What’s Your Favorite Frugal Tip?

Frugal is the new black. Saving money is as big as my hair was in the 80’s (I loved hairspray). But, if you’re in a caregiving role, you already knew that bargain-hunting and comparison-shopping keeps the budget in line.

At November 2007 survey released by National Alliance for Caregiving and Evercare indicated that family caregivers spend an average of $5,500 annually of their own money–more than 10 percent of their median household income–on supplies and services needed by their care recipients.

When times get tough, cutting back on caregiving supplies and services is often an unacceptable solution. So, we’d love to know: What’s your favorite tip for keeping the cash flow positive? How do you pinch pennies so you have the dollars you (and your care recipient) need?

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4 Comments on "What’s Your Favorite Frugal Tip?"

Feb 24, 2009

I’m fortunate that, although I take care of my disabled, widowed mother (who lives in her own home nearby), I don’t have to spend my own money. I do, however, help Mom with her finances, including keeping them in the black each month. Some of the things I’ve done to help her spend less are:
*replacing her lightbulbs with the energy-saving type (The senior center gave away a bunch, so that helped!)
*paying her bills online rather than spending money on postage (Some places give a discount for auto-withdrawal or auto-credit card pay.)
*buying certain groceries and non-edibles in bulk (We sometimes split really big packages, such as toilet paper.)
*looked for “free” or very inexpensive (aka taxpayer supported) senior services, such as the local senior van and $2 lunches at the senior center
*bought some supplies she needed post-hip replacement at a Hospice second-hand store and Goodwill
*for some tasks that I don’t have time to do myself–like shovel snow off Mom’s driveway or rake pine needles–I found a local highschool student eager to do the work for much less than some “professional” services. The girl does a great job (very reliable too).

Feb 24, 2009

I used the “My Medicare Matters” tool, http://www.mymedicarematters.com to find an immediate cost savings of over $200 for my mother.
This site helps you review your current Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.
As I reviewed my mother’s drugs, I saw that if she changed one drug to a generic equivalent, she would save $200 over the remainder of 2009.
She discussed the change with her doctor and found she could switch to the generic.

I’ll go back to the tool with my mother during Open Enrollment, Nov 15-Dec 31. Due to congressional and state legislation, changes in Part D prescription plans and my mother’s financial and health situation, we will review available plans (there are currently 24 such plans in her geographic area) and seek out the lowest overall total cost. We will be doing this review on every year!

Since health care is such a major cost for most elderly, this is a great way to look for cost savings.

Adero Allison
Feb 24, 2009

Don’t hesitate to ask for help when you need it. You cannot care for another without first caring for yourself!

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Mar 4, 2009

This is all so true. My mom and I have tried several things. First off, after dad died, we discussed and agreed that the “new” used car he’d recently bought was better off being paid off right away, instead of the monthly loan payment installments bleeding us through the years with all the added interest. Also, I applied through my mom’s local caregiving outfit, Chelsea-Revere-Winthrop Eldercare Services, so that she ended up receiving reduced winter heating bills through CAPIC. She also eventually qualified for transitional assistance, which blesses her with some additional, much needed and appreciated funds for groceries each month. And an old tried-and-true little thing do is to save my loose change! I’m telling you, when I turn in an accumulated tupperwarebowl-ful of pennies, dimes, nickels, quarters, and coin dollars — for me or for my mom — I am always SO grateful for the extra resulting $10-$20! I always think of the Gospels and my favorite “loaves-into-fishes” story…it’s true…the best and most can oftentimes come from the littlest attempts, ideas and things. :)