Are you preparing for retirement but want to keep your independence? By choosing this path, you'll be able to skip out on all the fees and expenses that come with living in an assisted living facility. Many seniors also report having more freedom, carefree living, and maintaining a sense of purpose in life from living independently. It's understandable why you may want to continue this lifestyle, and we're excited to help you out!
But here's the question you may be asking: How do I find a comfortable home if I'm on a budget or retirement income? Don't stress, there are more than enough options of affordable independent living for seniors. In this guide, we will explore the variety of choices you have for finding these types of housing, so that you can enjoy your golden years.
Consider Renting Instead of Buying
While many seniors prefer to own a house during retirement, renting an apartment or home instead of buying offers many benefits. For starters, renting means fewer upfront and ongoing costs. There's no down payment, property taxes, or maintenance fees to worry about. And if your needs change, it's easy to move to a new place.
Rentals also typically come with amenities like housekeeping, yard care, and possibly transportation services. Some communities may even have meals, social activities, and exercise programs on site. All of this can help seniors stay independent.
How to Find The Perfect Place to Rent as a Senior
When looking for rentals, check with senior communities and independent living facilities in and around your area. Many offer affordable apartments and villas. You should also search listings on sites such as Apartments.com, Zillow, and SeniorHousingNet. Look for places with features that meet your needs like handicap accessibility, emergency alert systems, social opportunities, and a nearby hospital or skilled nursing facility.
Ask about rent rates, utility costs, and any additional fees. You can also check if there are senior discounts, nonprofit organizations, or government assistance programs that could help make renting more affordable. Some places base rent on your income, so the less you make the less you pay.
Government Assistance: Look for Low-Income or Subsidized Senior Housing
If you're on a fixed income, finding an affordable independent living community or apartment may seem challenging. But there are many federal financial assistance programs out there if you know where to look. One of the best places to start is by checking if you qualify for low-income or subsidized senior housing such as Section 202. These properties are funded by the government and administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to provide affordable rent for low-income seniors. Rent is calculated based on your income and the going rates in your local housing market.
To find these properties, contact your state or local housing authority. They maintain listings of low-income senior housing communities and can help determine if you qualify based on your income and family size. Many affordable retirement communities have waiting lists, so apply as early as possible. Be ready to provide details about your income, assets, and family to determine eligibility. While requirements vary, you typically need to be at least 62 years old and fall under the maximum income limits.
Explore Home Sharing or House Sitting Options
As a senior on a budget, home sharing or house sitting can be affordable senior living options worth exploring. Home sharing is when two or more unrelated people share a housing unit. Often seniors will share a home with a younger person in exchange for rent, help around the house, or a combination of both. Websites like Silvernest, Nesterly, and Homeshare link seniors with potential home sharing participants.
Another more creative option you could explore is house sitting. House sitting is when a person temporarily lives in and takes care of a home while the owners are away. As a house sitter, you exchange looking after the home and any pets or plants for free or very affordable housing. Websites like TrustedHousesitters, HouseSittersAmerica, and Nomador specialize in connecting house sitters and homeowners.
How to Find House Sitting or Home Sharing Opportunities
- Create profiles on home sharing and house sitting websites. Be specific about what you’re looking for in an opportunity and highlight any experience you have caring for homes or pets.
- Browse listings in your local area and preferred locations. Look for opportunities that match your needs and lifestyle. Contact hosts or home owners to express your interest.
- Ask friends or neighbors if they know of any house sitting or home sharing opportunities. Word-of-mouth referrals are a great way to find options not advertised online.
- Consider short-term or trial opportunities to start. This allows you to evaluate if the arrangement is right for you before committing long-term. You can then look for longer sits or a more permanent home share situation.
- Discuss responsibilities, rules, and finances upfront before moving in. Have a written agreement in place to prevent misunderstandings. Make sure the opportunity aligns with your budget and policy priorities.
Reduce Costs by Simplifying or Downsizing
Downsizing and simplifying your living space is one of the best ways for seniors to cut costs, which can help you live a more comfortable life on your own. The less space you have, the less there is to heat, cool, clean, and maintain. Consider these tips to downsize affordably:
Move into a smaller home.
If you're in a large house, downsize to an apartment, condo, or townhome. Smaller living spaces mean lower utility and maintenance bills. An apartment or condo also means no yard work to worry about.
Get rid of unnecessary furniture and decor.
Go room by room and purge anything you do not use or need like extra chairs, knickknacks, linens, dishes, etc. Donate or sell bigger items like extra dressers, couches or tables.
Ask Family or Friends for Help
One of the best ways to find affordable housing options is to ask your loved ones for help. Your friends and family want the best for you, so don't hesitate to bring them into the conversation. Here are a few ways they can support your search:
Ask them to research options in your area
Have them look into affordable senior housing options, assisted living facilities, retirement communities, and continuing care retirement communities near you. Ask them to note details like costs, amenities, contract terms, and availability. This extra help will make your search much more manageable.
Visit locations together
Once you've narrowed down some options based on their research, schedule visits to tour the places that interest you most. Bring a friend or family member along for extra support. They may notice things you don't, and can provide feedback to help determine what option is best.
