ALL’S WELL THAT SPENDS WELL

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Surprising Secrets to Living on a Fixed Income

 Living off of $1,300 a month doesn’t sound like much fun.

That’s the average Social Security money allocated to eligible members (according to Market Watch).  Surviving on such a relatively minuscule amount (taking into account today’s cost of living), is no doubt difficult, no matter what region of the country you live in.  Luckily, there is a silver lining to this seemingly dreary financial cloud.  Here are a variety of simple ways to make living on a budget work for you.

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Ditch your car.

Whether you own or lease, if you live anywhere at all with a viable public transit system, you can eliminate your car from your life – along with the multitude of costs that accompany it.  Consider the benefits of an unlimited transit card (running around $100 per month) versus the never-ending expenses of gas, insurance, repairs, general up-keep, parking lot costs, and of course, the occasional accident that you are at fault for…

If you live in a remote area, where buses and the like are not easily accessible, there are other inexpensive options for getting from point A to B.  For those living in more rural locales, there are local car services.  In metropolitan/highly populated suburban areas there are Zip Cars (which can be rented for a short span of time) and the wildly popular Über Car Service, which is a great alternative to much higher priced taxis.

Rent, don’t buy.

If you already own a piece of property, then this doesn’t apply to you; but if you are considering making such a purchase, you should strongly rethink this.  Real estate, as an investment, has stabilized somewhat since the crash of 2008.  However, capricious fluctuations in the market can lead to excessive anxiety, and even worse, financial catastrophe.  Those living in homes along the Eastern seaboard could never have anticipated Hurricane Sandy – and the subsequent effects felt on coastal property values.  The bottom line is that, at this time, sinking all of your nest egg into a house just isn’t smart.

The general consensus that one shouldn’t be spending anymore than a third of their monthly income on rent is a fairly safe way to structure your finances.  However, once retirement years have been reached, the demand for purchases of higher amounts typically goes down, and this frees up some cash.  Roughly half your income could be spent on rental fees, still leaving you with enough wiggle room for necessities and any unexpected hiccups.

Buy in Bulk.

When you buy in larger quantities, you save.  It’s that simple.  When purchasing essential items, it really will behoove you to shop at a BJ’s or Costco type of establishment.  The nominal yearly fees are completely dwarfed by the overall savings you will enjoy.  Plus they usually have delicious free samples being handed out.

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Healthier options.

While on the topic of shopping, it’s time to start thinking about healthier food options.  Yes, fast/junk food may be inexpensive and at times delicious, but its effects on your health can be devastating.  The increase in nationwide Diabetes and low grade food consumption is no coincidence.  Buying fresh food and cooking it at home will save you a ton of money in the long run.  You will notice an improvement in your overall disposition and energy levels, as well as the inherent joy experienced when you see how low your credit card bill is from not eating out so frequently.

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Engage in more physical activity.

In tandem with getting rid of your car can be the addition of a bicycle.  An extremely healthy way to be mobile, cycling is a great method of staying active.  If a bike just isn’t your speed, walking may be the way to go.  An hour long walk can do wonders for your circulation system.  Expensive (and highly harmful) habits such as smoking and drinking are found to decline when someone engages in a more physical, active lifestyle: you just naturally want to stay healthier once you begin treating your body right.

Sell unused valuables.  

Wanting to pass something on to your loved ones is a kind, natural thing to desire.  However, there are many objects that can have sentimental value to your descendants that they would rather have in their possession than random antiques or valuables typically associated with inherited items.  A thoughtfully designed scrapbook or artfully crafted family tree is something that will be cherished and possibly handed down for generations.

In general, your grandkids would much rather see you living a happier, less stressful life than be given an acre of land in a Florida swamp (ie: a Timeshare) or an old piece of jewelry.  Selling stashed away valuables (or other such unneeded assets) is a phenomenal way to inject a little disposable income into your overall budget.  First, you need to get an accurate assessment of the overall value of what you own.  Financial planners at your bank can offer great advice and recommendations on this topic.

It is also important that you watch out for scammers, who prey upon people looking to make an honest buck.  The best way to do this is to only work with established companies that have solid online reviews (such as on Yelp.com or with Trust Pilot).

Should you choose to sell your diamond jewelry, there is an established, reputable and trustworthy place.  At Diamond Lighthouse, we will find you the absolute highest prices for your diamond jewelry with our fully transparent and trusted online sales platform.  Your diamonds are completely safe, secure and insured at every step of the way.  Should you choose to sell with us, you will be informed throughout the entire process, with the control of your sale completely in your hands.  After the completion of the sale of your diamond jewelry, you will be incredibly pleased with the efficiency and ease at which you receive your payment.

Find out How Our Process Works and how you can truly contribute to your financial independence.

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-Joe Leone 

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