The Life Transition Blog

Managing Your Fixed Income After the Holidays

It’s hard for many who are on a fixed income to navigate the holidays.  There are opportunities to spend at every turn.  Maybe you sent checks to your grandchildren.  Or maybe you bought gifts for your favorite caregivers.  Perhaps you simply ate out more or bought some new outfits for the many parties you attended.  It’s not unusual for those on fixed incomes to wake up in January not knowing how they will manage their bills for the next few months given previous overspending.

If you find yourself it this situation it’s time to do some serious planning.  First, you need to take a careful look at your cash flow and determine if there are some items you can do without for the next few months while you pay off those credit card bills.  In addition, now would be a great time to dust off your budget and make a plan for putting some money aside each month into a “holiday fund” so that you don’t wind up in the same boat next year.  If you have never operated with a budget, maybe this is the year to start.

If you have charged your holidays on your credit cards, it is very important to be sure to pay at least the minimum amount due each month to avoid late fees.  In addition, you will want to be strategic about paying off the accounts with the highest interest rates first.

In addition to digging yourself out of post-holiday debt and committing to avoid this in the future, the New Year is a wonderful time to evaluate your spending priorities and come up with a plan to stay on track.  If you’re not sure how to begin, you might want to consider finding a daily money manager (DMM) to help.  DMMs are professionals who specialize in assisting with the day-to-day business of life.  They can help you create a budget and then stick with it.  They can help you analyze which bills to pay off first.  They can also handle your mail and arrange for payment of your bills.  Your DMM is equipped to take care of all of those things that have a tendency to “fall through the cracks” – preparing your documents for your tax preparer, shopping for insurance at renewal time, reviewing your medical claims to make sure they are processed correctly, and even reconciling your bank and credit card statements.

Those who are trying to make sure they don’t outlive their resources and who try to live within their fixed income need all the help they can get.   Carefully managing your finances is the best way to accomplish this and there is plenty of help out there.
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