You might think this is an another sermon on saving money and the article might ask you to start habits that might make you and your family lead a miserable life. I am not giving any such advice. Really! I am sharing some ways that will help you save money and make saving a lifelong habit.
Kickstart the Saving Habit before its late
1. Start with small steady steps – You have heard the phrase – ‘slow and steady wins the race’. We should use the same approach while saving. It is not easy for many of us to have discipline in our finances all the time. So you should start with small steps to inculcate the savings habit. You should set up a small target amount to be saved in the beginning. You need not wait for a big amount to invest. You can make small investments as soon as you have some savings or even before that – when you just get your income. Investing early is financially beneficial. When you meet these targets, you will get confident and be more motivated. You can then set bigger targets.You should be regular in your savings so that you have an idea of how much time it will take to meet your target and you are able to generate this amount in defined time. Try investing in PPF, MF SIP or Bank RD.
2. Plan your Shopping – Most of us love shopping. Shopping malls have attractive displays that tempt us to buy. Last month was such an example as all carries their season end sales. Before shopping especially in a mall, it is best to make a list beforehand of the things to buy/do there. When your hand reaches out for something, check the list and if it is not there, put the thing back in its place. It is best to use cash to shop – you will feel the real pain. You will have an idea of the money you are spending and be more conscious.
Many of us visit the mall as a weekend activity and end up splurging. Try to go to shopping centres only if it is required.
3. Make a budget and stick to it – It is important to create a monthly budget. Create a realistic budget of your expenses that includes expenses on entertainment and leisure as well. Then set a target amount to be saved every month. This is not enough. You should stick to the budget as well. Track your expenses and make sure you are not going over the budget. If some expenses are more than planned, try to reduce expenditure in another area so that the target amount to be saved is not compromised upon.
4. Avoid extensive use of credit cards – You like something and want it but do not have the money. That is not a problem as a simple swipe of the credit card gives you what you want. Credit cards are convenient when we are spending but when the bill comes, we realize that we went overboard. Do not keep more than 1 or 2 credit cards and use it only for emergencies like medical expenses. You should pay the bill on time and pay the full amount to avoid penalty charges or late fees. It will also save money and time that you lose in terms of calling up the credit card company and trying out innovative ways to reverse the charges. Read: 7 costly credit card mistakes almost everyone makes
Moreover if you really want something and you save up till you have enough money to buy it, you will understand the difference between wanting or just an impulse. You will value the purchase more as you know you have worked hard to get it.
5. Check your bills – Do you assess the amount you spend on petrol, electricity, mobile bills, cable, Internet plans etc? When the electricity bill comes or when you see the fuel bill, you cringe at the amount to be paid. Instead ensure that you or your family does not waste electricity by having energy efficient appliances in the house and unplugging/turning off appliances when not in use. You should check alternative options of commuting to work instead of using your private vehicle. You can try out public transport or taxi sharing. You might also meet interesting people that way.
Relook at your mobile plan, Internet plan and cable charges. Is the plan best suited for your usage? Are there more economical plans available? Do you receive channels on TV that you never view? Answers to these questions will help you get an optimum plan and reduce your expenses. These steps would result in increased savings. Read: How someone reduced Rs 20000 from annual expenses – just 8 hours effort
6. Donate to yourself – This is a great idea. It helps in two ways. Every time you splurge or make unplanned expenses, put away a small percentage of the spent amount in a box. This will make you think twice before buying something and also increase your savings, as money would get accumulated over a period of time if you don’t follow your budget.
7. New ways to earn money – You need not stop at earning one income. Were you part of a band in your college days? Were you the one who everyone went to when they had to finish up their projects? You can freelance for assignments where your talents lie. You could take up creative projects, take tuitions or be part of a music band playing in hotels, functions for the weekends. You will earn more leading to more savings and at the same time you might find your true calling or end up starting a new business/profession.
These steps will ensure that you get into the habit of saving. Savings will ensure that you have a stronger financial base. You will feel good that you achieved your targets and just feeling good about oneself definitely does wonders to the mind and body.
Please share your saving strategy in comment section – hope that will help other readers.
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