AP NEWS

STAYING ORGANIZED Control your spending by organizing

January 18, 2019

Every senior should have a good grip on their spending habits. Whether you have a little or a lot of money, seniors should be knowledgeable of where their money goes.

At least once a year, assess your financial wellness. Do you feel comfortable with your income? Do you need to look for more money?

The bigger question is do you even know how much annual income you have? Is someone else handling all you finances? You should ask questions so you know where you stand.

As an exercise, record all your spending, savings and losses for a three-month period.

When you save on a deal, track it, but also track losses. Losses are the result of a bad decision where you lost money.

Seniors should prepare a simple annual budget. During the month of December, plan a budget for the next year.

This gives you a general idea of what you can afford the coming year. It does not take long for expenses to add up.

This is a good time to consider changes to your spending.

Every family should review the following annually:

• Insurance — Home, auto, life, accident, medical, supplements,

• Charge accounts — Interest rate, balance, usage, names on accounts, and

• Discretionary expenses — Food, clothes, vacation, gas, gifts, TV/cable.

There are new money rules when you become a senior. Many have worked for close to 50 years, so make sure you collect your entitlements. You paid for them through your taxes.

Never bypass a refund/adjustment/return. If you don’t follow up, you will be leaving a lot of money on the table.

As a senior, use the “fixed income” card, ask for a better deal or discount. Finally, be aware of the tax consequences of your spending. The government never stops reaching out for its share of your money.

Good organizing and planning of spending will allow you to get the most out of money you have available to you.

Maria Ward has been a lifelong organizer applying techniques to personal life, business and learning. She worked as a professional organizer and was a member of the Houston professional organizers group. Now retired, she offers organizing classes at Lone Star College’s Academy for Lifelong Learning Program. Email: mariacward@gmail.com.