On a fixed income and trying to get by

How can I afford the cost of basic necessities?

For seniors and others who depend on social security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to sustain their way of life, it may be more difficult to put food on the table and cover the cost of other basic necessities in 2016. Social security and SSI payments are adjusted each year by an amount equal to the change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). The specific index that social security and SSI use is the CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), with further parameters including the U.S. city average and all items list for costs of goods and services. The adjustment is made based on the third quarter of every given year compared to the same quarter of the previous year. According to the Social Security Administration, there will be no cost of living adjustment for social security and SSI in 2016.

This news comes at a time when the data shows that the cost of basic necessities increased annually slightly higher than the rate of inflation over the last 30 years. It is more important than ever for those living on fixed incomes to manage their spending. Make sure to think about what you will do with your income each month. You may not be able to increase dollars you have available each month, but are there some things that you can do to boost your resources?

Organizations such as Feeding America provide information about access to food in your area. As the Holidays approach, these organizations are gearing up to help those who need it in the local communities. You may consider working in a visit to one of the local food pantries once a month to help offset food costs. Many other organizations provide assistance in regard to utilities and other resources that you may need this winter. You can call 2-1-1 to find resources and services in your area.

Before the snow is deep and we ring in 2016, spend some time thinking about your basic necessities. Making money decisions, setting goals and resolutions are often done at the end of the year. With fewer dollars it may benefit you to start early. If you have questions, or would like to ask an expert, Michigan State University Extension has access to many resources. Visit the Mi Money Health page for more information and answers to your questions.

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