We may be crawling towards normality as those who have been shielding go back to work, kids go back to school, and businesses begin to open their doors. However, there’s still a threat of local lockdowns and rumblings of a second wave.
Coronavirus or no coronavirus, it’s still the norm for millions of people to spend a massive amount of time at home due to health problems and disabilities.
As we grow older, it becomes risky to leave our homes, or it may be that due to a disability, we’re unable to get from A to B as easily as we once did.
After retirement, it can be challenging to maintain the lifestyle you’ve been used to on a fixed pension or tight budget every month. But there are many ways to stay happy, healthy and safe at home while you’re watching the pennies.
Downsize your home
As the kids leave home and the rooms in the house outnumber the number of people, many start to consider downsizing. Downsizing can be beneficial for a couple of different reasons. If your current home is large, it can be challenging to get around if your mobility is compromised. It’s also more of a chore to clean and keep on top of the domestic duties. You may end up paying a cleaner to come in once a week to reach the places you find hard to reach.
Bills can also rack up, and a bigger house equals a higher gas and electric bill. Household costs always seem to be on the ascent, and they may begin to take a strain on your bank balance unnecessarily.
Get a key safe, not a locksmith
As we age, our memory can start to deteriorate, due to natural causes or because of illnesses such as dementia. A key safe is a smart way to ensure that if you ever lock yourself out, you’ll be able to get back indoors at the touch of a few buttons.
Not only does a key safe put a stop to any hassle of calling out a locksmith, but it’s also a money saver. It costs anywhere from £70 to gain access to your house via a standard call out compared to a key safe, which can cost just £39 from a reputable seller.
You’ll also save money by giving out your key safe code to family members and carers instead of having to get a key cut for each person, which can cost around £5 per key in most places.
Pay less for your utilities
In 2020, it’s never been easier to make sure you’re paying the right amount for your utilities. It’s a good idea to stay on top of your gas, electric and water bills and get them as low in cost as possible. Using websites such as UK Power can be a speedy way to determine how much you could be saving on an annual or monthly basis. They also make it incredibly easy to switch, directing you to deals and discounts with different suppliers.
You can also save by signing up for the Warm Home Discount scheme run by the government. Check their website to find out if you’re eligible and you could receive a £140 credit towards your heating bills.
There are many small changes you can make around the home to save on your water bill if you’re on a meter. Not leaving the tap on while brushing your teeth, taking more showers than baths, using a washing up bowl instead of frequently rinsing with running water. All of these simple things can add up and shave off valuable pounds.
Ditch your TV license
With the announcement that millions of pensioners will have to pay £157.50 a year for their TV licence, it may be time to switch to streaming services which can offer you more, for less.
While it can feel odd to imagine a world without live TV, there’s so much exceptional entertainment at your fingertips that you may forget all about the latest pub brawl in Eastenders.
Netflix has thousands of TV shows from BBC originals such as ‘Call the Midwife’ to classic musicals like ‘West Side Story’.
At just £5.99 per month, it’s £85.62 cheaper per year than a TV license, and you’ll have access to far more choices of movies, tv shows and documentaries from all eras and genres.
Get rid of unwanted possessions
We all accumulate possessions over the years, and if we stop to take stock of what’s around us, it can be mind-boggling at the sheer volume of ‘stuff’ we’ve hung on to.
You might have a kitchen full to the brim of gadgets, appliances and tools. A blender you’ve used once, a juicer you’ve not used at all. It all adds up and can actually start to make us feel boxed in and overwhelmed.
Online services such as Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace allow you to sell your unwanted possessions to people in your local community. Even if you only get a tenner here or a fiver there, it can add up. You’ll have some extra cash, and you’ll feel accomplished knowing you’ve created more space and there’s less clutter in the home.
Get peace of mind with an affordable fall alarm
If you’ve had a fall at home in the past, or you’ve felt nervous about your balance or mobility, ordering a fall detector will give you peace of mind you need.
Having a secure connection to a dedicated care team who are available 24 hours a day will help you feel more independent and safe in your home.
For the elderly and disabled, there may come a point when home carers are required. An affordable fall alarm may put that requirement off for some time. You’ll have a gateway to emergency help if you need it and reassurance that if you have a fall, your alarm will automatically dial through to someone who can get you help.
Feeling safe and secure in your home is the main priority. But also, having some extra money in your back pocket will allow you the luxuries in life you’ve worked hard for and deserve to enjoy after retirement and beyond.