Taking care of an elderly parent, grandparent or other loved one is a noble thing to do, but it can be stressful. I know, because I've been there.
Stress isn't the only downfall of being a loving caregiver. Unfortunately, if you're living with the person you're caring for, it can take a toll on your finances as well. To help ease the financial burden, here are some money-saving tips I learned during the five years I spent caring for my dad before he lost his battle with cancer...
1. Use coupons on caregiver products.
Before purchasing caregiver products, search for online and/or in-store (whichever you need) coupons. Some brands with printable coupons that can be redeemed in stores that accept coupons include Depend and Poise.
If you know of other brands that sells caregiver products, try visiting the brand's website. Many times brands have a section on their site with coupons and discounts. You can also search the web by using the brand name then coupons (e.g. Depend coupons). During your search for coupons, be sure to check my Discounts & Coupons for Elderly Home Care Products page.
2. Take advantage of discounted monthly subscription plans.
Do you buy quite a few caregiver products such as gloves, personal care products and etc.? Some companies offer what most refer to as a subscribe and save or re-order and save plan. The plan lets you have product(s) you order often shipped to you automatically. When the company ships the product(s) on the delivery frequency you specify, the card you have on file with that company will be charged. Companies that offer monthly subscription plans usually give discount savings, some offer free shipping along with the discount, and you can cancel the plan anytime you want. Check each company's plan details for information on savings, free shipping and more.
3. Sign up for shopper rewards programs.
Shopper rewards programs is another great way to save money on caregiver products. Companies with a shopper rewards program gives you points based on the amount you spend. You can later use those points like a store credit for discounts on future orders. Unless the company states otherwise, you can combine your shopper rewards with that company's sales as well as use coupons (if available) and cashback programs for additional savings.
4. Reach out to friends, family and other home caregivers.
Rather than pay for adult daycare services when you need a break or have to run errands, turn to family, friends and/or other home caregivers for help.
When I was taking care of my dad and he reached the point where we couldn't leave him home alone, my family was always offering to help if I needed them. Well, one day my husband and I needed a break and the kids were at their dad's, so we called my uncle to see if he'd stay with dad for a couple days while we went camping. Without hesitation, he agreed. They enjoyed the time together, and my husband and I had a relaxing and stress-free camping trip.
Then there was another day we needed to run into town. On that day, my aunt, uncle and cousin visited with dad while we ran a few errands in town.
Usually when family offers you help, they're not just saying it to be nice. They really do want to help, so don't hesitate to call them if you need a sitter. It will save you money and everyone will be happy.
If a friend or family member isn't available on the day you need them, try offering to do a swap with another home caregiver that you know well. As with a babysitter for a child, you want to be sure this other caregiver is someone you can trust.
Since they're a home caregiver too, they'll have to bring their loved one with them. Or to make things easier, you can take your loved one to their place. Also, in exchange for them helping you, you can offer to sit with their loved one on a day when they need someone.
5. Use the internet to get free power of attorney forms and living will papers.
Rather than hire an attorney to draw up power of attorney or living will papers for your loved one, consider printing them from the web. AARP offers links to these legal documents. Just click the state that you reside in and go from there.
6. Save money by purchasing discounted gift cards.
Whether you're shopping for groceries, household supplies, treating your family to dinner out or etc., you can save a little money by purchasing discounted gift cards. Just buy the gift cards when you come across a good deal on the ones you'd use.
Gift Card Spread, Gift Card Granny and Raise all offer discounted gift cards. Try to visit these sites at least once a day to look for deals on the gift cards that interest you. If you find a good deal, buy the gift card and hold on to it until your next shopping trip. Be sure to check if they have an expiration date before you buy them, though. If they do, make sure you'll be able to use the card before it expires. If you won't, just let it go and wait for another deal, because if you buy it and can't use it before it expires, then you'll just be wasting money rather than saving.
To save even more, combine the gift card with sales and/or coupons. One special coupon offer currently available is an additional discount of 1% off these brands offering discounted gift cards. You can redeem this coupon during checkout with promo code RAISE1.
7. Contact your local utility companies to inquire about discounts.
You may be able to save money on your utility bills by calling the companies and explaining that you're a caregiver for your mother, father or whomever. After explaining your situation, ask if they offer any discounts for caregivers who are living with the ones they're taking care of. If the bill is in your loved ones name, there may be a senior discount available. If there are any discounts available, find out the qualifications. If you qualify, by all means, sign up.
