This article is contributed by Fiona Manderson.
Everywhere you look today, the costs of living are rising faster than ever and although rates of inflation are nowhere near the levels that those with longer memories may recall from the 70s, prices do seem to be going forever upward.
Whilst the grocery bills and energy costs soar, on a national scale the talk is constantly of ‘austerity’ and government cutbacks for the elderly with free TV licenses and the winter fuel allowance potentially under threat.
Of course we all know from personal experience that if the money is not there to pay for something it simply can’t be purchased. For those who are looking at their pension funds losing value and their savings worth less and less, these can be very worrying times indeed.
Here are five things to think about in order to help balance your budget and tighten the purse strings:
Make sure you are on the best energy tariff. Now that there are several companies competing for your custom as an electricity or gas consumer, there are savings to be made by choosing the right deal. This can be as simple as buying both sources of power from the same provider (often known as a dual-fuel tariff) or making sure you are using the cheapest payment method; which is usually via direct debit or standing order.
Those with a disability or mobility problem should check to see if you are eligible for transport help. Many local authorities offer discounts on cab fares or, if you drive, there is the possibility you may be able to have a ‘blue badge’ which brings many different benefits and can help you retain your independence.
If you are finding it difficult to manage the stairs in your home and are thinking about purchasing a stairlift, there is also the option of rental. This can be a way to avoid a significant outlay whilst enjoying all the same benefits as ownership.
Stairlift rentals are considerably cheaper than paying for the installation outright and mean you are not tied into having the device fitted as a permanent fixture. In fact, stairlift installation is so advanced that it can be fitted to your home without any permanent damage or alterations needed – meaning your home can return to its original state with ease should you choose to have the lift removed.
4. Claim What Is Due To You
Don’t be afraid to claim what is yours – there are many benefits available that you may be eligible for which can impact on your monthly outgoings, such as Council Tax. It costs nothing to contact your council to enquire about this and the Citizen’s Advice Bureau is another great resource for information.
5. Ask For Senior Discounts
Ask for a discount! It doesn’t come easy to some but in the current climate many tradespeople are eager to secure jobs and if you need something doing it won’t do any harm to try and negotiate the best cost for the work.
Fiona Manderson maintains a website for seniors
to help them manage their finances once retired. She also encourages everyone to contribute to an eco friendly world by recycling and saving on unnecessary items. She doesn’t buy gadgets like the iPhone 5 just because they are cool!