Many elderly people find themselves on a fixed income in later life. For most, this comes in the form of a pension or some kind of benefit. Unfortunately, this can make it difficult to keep up with ever-rising bills and payments. Elderly people can also find themselves with health issues which in turn can be costly, and make it even more difficult to save money. Even if your loved one is living comfortably and has some extra cash to spare, it’s never a bad idea to try and reduce your bills, saving up more cash for a rainy day or special occasion!
A study by Age UK found that nearly one million people over the age of 65 have had to cut back in certain areas in order to pay their bills or afford food for the month. At Careline365, we know saving money and making it stretch from month to month can be difficult. That’s why we’ve put together this helpful guide to reducing your bills. Thankfully, there are lots of things you and your elderly loved ones can do to save a few pounds here and there.
One very easy way of saving money and reducing bills is by turning appliances off at the main power source when they’re not in use! Energy bills can be expensive, so this is a great area to try and reduce costs in any way you can. Lots of appliances keep using power even when they’re switched off or on standby.
The best solution is to turn things off at the mains power switch when they aren’t being used. Things like televisions, radios and computers may appear to be completely switched off, but the best way to make sure they’re not sucking up power is to turn them off at the wall!
You could also try suggesting that your loved one or elderly parents cut back on their heating. A lot of people stick to one room in the day time and evening, so consider having the heating on in certain rooms rather than the whole house. Do be cautious as cold weather can be a health hazard. Make sure that your loved one is keeping warm when it’s needed.
Pay Bills Annually
This tip may not be an option for everybody, but for those who can afford to, paying for services annually is a fantastic way to save money and reduce bills in the long run! Many services such as car insurance and council tax will give the option to pay monthly or upfront for a full year or six month period.
Generally, the annual payments work out far cheaper. However, this requires you to have a larger sum of money available, which many people don’t. If your loved one is considering paying for something upfront, it’s a good idea to take other bills into account. There’s no point paying a lump sum but then finding there’s not enough money for the month’s other expenses.
It may seem silly, but negotiating or haggling with a provider for utility bills or a retailer when purchasing goods could save a reasonable amount of money. Some providers also offer special discounts for older people. If your elderly loved ones are looking to save, don’t be afraid to mention their age!
The main thing to remember when bargaining for money off is ‘if you don’t ask, you don’t get’. Don’t be afraid to ask for a discount, even if it’s on something inexpensive. Businesses may not advertise that they offer discounts or are willing to negotiate, but many will!
Cut Down on Excessive Spending
We all like to treat ourselves now and then. Life is too short not to have a little fun! Then again, it’s important to budget carefully, especially for people who are on a fixed income. If your elderly loved ones are looking to save on expenses, there are ways you can help. Suggest that your loved one writes down every non-essential purchase they make in one month. Then sit down with them and go through these costs. You might be able to help them find more affordable alternatives or better deals on the luxuries the love.
For example, if they frequently buy from a brand that is on the expensive side, there may be a cheaper alternative on the market. Take a look online to see if you can find an equivalent – or even a bargain deal on the product they like! If your loved one wants to save on trips out, see our guides to saving on entertainment and dining out. You could also suggest cutting back on trips and making the event a less frequent special treat. Better yet, look into your local library – they may have DVDs for your loved one to borrow as well as books. Accompany the film with a fancy meal from the supermarket, rather than one from an expensive restaurant!
Take Advantage of Benefits
There are lots of helpful benefits which you can claim in later life. From utility bills to travel, there might be something that you or your loved ones are missing out on, so make sure you do your research. Places like Which have helpful articles that cover a lot of the benefits that apply to older people. Here are a few examples of things where senior discounts and allowances apply:
- Council tax reduction.
- Free bus pass.
- Discounted cinema tickets.
- Free eye tests and prescriptions.
- Winter Fuel Allowance
- Attendance allowances.
Pay with Cash
This may seem silly, but using cash instead of a credit or debit card could save money. Nowadays, it’s so easy to spend money with contactless payments and one-click purchasing. At times, it can be difficult to conceive how much money you’re spending when it’s just numbers leaving a bank account. However, when you’re handing over real-life cash, it’s far easier to see how much money is leaving your pockets.
Here’s a good budgeting exercise that you and your elderly loved ones can try together. Decide how much money you’d each like to spend for that week or month and take it out in cash. It may make you think twice when handing over the money and you’ll all end up considering your purchases more carefully!
If your loved one is serious about saving money and reducing bills, downsizing could be a good option. Generally, a smaller property means smaller bills, reduced council tax, lower energy and water usage and more money to spare. However, there are several important things to consider before taking the leap and moving house. This goes double in later life when being settled is important:
- Stress – Moving house is stressful, there’s no doubt about it. Will the amount of money saved be worth the stress of selling and buying a new property?
- Space – If your loved one downsizes, will they have enough room for their things? It might be time to consider going through belongings and selling or donating any unwanted items.
- Time – Moving takes time, there’s no guarantee that a property will sell quickly and buying a property (especially with a chain) is notoriously time-consuming.
Invest in a Careline Alarm
Home care can be incredibly expensive. Save money by investing in a Careline Personal Alarm system. The alarm allows for your elderly parents or loved one to live happily at home for as long as possible, without having to think about the cost of a carer or moving into a care home. If they ever have a fall, they can simply press their pendant button to call for assistance. Our friendly Care Team will respond right away and send help directly to their home.
If you would like more information about the alarm, you can find out more on our website, take a look at our price packages or get in touch with our Customer Service team. You can contact the Customer Service team by giving them a call on 0800 101 3333, sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by filling out our online Contact Us form.
Note: we updated this article on 15/12/20 to include the latest information.
Originally published 25/10/18.