If you’re living on a fixed income, every penny counts! Use this checklist to make sure you’re saving money where you can.
1. Current Expenses
Take the time to compile all of your current obligations (supplemental health insurance, prescription drug insurance, life insurance, etc.) and examine if you have the most cost-effective plan for you and/or if all plans are still relevant. Consult with a trusted information source before terminating plans. When assessing your prescription drug plans, consider reaching out to your local State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), where you can get free information about Medicare, including apply for and selecting plans.
2. Health Insurance
If you’re enrolled in Medicare and have limited income and assets, you may be able to put over $100 back in your monthly Social Security check and minimize your premiums and co-pays by learning more about Medicare Savings Programs. There are four different Medicare Savings Programs that can help with Part B premiums and other costs. Each program has a different income and resource eligibility limit.
3. Prescription Drugs
If you qualify, Medicare’s Extra Help and local prescription drug assistance programs can help you cut your medicine costs.
4. Property Taxes
Legally whittle down your annual tax bill with help from local abatement, circuit rider, or work-off programs. On average, you can save $500–$2,000 annually with this assistance.
In many states, individuals over a certain age qualify for a free cell phone plan. Consider switching from a land line to a free mobile phone. Lifeline also offers a discount on local phone services for qualified individuals. Each state has its own rules.
6. Volunteering/Community Service
Get paid to give back—Senior Corps and the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) provide paid stipends for service.
7. Use Your Home to Stay at Home™
If you own your home, it’s your biggest asset. Learn about timely and appropriate ways to leverage your home equity to stay independent.
8. Senior Discounts
Many retailers offer discounts to older customers on certain days of the week. Consider making all your purchases on that day, so you can receive an additional discount.
9. Estate Planning
“Must have” legal documents include a will for property distribution decisions, a living will for health care decisions, and a durable power of attorney to designate a personal representative in the event of incapacity. Also, consider a written plan for distributing untitled personal property (e.g., jewelry, furniture, and collectables) to heirs or charitable organizations to reduce confusion and family conflicts.
10. More Help
Find out what other public benefits you may be eligible for by getting a free online screening through NCOA’s BenefitsCheckUp® service. Or find help in your area by visiting Eldercare Locator, a service of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
Source: National Council on Aging