raking leaves, watering plants, trimming trees and shrubs or even applying a coat of paint in some cases. 

Retirees can also benefit from speaking with neighbors about any home maintenance needs they may have. Although the neighbors may not be able to perform the required tasks, they may know of reliable contractors who will be able to offer the best possible rates. 

While it may become more difficult for you to perform DIY and general home maintenance projects, help is often available out there. Most importantly, you should never be afraid to ask for help when it comes to taking care of your home – a number of individuals and organizations will usually be more willing to assist than you realize. 

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impulse shopping

Avoiding Impulse Purchases while Shopping

One of your budget’s biggest enemies is that of impulse purchases. Despite going into Target to ‘only get a few things,’ you end up leaving the store with new décor items, some bath towels and new kitchen glassware as well. If you find that you’re falling prey to impulse shopping more and more often, the tips below will help get you back on track and beating the urge to purchase unnecessary items.

Don’t go to the Mall Unnecessarily

You’ll only get the urge to purchase something if you’ve seen it while browsing, so stay out of malls and other shopping areas unless you truly need to be there. While at the mall, only go to the stores you have to be at as well – this will prevent you from seeing anything else that ‘would be nice to have,’ but that wasn’t even a consideration before you’d actually seen it.

Edit your Junk Mail

 The main reason why companies send out junk mail is to encourage consumers to purchase more of their products and services – regardless of whether they’re needed or not. Items you purchase as a result of ‘seeing them in a junk mail advert’ are classified as impulse buys – again, you wouldn’t have bought the items previously because you hadn’t seen it before.

Start by getting your name off of as many mailing lists as possible – online and offline. A non-profit organization called 41pounds.org can be a big help regarding getting your details removed from physical junk mailing lists, while the ‘unsubscribe’ button on shopping emails can become your best friend at a time like this as well.

Pay with Cash

Several studies have shown that when shoppers pay cash instead of whipping out the debit or credit card, they will usually spend a lot less because it’s physiologically more difficult to part with physical money. Individuals who pay cash for their purchases end up spending as much as 50% less than if they had used a card to pay for the goods.

De-clutter before Buying Anything New

Before allowing anything new to be brought into your home, implement a rule that sees one old item being sold or given away first. This will not only prevent your home from becoming too cluttered over time; it will also remind you of the items you already have – chances are that you may already have something similar at home to the item you’re looking at in the store window.

Ask yourself some Questions

Before picking up that new item, ask yourself if it will improve your life in any way, if it will help you achieve one of your life goals or whether it will make your life easier or not. Answering these questions will help you evaluate whether it will be beneficial to purchase the item or not.

Resisting impulse purchases will not only help ensure that your home remains as clutter-free as possible; over time, your bank account will also thank you because you’ll be able to save more money – that can be used at a later time to purchase something that you may have been wanting for a long time.

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