Help review paperwork
The paperwork involved in moving into an independent living community can be overwhelming. You can ask a trusted friend or relative to review contracts, financial information, and policies with you before signing anything. They can help make sure you understand all details and are getting a fair deal.
Assist with the moving process
When you're ready to move into your new home, don't go it alone. Ask friends and family to help pack up your belongings, load the moving truck, unpack at your new place and get settled in. Their support can help reduce stress and make the transition into your independent living situation easier.
Provide ongoing support
Even after you've moved in, stay connected with your close ones. Call on them regularly to share experiences in your new community, ask for advice, or just enjoy each other's company. Their emotional support and companionship can help combat loneliness and make independent living a positive experience.
Find Part-Time Work or a Side Gig for Extra Income
As a senior on a budget, finding ways to generate extra income can help supplement your savings and make independent living more affordable. One option to consider is taking on part-time work or developing a gig on the side.
Many part-time jobs are well suited for seniors and retirees. Some options to explore include:
- Retail associate: Working at a store like a grocery store, department store, or bookstore. Usually flexible hours and minimal physical demands.
- Driver: If you have a reliable vehicle, consider driving for a service like Uber, Lyft, or a meal delivery service like GrubHub in your spare time. Set your own schedule.
- Tutoring: If you have experience teaching or expertise in a subject area, consider tutoring students part-time. You can tutor online via services like Chegg, TakeLessons and Wyzant.
Developing a Side Gig
Turning a hobby or skill into a side business is a great way to generate extra money in retirement. Here are some options:
- Consulting: If you have specialized work experience or expertise, consider consulting in your industry part-time. Market your services to local businesses and organizations.
- Pet sitting or dog walking: If you're an animal lover, pet sitting, dog walking or dog training is an easy business to get started. Promote your services to neighbors and pet owners in your area. Like we mentioned above, a pet or house sitting can also be a great way to directly land a new home without spending a lot of money.
- Selling items: Do you have valuables, collectibles, or antiques you no longer need? Consider selling them on websites like eBay, Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace for some quick cash.
Say Goodbye to Your Phone Bill!
Did you know that the average phone bill in the US is $166 a month? That's a lot of money each month that could be going to other expenses, like housing! Whether you're currently paying for a phone and phone service or you're looking to purchase one to stay connected with friends and family, we've got you covered.
At EASY Wireless, we're here to help you save as much money as you can. And as a senior, you can now qualify for a FREE phone and FREE unlimited data plan! Here's how you apply:
Lifeline/ACP Programs with EASY Wireless.
Remember when we mentioned using government programs to your advantage? Lifeline and the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) are two other government programs you can leverage to avoid paying a phone bill as a senior on a budget.
They are designed to make phone and internet services more affordable for eligible very low income individuals and families. At EASY Wireless, we understand the importance of affordable connectivity for everyone, especially seniors. So we want to help you access the benefits of these programs so that you can stay connected without breaking the bank.
What do I Qualify For With EASY Wireless
Upon enrolling in one of these programs, you can receive EASY Wireless benefits that includes the following:
EASY Wireless Unlimited Plan
- FREE Unlimited Data
- FREE Unlimited Talk
- FREE Unlimited Text
- FREE Brand-new Smartphone
- FREE SIM Card Kit and Activation
- Choose to Keep Your Number or Get a New One
How do I Apply For EASY Wireless Benefits?
When you come to one of EASY Wireless's retail stores, our customer service agent can happily help you apply for the benefits.
The first step is to provide proof of identity with a government-issued ID. This is so you can confirm your participation in one of the qualifying programs or that you meet the household income requirement.
We accept the following U.S. Government Issued ID:
- U.S. Driver License
- Certificate of U.S. Citizenship
- Certificate of Naturalization
- U.S. Passport
- U.S. Government, State or Tribal issued-ID
- U.S. Military ID cards
- Permanent Resident Cards
- Permanent Resident Alien Cards
You can show the following documents to prove that you are taking part in a government assistance program or use them as proof of active benefits:
- Statement of benefits from a qualifying Program.
- Notice letter of participation, such as an award letter
- Program participation documents, such as a screenshot from an online account.
- In order to show income, you can provide any of the following proofs:
- Unemployment Documentation
- Copy of your State or Federal income tax return.
- Three months' worth of current pay stubs.
- Veterans Administration or SSI benefits letter.
- A divorce decree or child support document that states income.
- Retirement or pension statement.
Need More Than Just One Line of Service or an Additional Phone?
EASY Wireless is a full-service cellular store that cares about all of your communication needs. We have a wide range of pre-paid plans for every budget and usage requirement. Also, we offer a selection of brand-name phones that combine quality, reliability, and the latest technology.
That's not all – we also provide an array of amazing accessories to enhance your mobile experience. At EASY Wireless, we're dedicated to providing exceptional service and ensuring you find the perfect plan, phone, and accessories to suit your lifestyle and preferences.
Visit us for all your cell phone and wireless service needs today!