Tips & Tricks For Living With Alzheimer’s/Dementia – Your Budget

I have dementia (stage 5), physical health issues, and care for my mother, my daughter, and granddaughter. Many ask me how I do it. My answer is that I do it with heaps of supports and adaptations in place, that’s how. These are things that I created myself, and will one day publish into a book, and I have come to think of them affectionately, as ways in which I am my own caregiver.

Tips & Tricks For Living With Alzheimer’s/Dementia – Budget

Of the many ways I support myself in my continued functioning has to do with having created a Master Budget, but it is not just a budget. What it is essentially, is step-by-step instructions that walk me through the process of paying my bills each month.

Step 1 In Preparing A Master Budget Plan

We looked at all the bills for the year prior to the transfer. Most bills are fairly fixed, but for the ones that fluctuate through the seasons, we calculated using the highest range…so that, if the bill was high, I would have enough to cover it. If it was lower, then I would have extra money left over (which is always nice). We added them all together.

Next, we subtracted the bills from my monthly income. Because I am on disability, I have a fixed monthly income. Although all the bills total nearly my whole income, I felt good (safe) knowing that I at least have enough to cover all the bills, with a tiny remainder for food and necessities. It is a very tight budget, and no room for error.

Step 2 Creating The Plan

Next, I needed literal, step-by-step instructions of what to do and when to do it, or I would get lost in the process. I needed help to break this down into what I do first, and when; what I do next, and when; and so forth. My ILS worker helped me to do that.

My plan looks like this:

* The first step in the plan, is to call the bank and make sure that I got paid the amount that I should get paid.

* Next, transfer money to savings for all non-monthly bills (the monthly savings amounts are pre-calculated).

* The next steps are to use my phone to pay all the bills I can that way.

* Next, I must wait for the two re-occurring auto-payments.

* Finally, on the 10th or so, I call the bank again to make sure all the bills went through, and that I am still in the positive.

The plan has all the dates/amounts/etc. details in it, and walks me (literally) step-by-step through each task.

There are some bills, like property taxes, that are not paid monthly. When these come due, I have to add it to the bills I pay by phone.

So far, this works perfectly for all the regular bills. This would not work for anything unexpected.

Step 3 How It Works

It works because I don’t have to actually balance anything. Although, I still do try to do the math, I don’t have to. The magic in that is that we used the highest amounts the bills would ever be, so I will always have enough…unless something strange or unexpected happened.

It also works because it is the same thing each month. The regularity helps a great deal in that it is now a pattern (like a cow path, the more I traverse it, the deeper it becomes, and so the harder to traverse any other path than this one).

It can be very confusing and strange for me to know that I need to call and pay the bills, but I trust my budget plan and that it says on these dates I do these things, and I always feel the vital need of these tasks. So, I don’t need to understand the bills, or the amounts, I just need to follow what I told myself to do…and I will be ok.

So far, it works great…for me.

Copyright August 14, 2015, all rights reserved.

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