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6 Unconventional Budgeting Tips for Seniors Living on Fixed Incomes Who Tend to Overspend

Editor’s note: Today’s post comes to us from Andrea Needham. Andrea is the creator and editor at Elders Day http://eldersday.org. A lifelong writer, she created her website to share information and resources with other seniors who love living it up as they age. Andrea believes our golden years don’t have to be a time to slow down, and she looks forward to sharing the many health-boosting, fulfilling activities and experiences that are perfect for aging adults. Thank you, Andrea!

A budget is usually touted as the key to financial success. However, it isn’t an approach that works well for everyone, particularly those who tend to overspend. As a result, many fixed-income seniors still struggle financially, even if they try to make a reasonable plan.

Fortunately, there are ways to make progress. If overspending is your issue, here are some unconventional budgeting tips that could help you, courtesy of Cville Village.

1. Choose a New Name for Your Budget

In some cases, the word “budget” leaves people uninspired. CNBC notes that it may sometimes encourage a restrictive mindset, which isn’t ideal. If you feel too confined, regardless of whether that sensation is justified, it could make you more inclined to splurge.

However, you can combat this by calling your budget something different. Choose a fun or inspiring name, like “financial wellness plan” or “a roadmap for financial success.” While it’s a small change, it could alter your mindset, making it easier to stick to it long term.

2. Use a Rewards Checking Account or Debit Card for Household Expenses

Rewards checking accounts or debit cards give you a little something extra without the same debt risks that come with credit cards. By using one to cover household expenses, you may earn cash back or points along the way. That can give you extra money to save or could become a source of “fun money” or splurges, allowing you to indulge without breaking the bank.

Just make sure that you choose a rewards checking account or debit card that doesn’t come with any fees. Often, fees offset any rewards you might acquire, defeating the purpose. However, if you can find one where you can meet the requirements to make it free, it could be worth exploring.

3. Get a Money Buddy

Managing your money isn’t usually a ton of fun. However, if you find a money buddy, you can turn it into an enjoyable joint activity. You’ll have a reason to connect with a friend more often, as well as a built-in cheerleader.

There are plenty of money challenges that can serve as a starting point. If you’re feeling bold, Geico suggests trying a no-spend month, though even a no-spend week or weekend could work if you want to start slow. If you usually make purchases in cash, do a loose change challenge, putting all of your coins in a jar. You can save your change digitally, too, setting it into a savings account instead.

However, you can also keep it simple by discussing a financial goal with a friend and having them share one in return. Then, cheer each other on every time you make progress.

You can even use this approach to reduce your expenses. For instance, refinancing your mortgage could let you save on your monthly payments or pay off debt using equity, freeing up cash in your budget. If you could both benefit from making that move, consider doing it together, providing each other with support every step of the way.

4. Wait 72 Hours Before Buying Any Non-Essential

While the 72-hour rule doesn’t have to apply to necessities like groceries or prescriptions, waiting for at least 72 hours before you purchase an item can help you curb overspending. It prevents you from getting caught up in the moment. Plus, it gives you a chance to make sure it’s something you actually need or will use before you buy it.

Use this process for any item that isn’t genuinely needed to live, regardless of the price. That way, you create a habit of reconsidering your unnecessary purchases. Plus, in many cases, if the item didn’t actually matter to you, there’s a chance you’ll completely forget about it, which also works in your budget’s favor.

5. Change the Picture on Your Cards (or Add One to Your Wallet)

Overspending during the spur of the moment can derail any budget. If you’re prone to whipping out a debit or credit card to make a purchase on a whim, use pictures to give yourself pause.

Update your credit or debit card to feature a custom image that reflects your financial goals or priorities. That way, when you go to pay, you get a quick reminder of what’s important, increasing the odds that you’ll change your mind.

Wells Fargo lets customers choose an image for their cards, as well as a few other banks and credit unions. However, if you can’t customize your cards, simply place a small photo in front of where you keep them in your wallet or bag. It’ll work the same way, ensuring you can remind yourself about what matters before you spend.

6. Start a Business

You may scoff at the idea of starting your own business, thinking you’ll need money you don’t have to even get off the ground. But the truth is that starting a business doesn’t need to be an all-in affair. Remember, your goal is to tighten your purse strings, so think of how skills, proficiencies, or hobbies you already have can be turned into a part-time or full-time business. You can use this comprehensive guide on how to start a business with ZenBusiness to help you get a sense of what lies ahead. Then you can use your time more effectively to start bolstering your income.

Financial problems from overspending can be detrimental to your twilight years. With these tips, however, you can break bad habits and begin developing new ones to help curb problem spending!

Image from https://www.worthy.com/blog/next-act/finance/the-top-money-tips-for-older-women/