Many seniors approach the “golden” years with a little less “gold” in their pocket than perhaps they had planned on. It can be challenging to manage a budget when one is living on a relatively fixed income; expenses are anything but fixed! Frankly, it’s one of the reasons that Golden Girls Canada exists – to help like-minded seniors looking for affordable housing options connect with one another. Living on a budget is hard but it shouldn’t make for hard living! If you find yourself in a more precarious position than planned for when you first thought about retirement, today we explore budget friendly options for seniors on a budget and what tops that list? Home sharing of course!
- Shopping Senior Style
Many seniors find grocery shopping on a budget to be a challenge. It’s not so easy to walk into a big box store and buy in bulk. First of all many items are heavy, there is an excess of wasteful packaging (that often, let’s be honest, is hard to undo!) and seniors don’t necessarily need a package of 15 pork chops or 30 double rolls of toilet paper all at once. Bagels that come in packages of 18 will go stale long before they can be eaten. YET, shopping for just three apples, or single serve frozen dinners can end up being pretty costly because you often pay more for some of these “single-serve” items. (Not to mention their nutritional benefits are questionable!) What’s the benefit of home sharing got to do with bulk shopping? Simple – if you and your housemate have already gone through an extensive vetting checklist you know what you have in common and hopefully at least one of those things is a similar taste in food and cooking styles. In that case, while perhaps not bulk shopping, you can at least take advantage of opportunities to stock up on sale items at your local grocer, knowing there are two (or more) of you to partake of the bounty.
- Utilizing the Utilities
Heating, air conditioning, taking a long, hot bath, these are all costs that add up over the course of the month. If you live in a more northerly climate, putting on an extra sweater and bundling up in a blanket might be your only option if you don’t have someone to help share the burden of utility expenses on a cold winter’s night. Shared living helps manage those costs. Set the thermostat to a comfortable temperature and go ahead and splurge on a hot bath knowing that you have at least one other person to help shoulder the burden.
- Taxes and other Burdens
There’s no denying that paying taxes is a burden on anybody and perhaps none more so than a senior, still living in the large, suburban family home but without the family or the business income that was formerly used to maintain it. Finding a new use for the spaces vacated by grown children and perhaps the death or divorce from a spouse is one of the reasons Golden Girls Canada exists. We help seniors find affordable living options, whether that’s renting out one of your spare rooms or becoming the renter of someone else’s spare room. In this way, expenses related to property taxes, municipal education taxes and even other costs like home insurance and home maintenance all become part of the shared expenses – ultimately making things just a little bit more affordable for everyone.
Home sharing won’t necessarily solve all of your budget constraints. We know for example that rising health, pharmaceutical and dental expenses are often unavoidable as we age and last time we checked, prescription costs were a pretty personal thing! That said if you are able to share and otherwise manage the other expenses in your life in a more budget-friendly and conscientious way, it might make managing such expenses as prescription or dental costs just a little bit more affordable. If you’d like to learn more about various home-sharing options or haven’t yet registered with Golden Girls Canada we encourage you to join today. Golden Girls Canada is owned and operated by accredited seniors specialist Dorothy Mazeau who is herself a senior living in a shared housing arrangement. Who better to help fellow seniors consider this kind of lifestyle whether for themselves or a treasured family member?