The day when I started with my first paycheck, I’ve been thinking how to save money for the future, but it was always hard for me to do so, because of my spending habits.
It was almost a kind of an unsolved puzzle until last month, when I realized that, I have been able to save Rs. 100,000 in a short span of time with simple techniques.
According to “The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development”, most of the Americans save on average only 4.5% of their income, while Europeans save nearly 8% and Australians more than 11%.
If I’m not wrong, the day when you get a credit card bill your reaction will be oh my god!, I need to cut down my expenses and save some money, and thereafter within 2 to 3 days you will forget about that and start spending as you had been done before.
Save money or spend, which one is difficult?
The minute if I ask below question what is your answer..?
Which one is hard for you, whether it is saving money or spending?, your immediate answer will be saving money.
According to world’s richest man Warren Buffett on saving money– “If you buy things you don’t need, you will soon sell things you need”
So now you tell me where do you want be? will you save or spend?
How to save money – with simple strategy
Saving money isn’t a rocket science; perhaps anyone can do that by using simple tips & techniques. But the big question is where to start!. I’ll show you how you can also do that with 6 simple steps.
1) Setup a clear goal
According to sorted.org “your goals should be specific, realistic, and write down your goals. Keep each goal simple and give it a time frame and a dollar amount.”
It all started with a clear goal, I’ve set my goal four months back something like this “I want to save Rs.100, 000 in the next four months”.
I’ve written down that in a piece of paper and stick it into my study table (that is where I’ll spend most of my time, when I’m at home). Every time when see that, I used to think where all I can cut my expenses to save money.
The best possible way for me to cut down unwanted costs is to avoid going out for Dinner or Lunch.
The next big thing that comes to my mind was managing my bills!
Takeaway: Setup a clear and precise goal and act on it
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2) Save first and spend next
In my entire process I was greatly inspired by one of the powerful quotes from Warren Buffet – “Don’t Save what is left after spending; spend what is left after saving”.
So my next step is to save the maximum amount that I can from my monthly income. I had been earning Rs. 40k after all the taxes. So my goal was to save 25k every month to achieve my 100,000 goals.
But the big question that was in my mind was, does it possible for me to manage entire month with 15k?. I’m staying in Bangalore, where cost of living is very high; on top of that, I had never done anything like this before.
Strategy that works for everyone:
Considering all the facts, I’ve come up with an Idea, where I’ll make use of my savings bank account to deal with this situation.
Step#1: Every 1st working day of the month (by that time, my salary will be credited), I should transfer 25k from my salary account to SB account.
Step#2: So, now I have left with 15k in my salary account, in which I’ll have to pay Rent, electricity bill, Fuel, Groceries & other expenses too.
Step#3: After paying house rent & others expenses, I had left with 3 to 3.5k out of 15k
By doing what I’ve mentioned above, I was able to limit my spending. Whenever I tend to buy something, I used to re-think whether it is really important for me to buy or it’s just another ‘want’.
Takeaway: Always save first & spend next
3) Be aware of Grocery shopping
Very often we tend to buy unwanted things at the time of grocery shopping. Attractive offers and small discounts are the main motivating factors for this.
Since I’ve taken up this challenge I had to make sure, not to buy anything that I don’t need, so that I can avoid leakage of money from my budget.
Here is what I did:
We’ve prepared a list, in which we have written down all the necessary groceries to buy for the month. I did a little research and found few budget stores where I can get little bit of discount on MRP of the product.
Then we went for shopping and bought only items that are in my list. We have also avoided most of the prepackaged items, because often times these will cost you more due to branding & packaging.
Takeaway: It’s very advisable go with a per-prepared list & buy only items that are in the list, irrespective of great tempting offers.
4) Say good bye to credit card (temporarily)
Most of us believe using a credit card is a bad idea, because you may tend to spend on unwanted things, you may have to pay high penalties.
Do you know..? on the other side you could save little money by using your credit card.
But for this challenge I’ve stopped using credit cards. The reason was very simple, I just don’t want to scatter my expenses. I just want one single gateway for all my expenses, so that I can track them effectively.
So, most of my expenses have been paid using my salary account, where I had left over money after paying House rent & Electricity bill.
Without missing, every month I’ve pulled my account statement and carefully analyzed to find out if there are leakages.
Takeaway: Organize your payments and analyze them periodically (preferably monthly), the best source would be your bank statement.
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5) My meal my choice at home
My part-time cooking habit eventually becomes helping hand when I take up this challenge. Very often we used to go out for a weekend dinner, if I remember correctly once I’ve almost paid Rs. 1200 for two of us.
It’s crazy, paying Rs.1200 for two people!, So we have decided to cook everything at home, thanks to YouTube for letting me to learn & cook restaurant style dishes at home.
Just to give you an example 1 plate chicken curry will cost you at least Rs. 150 to 180 in restaurants, whereas if you buy 1 kg chicken and cook at home it will cost you around Rs. 250.
I don’t say you shouldn’t go out for dinner/lunch, but there should be a limit on how many times that you can go. Otherwise eventually you’ll end up spending a considerable amount of money for weekend meals.
On top of everything cooking food at home is healthy and delicious, hence don’t forget “your Health is your Wealth”
Takeaway: Don’t spillover money on expensive restaurants, try to minimize & prioritize home food.
6) Smart bill payments:
I did a lot of research over the Internet to find out, if there are any offers available to make my bill payments like Mobile & Electricity.
Thanks to digital wallets, I have managed to get some discounts on my mobile & DTH bill payments. Throughout four months I’ve been doing lots of research to grab every possible offer to save money.
In line with that, once I have got Rs. 100 cash back on recharging 100 with Mobikwik digital wallet. It may look very less, but I was counting every penny.
Here is another example where Mobikwik is offering 10% additional cashback when you make purchases from Bigbazaar & pay using their wallet.
Takeaway: Before making any bill payments try to spend some time over internet to find out if there are any offers available.
Do you still think saving money is really hard …? I hope you’re not!
Saving money is not a Rocket science, you just need to set a right goal and you should act on it in any given circumstances.
It might be difficult when you do it for the first time, second time or the third time, but it will never be difficult when you challenge yourself.
Just to summarize, it all starts with a crystal clear goal then the concept of saving first & spending next will come into picture, Indeed, pay attention to your Grocery shopping, know how to use your credit card, stay away with expensive weekend meals and lastly become smart bill paymenter.
Have you ever tried anything like this before..? if you do so why don’t you share your experience with us..? if you haven’t tried yet, it’s not too late, you can try now with the above guidelines..!!
Let me know what do you think…!!