Ways for seniors to save money

Posted by Becky Gulden

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - It's day nineteen of our series 20 days, 20 ways to survive the economy.

If you are close to retirement or already at that point, you may be concerned about your finances.

There are more than 108,000 adults over the age of 60 living in Mecklenburg County and that number is expected to exceed a quarter million in less than twelve years!

The problem with retirement is many folks live on a fixed income.  So if you are wondering how you can stretch your dollars there are some ways.

Start by writing down you rincome and expenses to identify the things you may be able to influence.

Here's some advice from Deborah Sparks from the Mecklenburg County Council on Aging.

Your Home and Your Pocketbook

  • Take advantage of the Low Income Energy Assistance Program and the Weatherization Assistance Program
  • If your television uses rabbit ears or a similar antenna, contact CoA for the government discount coupon application that saves you $40 on the purchase of a digital converter box.  Do this now so you don't miss out.
  • Clip and carry coupons for products you ordinarily buy; use a shopping list to avoid impulse purchases
  • Save smaller containers or dispensers for soaps and other consumables that you can be refilled from bulk containers-saving money and its eco-friendly!
  • Ask for Senior Discounts!  Many retailers offer them on all kinds of products and you've earned them!

Your Health

  • If your health insurance and/or prescription coverage is provided by Medicare, it is time to review your coverage and determine whether a change before the end of December would be to your advantage
  • If you reside in NC; are Medicare beneficiary 65+ and have $18,200 or less in income; you may be eligible for NCRx which pays up to $29 each month toward your medications;
  • Request generic prescriptions whenever available and approved by your doctor;
  • Call around to find pharmacies that will work with you to reduce your costs;
  • Don't allow yourself to become isolated-go to a Senior Center, a YMCA seniors' program or your faith community to engage in inexpensive or free activities.  Some sites provide congregate meals so you can enjoy a meal and some company.  Find out if public transportation is available to keep your costs down.

Your Holiday Gift List - Keep it Short & Simple (KISS)

  • Bake your signature recipes in quantity but wrap them up in small batches as a special holiday "treat;"
  • Sort through family photos.  Mark the names and dates on the back.  Put one or two photos in a card with a short story about when they were taken.  Memories are priceless!
  • Write to friends and loved ones that you are thinking of them at the Holidays with love and prayers-what better gift is there?
  • Most importantly and especially as the Holidays approach, do not be embarrassed if you are having a difficult time.  Many, many people are having similar problems.  If you're feeling overwhelmed or don't know what your options are, there are organizations that want to help.

A unique and important resource you can use if you live in Mecklenburg County is Just-1-Call.  It's stabbed by resource specialists who can help you with services and support. That number is 704.432.1111.