Strategies For Making Ends Meet: Cutting Costs

Most of us have a fixed amount of money to live on and there are strategies for getting the most out of it. When we discover and use these strategies, we can improve the quality of our lives.

The Relationship Between Quality of Life and Income

Are there ways to live better within your budget? If we spend our resources on what we get the most fulfillments from, we can have a high quality of life whether or not we have a high standard of living. Some examples:

The key is to be able to focus on what is important to each of us.

Ways to Cut Costs

Each of you has lived for a long time and undoubtedly knows some good methods for cutting costs. When we hear a number of different ideas on this topic from different sources, we eventually find several ideas that work well for us. Here are some examples of ways to cut costs:

Personal Services

Clothing, Household Items and Supplies

Second hand stores—both thrift stores and consignment stores.

Factory outlets

-- Most factory outlet stores are no longer full of factory overstocks, since the factory outlet store now serves a market niche of its own. Sometimes cheaper versions of products are manufactured to meet the demand for name brand products at reduced prices through these stores. You can still get good deals, however; just be aware that everything is not a bargain.

Warehouse club stores

-- like Sam’s Club and Costco do offer some good deals when you buy in bulk. Make sure that anything you buy in bulk will be completely used, or it’s not a bargain. You may want to split the cost of a membership with a friend. You would have to have the membership in one of your names (and the person whose name is on the card will have to go every time because the other will always have to go in as a guest). You could buy in bulk together, splitting the cost and the merchandise. Watch out for “consumer buying clubs” that have no location, or that you never heard of, because those can be fraudulent.

Discount Stores

--There are a number of good discount stores in this area, including, Big Lots, Smart and Final, Walmart, and K-mart. And don’t forget the “everything is a dollar” stores such as 99 cent store and The Dollar Tree, when purchasing household supplies, personal care items, gift wrap, decorative items, etc.

Other Tips on Stores

Cleaning Products

First Aid

You can make frozen gel packs to apply to injuries: Combine ¼ cup rubbing alcohol with ¾ cup water, and partially fill a heavy-duty plastic freezer bag with the mixture. Seal the bag and place it inside another bag and store it in the freezer. The more alcohol you use, the softer the gel pack will be.

Prescription Medication

Food

Entertainment

Transportation

Bus system

Cabs

Senior Ride Program: If you are age 60 or older and a Clark County Resident, you can buy cab fare coupons for ½ price. Each $10.00 coupon book is worth $20.00 of cab fare. (Currently) Each client can purchase five coupon books per month. The coupons cannot be refunded or exchanged and must be used by the expiration date. All local cab companies accept the coupons. The first time you purchase the coupon books you must go to the Division of Aging Services Office at 1860 E. Sahara; bring a Nevada picture ID to verify residency and age. Then you can purchase the coupon books by mail with check or money order. For further information, call the Division for Aging Services’ Senior Ride Program at 486-3581.

City Ride Bus Service

The City of Las Vegas Bus includes the Fremont Route (downtown) and a Senior Neighborhood Route that travels from several area senior housing complexes to several local stores. Seniors ride for $ .25 one-way and must be at least 62 years old (valid ID proof), pay fare upon boarding with exact change. Call 229-6024 for information (service out of the DTC).

Credit Cards

Credit card terms vary so shop around. Is there a “free” or “grace” period that permits you to pay your current balance in full before a specified date in order to avoid a finance charge? Always pay bills on time to avoid late charges or increased rates. Also, watch for excess ATM fees.

Close the bank

Loans of money to family and friends are hard to collect and relatives are the last to be paid. “No” is often the best answer to requests for loans. Also, if you agree to cosign on a loan, be prepared to pay it off.

Exchange services with others

Household repair, cooking, cleaning, mending, shopping, gift-wrapping—if you can’t do it, chances are that someone you know can. What service could you provide to him or her in return?

Cars

Local phone and Cable Television

Past Seniors CAN group members have contributed the following ideas: