Thursday, September 15, 2016

Frugal Food Shopping

Many of my friends and family spend time cutting coupons and I'm sure they save hundreds of dollars by shopping this way.  Being the person I am means that I like certain brands and certain cuts of meat.  I tend to only buy those whether on sale or not.

My biggest frugality is waiting for meat sales and the "bogo" events.  When my supermarket has what they call their "huge meat sale,"  I get beef roasts using the bogo method and only pay around $10 for 2 roasts.  I  buy a whole pieces of Pork on sale at $1.49 per pound and only pay $10 for 2 nice size roasts.  I have the butcher cut the piece in half.  Sometimes they have two Bob Evans small packages of sausage on sale for $5.  That is about $1 off on each one.

So I may not be the world's most frugal shopper but I do try to save a penny here and there when I can.

I also have a subscription to Sam's Club and I shop there about once every other month.  I like to buy my staples there and I'm saving in the long run.  My family likes tuna fish and I buy 10 cans for $7.50.  I also buy 10 cans of meat ravioli for around $7.  I love stuffing with any of my meals and I get 6 pouches in the box of those. 

I know you can save a bundle by shopping at the dollar stores (Dollar General or Family Dollar) but I buy a select number of things there.  My friend buys her cat litter there because it is a lot cheaper.

There are hundreds of stores you can shop for their specials only but then you have spent all of your savings in gasoline to get there.  So I say, read the ads that come in the mail, plan your shopping and get value for your money.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Senior Citizens: What To Do When Laid Off

In today's economy, not too many people can afford to get laid off from their jobs.  Senior citizens who choose to work are the most vulnerable in this area.  They work because they were not fortunate enough to put away enough income to keep up their expenses for the rest of their lives. 

In some cases, it's the little things that they continue to work for such as spending money, golfing fees, special vacations or even special food extravagances.  Hopefully, you have put away a portion of your former income and are able to sustain your expenses with your reduced income.  If not, you will need to seek unemployment compensation and this carries with it some other concerns which we will look into later.

Whatever your circumstances, you must once again look over your budget and determine if there are places that you can cut expenses.  This isn't always easy because when we are working we allow ourselves to slip back into bad spending habits and become used to the little extravagances.

Credit Card Payments  Hopefully, you have been making bigger payments on credit card bills while you were working to reduce or pay off balances.  Temporarily reduce these overpayments on credit cards and other bills that you have been making more than the minimum payment.  This does not free up huge amounts of money but sometimes is enough to carry you through without doing the unemployment application until you can find other employment.

I have always overpaid my credit card bills with more than the minimum payment so that at some point in time, my card can be paid off.  Even when I consolidate bills for lower interest rates, I pay off certain cards but do not close the accounts.  This way my credit score is not adversely affected.  I just don't use those cards except for some small purchase that I can pay off before any interest is charged to the account.

Standing in line at the Unemployment Office
Now let's talk about unemployment compensation.  If you are forced to sign up for unemployment compensation, you are under a lot of rules which compel you to be actively seeking employment and physically able to work.  That doesn't always mean employment at the level you were used to working.  If you are offered a position which does not pay your former salary or meet your working hours, you can lose your unemployment if you turn down the job and they contact the Agency.  Besides that, unemployment compensation is taxable on your IRS return and you should have a portion of your payments deducted to help with the end of the year expenses that occur because you were forced to take unemployment.

Be prepared for some people thinking you are being greedy and really don't deserve unemployment because of your age.  This is ridiculous since you have been and are able to work.  It's better to work at a reduced capacity than to rust away from not using your God given gifts.

No one said life was easy and it's especially hard on those senior citizens who for whatever reason need to continue working in whatever capacity you choose.  Here's a tip from my personal experience:

Let's be realistic:  in today's world you need a cell phone if for no other reason but to call 911 from outside your home.  Fortunately, before I was affected by a cut back, I had already reduced my cell phone bill by 1/3.  What was costing me $50 a month now costs me $33.10 and I have much more flexibility.  It meant an initial investment into a smart phone but I save that back within the first year of my new service.  I gained unlimited texting access (which some seniors don't use) and unlimited internet access from my cell phone.  I reduced my phone access to 300 minutes per month from unlimited but I found I don't even use 200 minutes by using texting for some of the contact that is necessary between family members instead of picking up the phone and calling them.  Things like, "I bought the bread" can eliminate a telephone interruption or a duplication of purchasing.

Have faith and continue putting in applications for employment.  I found that Craigslist was the best source of opportunities for me.  There are employers out there that continue to hire the people with the most experience.

Hopefully, you will never find yourself in this dilemma and can stay gainfully employed for as long as you wish to keep working.