Wednesday, July 24

How to Boost Your Budget for Medicare, Property Taxes, and 5 Other Hacks

When you are a senior, every penny counts, and that’s why you need to be very careful when budgeting. Sometimes, you might make a mistake that looks small and insignificant, but as time passes, you might realize that it is actually not that small and that it affects your day-to-day life more than you thought.

Life nowadays is complicated; consumer costs are skyrocketing, inflation is rising, and it looks like the whole world is fighting against you. During times like these, even the most money-savvy seniors might find it difficult to manage their finances.

If you rely only on a fixed monthly income, learning some new budgeting tricks might make your life more comfortable. Read on and find out how to avoid common mistakes that can leave you broke at the end of the month.

How to start

So, let’s say that you want to see if all of your plans and coverage are still relevant and if you can get the most out of them. The times are changing, and so are all of the plans that you have made. Maybe they were a great deal then, but now they can make you lose money and affect your budget greatly.

The first thing that you can do is gather everything on which you are spending money in one place. That means you should put all of your spending commitments together and check their status. There is a high chance that you have forgotten the choices you made with all of them, and because of that, this is the best strategy.

Your spending commitments should include the following: life insurance, long-term care policies, supplemental health insurance, and prescription drug coverage.

budgeting
Photo by Valeri Luzina from shutterstock.com

1. The Medicare health insurance

Medicare is the US federal program that gives you medical insurance. Keep in mind that if you want to be a part of this program, you need to be 65 years old or older, or if you are under 65, you need to have been receiving Social Security Disability Insurance for a while. You can also apply for Medicare if you aren’t yet 65 but have ESRD (end-stage renal disease).

If you are eligible for Medicare health insurance, you need to know that you might also be eligible to get back $100 and put it into your monthly Social Security check. More than that, you can save money on co-pays and premiums. This can be great for your budget, so you should not miss an opportunity like this.

To check if you qualify for Medicare health insurance go to the official Medicare Savings Programs webpage. There, you will find all the information that you need. If you qualify, you need to find an insurance provider that offers Medicare Advantage plans. From there, the provider will guide you and take care of virtually everything that needs to be done.

2. The Medicare prescription drug coverage

Medicare prescription drug coverage is a financial help given by the state that should ease your access to all the medication that you need. This help is optional, and you can get it if you have Medicare health insurance.

Medicare beneficiaries with low income and assets may be eligible for Extra Help with prescription drug costs. This program is also referred to as the Part D Low Income Subsidy or LIS.

Now, you need to be aware that some people will get Extra Help by default. In this category, you can find: the dual-eligible (they have both Medicare and Medicaid); those who qualify for the Medicare Savings Program; and those receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI). If you receive any benefits from these programs, there is no need to apply for Extra Help because you receive it by default.

If none of these categories apply to you, you’ll have to access the Medical Plan Finder and enroll. If you have any problems, call 1-800-633-4227.

3. Phone service

Pew Research Center released a study showing that almost all Americans have cell phones. More precisely, 97% of Americans have a cell phone of some kind. Also, JD Power revealed that the average phone bill in 2023 is $144 per month.

Since January 2019, the Consumer Price Index for telephone services has risen by 7%. It might seem like an insignificant amount, but people and their budget can feel it when they have to pay the monthly bill.

You should know that you might be paying more than you need for cell phone services. It all depends on your income, but there is a chance for you to be eligible for discounts on your wireless or home telephone service. Also, all of this is supported by the government.

First, you can check out the FCC’s Lifeline program. This initiative can cut up to $9.25 from your monthly bill if you are an eligible low-income subscriber.

If you want to benefit from the Lifeline program, those who apply must have an income that is equal to or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. If that is not the case, another way to get access to the program is to be enrolled in one of several federal assistance programs that include SNAP, Supplemental Security Income, and others that you can find in the link listed above.

Also, you can try to see if you are eligible for the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program. This is a government program that helps low-income households pay for internet service and broadband service.

budgeting
Photo by Andrey_Popov from shutterstock.com

4. Property taxes

Probably you are already aware that property taxes are higher across the country. And if it happens to get updated assessments, this might empty your wallet fast. Hopefully, most states offer a senior property tax exemption. If you want to benefit from this, you need to be 65 or older. Programs like these can save you hundreds of dollars per year.

In the state of New York, if you are 65 and eligible, you can get a property tax reduction of up to 50%. It all depends on your income. Any county, city, town, or village can set a maximum income limit between $3000 and $50,000. For information on the income limitations in your area, contact your local assessor.

Many states have programs like this one and if you are willing to learn more about what other programs you can find in your state check out the BenefitsCheckUp.

5. Senior discounts

Since you are now a senior, you can benefit from various discounts. Many businesses have exclusive discounts for customers over a certain age. And many of them are offered even before your 65th birthday.

These discounts are a great way to boost your finances. They can help you buy quality products for better prices. Many of these discounts are for groceries, electronics, or health care.

So, one thing that you can do is to decide what is of interest to you, make a list of those stores, and then search their official websites to check if they offer any senior discounts.

For example, if you are a recipient of SSI, SNAP, or other government assistance, you are eligible to get 50% off of an Amazon Prime membership. At Goodwill, if you are 60 or older and go shopping on a Tuesday, you will get a discount of 20%. This is the general case, but the discount can vary by location and is generally between 15% and 25%.

If you want to learn more about budgeting and how to make the most of the money you have, this book might be a good place to start.

You should also check out: Want More Cashback Rewards? Use These 7 Credit Card Hacks NOW

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts