This is about how to make your income go farther.
| How toLive On a Fixed Income
When Fixed Income Means Getting By:
Living on a fixed income can be hard but does not have to mean just getting by. As a married couple, my husband and I get $1479.00 a month. At first we were just making it. Rent took up about 50 percent of our social security. We were only getting $162.00 in food stamps; therefore another 25 percent went for more food. That meant we had to cut out a lot of the things we wanted to do.
Making a Budget on a Fixed Income:
I started to work out a budget. At first it seemed like we were always broke. As time went on we could see we were making headway. Just a little at first a couple dollars here and there. Here are some of the changes we made:
o Buy in bulk at bulk stores
o Looking closely at non-essentials
o Defining what our monthly expenses were
o Stop robbing peter to pay Paul
Having to live on a fixed income gives us a more stable lifestyle. We know exactly how much money we will have each month. By understanding our income we could use a "working" budget. For example: we use wood to heat with and propane to cook with. Both cost the same, $65; however we do not need to buy both every month. One month we bought propane. This will last about three months. So for two months we buy wood. This helps to stock pile wood in the summer months when we do not need to use the wood. It is not hard to make up a budget. I use my Excel in my Microsoft Office but there are a number of accounting programs out there and some are free. For those who do not have a computer there is always the old fashion way with paper and pencil, whatever works. The hardest part is sticking to it.
Buying in bulk
Buying bulk is cheaper in the long run. When buying meat you can save by going shopping early to get the manager's "specials". These are meats that are packaged before midnight. Also in most stores you have them grind a chuck roast into "ground beef" for free. When you at hamburger and ground beef choose the ground beef that is 85% to 90% or better. Why you ask. Hamburger fries up into grease whereas ground beef when you fry it up you have more meat. And it is healthier. Also, turn you burner down and cook with low heat.
Do not rob Peter to pay Paul
When rob one bill to pay another you rob yourself. Both bills have to be paid. So, what is the answer? I have found that by paying what you can both bills you make everyone happy. It shows you are trying and most companies would rather get something rather than noting. One of the things I have started to, after we got some of the bills paid off, was to pay ahead. At first it might be just five or ten dollars but each month it would add up. However, I remember how good it felt when we got a light bill with a balance for "0" dollars but I still paid ahead and it helped to keep the bills manageable.
Having Fun on a Fixed Income:
We found that there is life on social security. There are so many things out there free or nearly free:
o Volunteer work
o There are classes at the local college you can attend for free.
o Meet-up with friends for coffee
o Museums and libraries
These are only a few things we do to have fun. We still go out once a month to eat. Just not to high price restaurants.