The cost of living crisis is affecting people across the board, as everyday prices continue to increase. But, since older ones often live off a fixed income, this crisis has been especially difficult for them. Age UK reported that one in ten older people in the UK plan on reducing their social care as a result of the increased cost of living.
There are various ways to save money as an elderly person without compromising on healthcare. From government benefits to simple lifestyle changes, these are our top tips for saving money in 2023.
1.Make a plan or budget
To start saving money, you first need to understand where your money goes. There are many ways to create a budget. The most important thing is knowing how much money you have coming in and where your money is going. Only then can you effectively cut back on expenses.
2. Save on energy bills
Aside from mortgage or rent, energy bills are often the biggest expense you’ll face each month. Fortunately, there are many ways you can save on energy bills, from replacing lightbulbs to spending less time in the shower. Check out our recommendations for 13 quick and easy ways to save on your monthly energy bills.
Energy suppliers in the UK face a competitive market. It’s worth getting quotes from more than one energy supplier to see if you can receive a better deal. Reliable companies, such as Uswitch, can help you compare prices easily and assist you in switching energy suppliers.
3. Create a weekly meal plan
By planning out your weekly meals ahead of time, you can ensure that you save money on unnecessary ingredients when shopping for food. Including leftovers and ingredients you already have in your cupboards can also help save money while reducing waste.
4. Shop for less
When you’re struggling with your finances, it’s common to feel guilty about spending money on ‘non-essential items’. But, with a few simple tips you can still enjoy shopping without feeling guilty!
You can save money when you shop online by utilising vouchers, sales and discount codes. Running a quick Google search is the easiest way to discover discount codes. Just search for “voucher code” and the name of the retailer you’re purchasing from. If you’re not confident online, ask a relative or trusted friend to help you.
You can also save money by purchasing pre-owned items, either online or at charity shops and markets.
5. Save on healthcare costs
Healthcare can be a significant expense for older individuals. You can significantly reduce this expense by taking care of your health. This could include eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly and refraining from smoking. If you find it difficult to exercise, Age UK suggest starting with small activities like regularly standing, or walking around the house.
By staying in good health, you can reduce the need for expensive medical tests and treatments.
You can also reduce the financial impact of healthcare by exploring prescription savings. Consider prescription assistance programs such as a prescription prepayment certificate (PPC) from the NHS. At times, it may be cheaper to order your prescription through a mail-order pharmacy. You can use the GPhC’s register to ensure the online pharmacy is reputable and meets UK standards.
Another way to save on healthcare costs is to utilise preventative care. Scheduling regular check-ups and screenings can help detect health issues early, potentially reducing long-term medical expenses. The use of a personal alarm, such as a fall alarm, will help to prevent serious health complications as they allow for quick medical intervention.
6. Look for cheaper insurance
It can be difficult to secure affordable insurance on a budget. There is a lot of online research involved in finding a good deal, which might be challenging for older individuals. Using a price comparison site can save you a lot of time when looking for an insurance quote you’re happy with. Some sites, such as Compare the Market, even offer reward schemes so you can save money on food or entertainment. If you don’t use email, you can request that Compare The Market contact you by phone or post.
7. Make the most of government benefits
If you’re over the age of 60, you are likely eligible for the following government benefits.
- Free NHS dental treatment
- Discounted travel
- Free eye tests
After age 60, you are eligible for a free eye exam through the NHS, which is typically performed every two years. You can also get help with the cost of glasses if you or your partner receive certain benefits.
- Pension Credit
You can apply for Pension Credit, which provides financial help for your living costs if you are over the State Pension age and on a low income.
- Get help paying your bills
If you live in private housing and claim Pension Guarantee Credit or Pension Savings Credit you may be able to get help paying for your bills. Under the Energy Company Obligation (ECO) scheme, energy providers contribute funds towards energy-saving measures. This could mean installing insulation or having a new boiler fitted, saving you money in the long run. Contact your local council to see if they are participating in the ECO scheme.
- Free TV licence
You can get a free TV licence if you’re over 75 and claim Pension Credit.
Government benefits may vary across the UK, contact your local council for localised information.
8. Beware of scams
Although scams can affect people of all ages, research has shown the elderly are among the biggest targets for scammers. The reasons for this are not clear. It may be because older individuals are generally more trusting and are less tech-savvy than young adults. Here are a few things to keep in mind to protect yourself from scammers:
- If you are offered a deal that seems too good to be true, it probably is. For example, if someone contacts you with news of a free prize, it is likely a scam. The best thing you can do is end the call.
- Avoid making purchases over the phone, unless you know the company is reliable and has a good reputation. If in doubt, visit www.gov.uk/get-information-about-a-company to learn about a company before purchasing anything from them.
- Keep your personal information safe. Your personal information, such as bank statements, your driver’s licence or credit card number, is valuable. You should only share it with people you know and trust.
Age UK has a comprehensive guide on Avoiding scams.
Saving money is a priority for many, especially older ones who may be living on a fixed income. By following the advice in this blog, you can make significant savings in many areas of your life. Whether it’s reducing energy bills, claiming benefits or making small lifestyle changes, there are opportunities for everyone to cut costs and improve their financial situation. With a little effort and some smart choices, you can enjoy a more secure financial future.
If you’re feeling anxious in response to the increased cost of living, consider reaching out to one of the following charities:
- Mental Health & Money Advice offers advice and help for anybody facing mental health issues because of their financial situation.
- Mind helplines are staffed by qualified advisers who understand the connection between money and mental health.
- Age UK’s Advice Line can help you understand which benefits you’re eligible for and how you can apply for them.
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