cff WOMEN, SOCIAL SECURITY , AND BUDGETING | Simple and Serene Living


Tuesday, April 25, 2023

I have written on this topic before, but it is something that I once again want to revisit.

Yesterday I was working on my budget, which is as tight as it can possibly get.

savings jar

Like many other senior women, I live on a fairly fixed income. Other than my social security my only other income comes from what I sell online and from ad revenue from this blog.

Neither of those sources has ever brought in a lot of extra income, but it has been enough to sustain me.

Now I am finding that those are pretty much drying up and seem to be costing me as much in fees as I am bringing in.

budgeting balancing act

Budgeting has always been a balancing act, but now it seems even more so.

I remember my grandmother, who was Scottish and thrifty, talking to me about watching my pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. She said I would need them when I grew older. 

She was right, but in today's world we need a lot more than those coins, and with the constantly rising cost of just living it becomes more difficult to live on a budget. 

saving your pennies

Each year we get a raise in Social Security and this year was supposed to be amazing, but the raise is calculated on your current Social Security, and for those on the lower end of the social security spectrum that raise was not much.

Because I spent much of my adult life as a stay-at-home mom, my social security isn't much, and like many other women who choose to give many years to their families, I feel like the grim reaper waiting for my ex to die so that I can have enough income to live a somewhat normal life. 

It should not be this way. Women should be compensated for the valuable work they do raising their families. We should not be considered free labor by the government. 

I feel like I need pennies from heaven.

pennies from heaven

I know that I am not the only older woman in this situation.

The poverty rate for single women over the age of 65 living alone is 19%.

That should not be happening in this country.

I have always been good at budgeting, but I am not sure how much more I can squeeze out. 

pennies from heaven piggy bank

Have a great day and I would love for you to check out my Etsy shop where I sell vintage and antique finds along with digital downloads of beautiful antique artwork.


  1. Good Morning Laura. Now that I just turned 65 I am getting my social security. If I were a woman living alone with no other source of income I would not even be able to make rent on what they give me. I worked many years before I had my girls and then like you was a stay at home mom and went back to work part time when they were in school. With that said even though I worked my whole adult life either full time or part time I do not qualify for much social security. I just had this conversation the other day on how on earth anyone can live on their social security alone especially if you are a woman. Did you ever think of just doing a once a week sale as a blog post on your items. That way you would not have to pay fees or FB marketplace. I am sure it is the shipping too. That is out of control with pricing. You are so right the poverty level for single retired woman in this country is so wrong. Even though we all get a raise the insurance supplement rises and so you really get nothing. Crazy. Hugs. Kris

  2. Good morning! I am 62, my husband will be 67 soon. I too stayed home and raised and homeschooled my child. Truthfully I am worried about income if something were to happen to my dh. I found that if you choose your husband's SS, then you don't get your own. What a waste of money earned! It's indeed an issue for those of us who live as God has wanted - raising and taking care of our family.

  3. I'm not in your shoes but I did watch my mother go through this. I'm 57 & haven't reached retirement age just yet. I've been a SAHM since 1993.

    Do you have an Instagram page for your shop? I don't know if there are fees for that but I follow a few shops there. It might be a way to get more sales.

  4. My budget, like yours, is very tight. I get frustrated but I continue to cut corners where I can. I understand exactly how you feel.

  5. It's tragic how older single women have to struggle with finances. I learned this first-hand as a 25-year-old from a much older co-worker. She was in an unhappy, unfaithful marriage but made the decision to stay married after reading the book "The Feminization of Poverty." The statistics she shared scared me into working 42 years before I retired. Even today women in the workforce only make pennies on the dollar compared with men's salaries. Yet the Equal Rights Constitutional Amendment has never been passed.

    There are many non-profit and government agencies with resources that might ease your financial strain. We recently qualified for 'Meals on Wheels' and a Senior Food Pantry based on our physical bad health and medical expenses. I was employed for a lifetime while maintaining a home, raised children, did volunteer work, and paid alot of taxes. At almost 80 years old, I do not feel one bit shy about seeking help. Good luck in this challenge that many women face.

  6. Boy I'm with you Laura! I'm now "single" (widowed)... and even though I do get my deceased's husband's social security, which is more than mine was, I still am at poverty level! I'm again having to tighten those boot straps as far as food goes as it's gotten so high in the last 6 months. I'm sitting down today to work out a new budget for food, and going to try to shop for an entire month at once, which I think will save me money in the long run, since I won't be going into the store as much. Going to any store, I end up buying things I don't need, because they are "there" to see! Many older ladies, even in their late 70's and 80's are being forced to live in Vans and boondock part of the time as they can't even afford to stay in paid campground areas. It's such a shame. I worked almost my entire life, and my social security definitely would NOT have been near enough to live on in a house, I would only have been able to afford a small RV to live in or maybe a tiny studio apartment. I ended up closing my Etsy shop, as the fees had raised, and since I sell small items, and with the shipping being higher, I was sometimes in the hole when I sold something! It also cost me more to make more things for my shop, as then I would just spend MORE money to make things, buy more stuff, etc. and then if they didn't sell, I was again in the hole. Etsy takes out way more in fees than they used to also! It's a very sad state of affairs. Marilyn

  7. It's certainly not easy to live on a fixed income today, Laura. Prices are sky high and social security definitely is not enough to support you. I have a super small Facebook and Instagram following, but I will share your Etsy shop. Maybe it will bring you some new shoppers. xo

  8. There are many terrific bloggers and youtubers who cover the issue of living well under strict budgets. I do believe that embracing frugality and simplicity is the way to go for seniors.

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