When money is tight, any extra funds can feel like a fortune. WMEC’s Money Management Program Director, Tricia Stallman, recently shared a conversation she had with an older adult that she serves:
After going to the bank to get some money for a consumer who had been unable to get there herself, she told me the money I brought her felt like a million dollars. She said that she knew that sounded silly, but she could now get her hair done, her dog’s nails clipped, and had quarters for her laundry (all things she couldn’t use her debit card for). Her tone of voice was one of such gratitude and relief. This is just one of the many examples of how something that seems so simple can have such a positive impact on our consumers’ lives.
It’s always a necessity for seniors and their caregivers to pay attention to finances. To help keep aging members of the community independent and active, we’ve compiled a list of helpful ways to make money go further.
1. Embrace Deal Hunting
When it comes to saving money, the importance of deals cannot be understated. Luckily, there are many ways to find sales or special offers. You can find coupons in the Sunday paper, mailed to your door, online, through email…the list goes on! No matter what you use, they all can help you shave dollars off your total. When you combine this with weekly specials, you can save even more!
Don’t forget to take advantage of generics, as well. Whether you need pantry staples, household cleaners, or medication, look for store-brand options. While their packaging may not be the most appealing, their products work just as well as their more expensive counterparts! Why pay more for the same results?
2. Consolidate Trips
Once you have all your savings scouted, it’s time to take care of everything at once! By going to the grocery store only once a week, you can shop smarter, purchase less, and save money on gas. For further savings, you can add other errands to the route to mitigate other wasteful spending practices.
3. Take a Friend
Want to make your errands more affordable and twice the fun? Go with a friend! Not only is it a great way to receive meaningful social interaction, you can split bills, save on gas, and all around have a more enjoyable time.
4. Find Free or Low-Cost Activities
Another way to save money is to find free means of enrichment! If you’re looking for some physical activity, you can join a friend in a daily stroll or participate in one of WMEC’s free, healthy living workshops like My Life, My Health or other events in the community.
If you’re looking for something more socially stimulating, we have you covered here, too! We have programs designed around older adults’ emotional wellbeing, allowing you to connect with others, boost your mood, and stay healthy. For example, our Community Table Program and the Rainbow Social Club empower seniors to find nutritious meals, welcome company, and enriching events.
These offerings are great ways to get food and entertainment while connecting with friends at little to no extra expense. As an added bonus, by participating, you can live healthier, stay emotionally and physical well, helping you cut down on medical costs, medicines, and similar expenses.
5. Ask for a Money Management Program Volunteer
If you’re having trouble keeping track of funds or saving as much as you’d like, have someone do the work for you! WestMass Eldercare’s Money Management Program (MMP) connects seniors with volunteers who help balance checkbooks, write checks, create budgets, pay bills, avoid scams, and so much more. It’s great for volunteers and consumers as they meet for only one to two hours per month.
This service is free for income-eligible people over 60 or individuals with disabilities who are at risk because of an inability to manage their own finances. The MMP helps people manage their day-to-day financial matters so that they can be as independent as possible and keep their dignity and privacy.
WestMass Eldercare can also manage Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments, or other federal benefits for those who can’t themselves. First, a physician and the Social Security Administration must consent to the appointment of a representative payee. By having a qualified, trained person making financial decisions, people are better able to maintain independence in other areas of their lives.
6. Help Your Caregiver Earn Money, Too
Did you know that WMEC can help you get paid for caregiving? Give us a call and let our knowledgeable Community Resource Specialists connect you and your caregiver to many viable opportunities that may fit your unique situation and needs. There are options to have your caregiver be paid through the Consumer Directed Care, Personal Care Assistance and Adult Family Care programs. These services offer a consumer choices for care from someone they know depending on your income and housing situation. Hear from previous consumers and learn about Adult Family Care Programs here.
7. Take Advantage of WMEC’s Services
Do you need support to stay independent or to help a loved one live healthily? Check out WMEC’s services! The WMEC team works with you to find the best options that fit your unique needs. Additionally, depending on your income and needs, we can help you access services that are free or available for a sliding-scale fee. We’re always ready to help older adults live well on a budget. Reach out to us today!