Last night I was reading about calories. Empty calories to be specific. Even if one consumes a measly number, say 100 calories a day, it adds to 3000 in a month. Nearly the same we have to burn to lose a pound. That made me realize how even a small change can bring a big impact in the long run. I was reviewing our monthly budget later and I decided to bring small changes in my monthly expenditure as well. I’ve been doing a few things to cut my expenses and added few more on the list. Here are the easy changes that can help us save thousands every month.
Shop on assigned days unless it’s an emergency
The best way to stick to your monthly budget is to shop on pre-assigned days. We tend to spend money every time we go to the market. Some of the items we buy are not even necessary. We see, we buy. We think later, though. Correct this by shopping on specific days of the week.
Control impulsive spending by managing your credit cards
Most of us have multiple credit cards. Categorize the credit cards. Keep separate credit cards for grocery shopping, online shopping and for big purchases. This way we can streamline our spending. Keep high-limit credit cards at home to avoid impulsive shopping. Don’t carry all credit cards while going out.
Plan your meals twice a week
One of our major excuses to eat out is not being able to decide what to cook. After a day’s work, our brain is tired to think of a quick meal. Plan ahead to avoid that. Make meal plan on the weekend or twice a week. This would help to save a lot as eating out is really expensive these days. One less meal per week can help you save up to 1500 INR.
Unsubscribe from mailing lists of your favorite brands
Sale events, online deals, and special offers are temptation traps. When we see a good deal, we want to grab it. We fall for the offer whether we want the product or not. Avoid them completely. Unsubscribe from the emails of your favorite brands.
Download a price comparison app on your phone
Apps come handy while shopping online. It shows the website where the product is available at the most competitive price. Download an app and compare the price before placing an order.
Invite friends, instead of going out
Eating out is one of the major expenses in our budget. And it’s an easy one to control. Hang out with your friends at home, instead of a mall. Rather than ordering food, organize a potluck. It’s more intimate, fun and personal.
Clean up the closets and sell the unwanted stuff
The more stuff we have, the more time and money we spend in maintaining it. Sell all that you haven’t used in the last 6 months. Make some money and some space in your closets.
Assign a day for repairs, maintenance, and cleaning appliances
My mother has the same mixer for the last 30 years. I have changed two blenders in the last eight. We buy small appliances more often than our parents. We can cut this expense out by repairing them and running monthly maintenance. Like – cleaning AC filter screen and steam iron. It makes the products efficient and reduces the electricity bill.
Plant a vegetable garden
Homegrown produce is fresh, tastes better and saves hundreds every month. If you have a patch of land, grow seasonal vegetables. If not, make some room on the terrace or in the kitchen. Plant vines and herbs in pots.
Read a book
I do two things when I am free. Either I eat or I surf products online. We tend to indulge in wasteful activities when we are bored. When I am not entertained, I buy movies, which I don’t enjoy much. The best activity is to read a book. Reading is a good habit and a great way of entertaining ourselves. Become a member of a local library to borrow books. Save the money we tend to spend while spending time at a cafe or mall.
Walk whenever and wherever you can
Walking is a great exercise. It refreshes the mind and saves money too. Don’t hire an auto to go to the grocery store. If weather and health permits, walk. I used to walk to the weekly farmer’s market in Noida savings INR 20 and used that money to buy fruits. Same applies to your car and two wheelers. Take them out when need be. Save on fuel and be healthy. Walk to small distances.
Think before adding an item in the shopping cart
We spot a deal in the supermarket and grab it. We don’t think twice. It’s only when we see the product unused on the kitchen shelf, it pinches us. Don’t grab a deal unless you really want it. Think before you add an item in your shopping cart, not after you’ve bought it. Use this trick – I call my friend to ask if she needs it. This way we split the cost and buy the product at a bargained price.
Don’t go out on an empty stomach
I follow this rule very strictly. My husband had the habit of wrapping tasks fast. So, he wanted to go grocery shopping at 11 am on Saturday, which was around lunch time. Not only did we buy extra products but we went to a restaurant for lunch as we could not wait longer to go home and cook. We wasted a lot of money earlier. Hence, I made this change. I don’t head out for any place without eating first. Great way to save money. If I am in a rush, I take a packet of biscuits, fruits or nuts in my purse.
Sounds funny? It’s more like a carpool. Make shopping buddies. Don’t go to all the stores. Give one store to your friend with a list of items you want. You can go to another to fetch what they need. I go to Walmart and my friend who has Costco membership buys what we need from there. We call in advance and have devised our own monthly system. We save on membership fees, fuel cost, time and money.
Learn leftover recipes
To control food wastage and save money on excess cooking, learn leftovers recipes. Leftover cooking is easy and less time-consuming. Kids love them and they make perfect tea-time snacks or breakfast items.
Check for free events in newspaper for weekend outings
Cut your entertainment budget by attending events that are free. Browse local newspaper to check for ongoing exhibitions, events, cultural festivals and music shows. Attend with your friends and family. Such events are more fun than two and half hours of movie and empty expenses on popcorn and soda. Explore more art forms.
Be positive and meditate
Last but not the least, try to bring more positivity into your life. Meditate or practice yoga. Happy people make wise decisions. This aspect is reflected in every walk of life, including the financial matters.
Make these small adjustments to save money. These changes would help you to be in better control of your finances and life.
A Company Secretary by profession, Saru found her true calling in writing. She blogs at sarusinghal.com which she religiously updates every Monday for the last five years.
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