By Sandy Barnes
In these challenging financial times, much advice is being offered about ways to save money and live frugally. For many senior adults living on a fixed income, money management is especially critical.
Making a realistic budget can be an essential tool for getting and keeping a handle on finances. While there are many sources of information about how to develop a budget, a recent article on the MSN Money Web site offers these helpful guidelines:
- First, figure out where your money is going each month. Tally expenses, keeping careful records.
- Decide which expenses are wants and which are needs.
- Assess grocery and utility bills and consider ways to reduce them.
- Review telephone and cable TV bills.
- Balance expenses with total income and see where deficits may be.
- Account for big expenses that occur once or twice a year such as property taxes and car insurance.
- Prioritize expenses and eliminate unessential ones, if necessary.
- Include an emergency fund for unexpected expenses such as home and care repairs.
- Use a debit card instead of a credit card to keep down debt accumulation.
- Review your budget each month and make necessary adjustments.