8. Consider signing your loved one up for a free Silver Sneakers membership.
If the family member you're caring for is still active or wants to be active to stay fit and as healthy as possible, he/she may be interested in the FREE Silver Sneakers membership. The membership will give him/her free, unlimited access to gyms and fitness centers. It also allows them to attend free classes.
Check the Silver Sneakers website for participating gyms and fitness centers in your area. You can also sign your loved one up for the free membership through the site.
9. Save on prescription drugs.
Chances are the family member you're caring for has quite a few medications, and maybe others in your home are also paying for medications. If Medicare, Medicaid or your other insurance company isn't really helping with the cost of meds, GoodRx could help everyone in your household with savings up to 80% off prescription drugs. It's a free discounted prescription drug program. Not sure whether it would be worth it or not? Look up the costs of the medications you'd like a price on at GoodRx's website. Just enter the name of the medication to compare prices at pharmacies near you. You may discover that you can get your medicine at a lower discounted cost than your current insurance provider offers.
Blink Health is another program that offers discounted prices on prescriptions drugs. In fact, over 50% of the medicines at Blink Health cost less than $10.00. To help you get a prescription free or nearly free, Blink Health is offering new customers a $10.00 credit, which you'll use on your first order with them. Just visit Blink Health from my link to get the free $10.00 credit.
I used Blink Health and found the process real easy. All I had to do was pay for my order through the Blink Health website, and then I took the receipt that I printed out to my participating pharmacy to pick up my prescription. My pharmacy at the time was CVS, but Blink Health is also accepted at Walgreens, Walmart, Rite Aid CVS and most independent pharmacies.
10. Toss the disposable incontinence supplies for good.
Rather than throwing away money on disposable bed pads, diapers and pull-ups, invest in washable incontinence supplies. You truly can save at least $100.00 a year buying reusable incontinence products that can be washed and reused several times.
Three places you can consider that offer reusable incontinence products for men and women are CVS, Health Products for You and Medical Supply Depot. Each of these companies offers reusable bed pads, underwear and more.
For additional savings, be sure to read about Health Products for You's reward program and CVS's ExtraCare rewards program. In addition to the rewards program, Health Products for You also offers free shipping on any size order.
11. Make your own reusable incontinence wipes.
Here's what you'll need to make your own reusable incontinence wipes: a small (less than 13 gallon) trashcan with a lid, a pack of cotton washcloths, water, baby wash, baby oil, an empty spray bottle and an empty container such as a plastic Folgers coffee container.
Before we move on to how to make the wipes, let's discuss what you'll do with them after you've used them. You're going to put the used incontinence wipes (the washcloths) into the trashcan (use a grocery bag as a trashbag). Later, you can pull the plastic grocery bag from the trashcan and dump the used wipes into your washer and wash them. You'll also be storing the unused wipes (washcloths) in the Folgers or other container. Finally, you'll use the empty spray bottle for the homemade peri wash, and you'll spray the wash on the washcloth or directly onto the skin (your choice).
To make your own reusable incontinence wipes, put the following ingredients in the spray bottle: 1 cup water, 1 teaspoon baby oil and 1 tablespoon baby wash. After adding the ingredients, place the lid on the spray bottle, tighten it and shake well.
You can buy the supplies you need to make these homemade incontinence wipes at your local Dollar General, Dollar Tree or Walmart store, and the cost shouldn't be much at all. To help you save more money, keep an eye out for coupons for baby wash and baby oil.
12. Ask for discounts before buying online.
Before making an online purchase, contact the company via phone, email or (if available) live chat. Let them know your a new customer interested in making a purchase from their site, and then ask them if they have a discount they could give you for being a first-time customer. If the product(s) you're planning to purchase is for caregiving, let the company know you're a caregiver for your elderly loved one and on a budget. Then ask if they could offer you a caregiver discount. Most of the time companies will give discounts if you reach out to them, and if they don't, then all you've lost is the time it took you to contact the company. It's certainly worth trying, especially if you're ordering in bulk. If you do plan to buy in bulk, be sure to mention the product(s) and the quantity you plan to purchase.
13. Sign up for a free mobile phone.
If you don't have a landline, you may qualify to receive a free smartphone with free texting, minutes and data from SafeLink Wireless. If your income is at or below 135% of the federal poverty guidelines, or you receive medicaid, SNAP, SSI, section 8 federal public housing assistance or a veteran and survivors pension benefit, you'll definitely qualify for the SafeLink Wireless program. Also note, this program isn't available in all states, so enter your zipcode to check availability in your area.
Do you have any additional money-saving tips for home caregivers that you'd like to add? Please share by leaving your tips in the comments area below.
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