Fluctuating gas prices and rising costs in everyday commodities such as groceries and prescription drugs have placed a steady burden especially on those individuals with fixed income. If you are living on a fixed income, it is essential to keep unnecessary expenses at a minimum. By adopting a budget plan and exercising smart buying habits, you can take control over your money.
In order to get started, you need to know exactly how much money is available on a timely basis. This depends on the nature of your income such as monthly basis, bi-weekly basis, etc. Once this is established, be sure that all mandatory expenses including rent or mortgage, prescription medications, utilities, food and insurance are covered before pursuing other expenditures.
Smart buying habits are habits that get the most out of your money. Instead of shopping whenever the need arises, plan trips ahead of time. Other tips for getting the most out of your money are:
- Make your home more energy-efficient. For instance, purchasing energy efficient light bulbs can save you money in the long run. Also, consider improving home insulation to save on the heating bill.
- Watch for sales at grocery or retail stores and consider cooking more and eating out less. Planning meals around seasonal goods is another cost-saving measure.
- When using coupons, be sure that the transaction is a bargain.
- If you have ample room for storage, consider buying some items in bulk.
- Watch for price patterns in your local gas stations. Gas prices tend to be cheaper in the beginning of the week.
Establish an emergency fund. In case of an unexpected major expense from immediate medical attention and/or repairs, consistently set aside an amount from your monthly budget into a separate bank account.
An effective budget is a flexible one. Keep the parts that work for you and adjust the rest according to changes in your finances. Be sure to review your budget periodically.
From an early age, I've always imagined myself in a role that served people in need. My sole satisfaction would be the knowledge that lives were better off thanks to my services. These musings didn't stem from careful deliberation nor obedience to a certain philosophy. Of course, there clearly was naivete within these musings. My service needed to be acknowledged and appreciated and for such service to be worthy of appreciation it needed to be grandiose in scale. Adoring crowds seemed to be the main purpose seemingly as the ultimate goal. As I spent most of my younger years in a small town, Macon, GA, these musings remained musings as I conveniently reasoned that there was a lack of an appreciable crowd. Yet, the unquestioning urge to serve still remained through high school. I became interested in volunteering for the less fortunate. I avidly participated in an organization called Meals on Wheels which home-delivered meals to senior citizens and the invalid. Through this experience, I was exposed to a vast clientele with diverse backgrounds. The clients that struck me most were those burdened both physically and financially by illness. While weaving through the clutter of life-sustaining equipment in a cramped apartment, I still can't forget the smile the bedridden gentleman gave as I delivered his dinner. Safe to say, from then on, I started to understand and appreciate the significance of such seemingly small and trivial acts in people's lives. I have been committed ever since. I'm currently a junior majoring in Chemistry at UNC-Chapel Hill and still strive to serve the less fortunate in small but significant ways. I am currently volunteering as staff in the Orange County Rape Crisis Center. I also volunteer as a companion with the non-profit group A Helping Hand. A Helping Hand is a companionship service for senior citizens and temporarily or permanently disabled citizens. When I don't muse about the various differences I could and should be making in people's lives, I enjoy hiking and playing tennis. I am deeply interested in the current health care reform debate and hope to pursue a career in medicine. I also wish to continue writing about the evolution of health care and its socioeconomic impact on the lives of everyday Americans.
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