As hard working people we are, we want to live our lives to the fullest, enjoying every moment of it. After all we earn so that we can not only survive these times but also savor the good moments. Money cannot buy happiness they say, but is it practical? We need money. But at the end of the month we realize that there is not much left. Where has the money gone then? So, do we need to do an extra job to get more money. No, we don’t. We can however do one thing to see money in our bank at the end of a month. Savings! Savings does not mean compromising on everything, but yes, it does mean sacrificing little things to get going. After all, the future is uncertain. We must be able to maintain our lifestyle even when we will not be able to work.
Saving money seems difficult to laymen. The initial thought that comes to mind is, “Where to begin?”, ” How to start saving?”. Well, this little article will help you begin with your journey to save money and still live a good and enjoyable life.
Do away with expensive budgeting software
You heard it right. In order to begin saving money, you need to give your budgeting software a miss. If you know how to add, subtract, divide and multiply, I do not think that a software is necessary to calculate your expenses. A simple notebook and a calculator can do that job. Plus you will save that money you spend on the software. If you feel that is old school, and you cannot live without your computer, you can do basic book keeping in your favorite spreadsheet software.
Track your expenses
I spoke about this in the last article How to make a personal budget? It is necessary to track down your expenses to understand where is your money going. This is a long term exercise and one must do it diligently. There are some fixed expenses, some recurring ones, some periodic ones, some ‘once in the blue moon’ types. Make a note of all those expenses.
Do away with frivolous and unnecessary expenses
Once you have your notebook maintained for say, a month, it will be easier to know which expenses are significant and which are unimportant. Make a priority list. Categorize your expenses as Most Important, Least Important and Unnecessary. Food, rent, transportation are important ones. Unnecessary expenses will be impulsively buying things which you can do away with, for instance, showpieces. TV cable is unnecessary nowadays. Go for services like Netflix and save big bucks. It is not rocket science. You will have to work on the last two categories. Stop spending money on the frivolous and unimportant expenses.
Look for Cheaper alternatives
Once you have done away with the frivolous and unnecessary expenses, next you can do is look for cheaper alternatives of Most important and Important expenses. For eg. if you want to cut your hair, there is a 50 rupees option(local barber) and there is a 1500 rupees option(hair salon). You can save your money here by cutting your hair at the local barber. There are many. Even if there is a difference of a rupee, go for the cheaper one. Every rupee counts. However, make sure that quality is not compromised.
Set up a budget for every member of the family
In the previous article, I have mentioned about making a personal budget to save money. A good personal budget for each member of the family is necessary. This will definitely bring all members on one page and saving money will become a teamwork. Keep some incentives on achieving goals. For eg. If we save 5000 rupees, we can have dinner out or we can go to watch a movie.
This exercise of saving money is upsetting at first. There will be grumbles and groans. But later, it will be a happy experience. Saving money is not necessary a sacrifice on happiness. In fact, contentment is happiness. I hope these money saving tips will help you get started on your journey to accumulate wealth. Please feel free to post your thoughts in the comments section below.