How many times have you found yourself in the same old situation? You tell yourself every single month that you’ll stop spending and start saving, but for one reason or another, you always give in to temptation and whip out your Credit Card at the drop of a hat.
Whether it’s a weekend binge with friends, a flash sale at your local shopping mall or just buying a bunch of stuff that you probably won’t even use, you just can’t seem to keep your expenses under control.
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If you’re contemplating handcuffing yourself to your window grills at home to stop yourself from going out and blowing up your savings, we’re here to tell you that you don’t really need to go to such extremes. After all, you really don’t want people to think that you’re taking your love for 50 Shades of Grey a little too seriously.
So, keeping the handcuffs and similar rambunctious paraphernalia aside, here are 5 simple ways you can cut down on your expenses in 2017.
1) Start Saying ‘No’
Saying no is probably one of the simplest things to do, and one of the hardest as well.
When it comes to curbing your spending, it really is all about putting your foot down and telling yourself that you don’t HAVE to head out every weekend or buy the most expensive thing you see when you go out shopping.
The next time your friends bug you to paint the town red with them, all you have to do is tell them that you’re busy or you have something really important to do. Sure, you’ll probably get that sinking feeling once you hang up your phone, but that will soon be countered by the elation you’ll feel when you see the balance in your Savings Account not only intact, but actually rising over the coming months.
Just keep at it and give it some time. Soon you will have mustered enough will power to not fall completely off the wagon even if you do splurge once in a while.
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2) Lock Your Cards Away
Staring at your Credit Card or Debit Card sneakily peeking out your wallet could certainly tempt you to spend more than you can afford. What you need to do to bring your constant spending to a screeching halt is to withdraw just enough money to take care of your basic expenses for the week and then keep your cards under lock and key.
Even if you don’t trust yourself enough to keep you from reaching for your cards when the urge to spend gets a bit too much, you could hand over your cards to your parents or even your spouse giving them explicit instructions to clonk you over the head even if you come grovelling to them.
Regardless of what method you employ, make sure you keep your cards out of sight and out of mind. Before you know it, your dependency on your plastic friends will slowly fade away and you’ll exercise better judgement whenever you need to use them next.
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3) Find Alternatives
Even if you can’t curb your spending completely, you could certainly bring them down to a manageable level. All you need to do is identify where and on what you spend most of your money on, and then figure out cheaper alternatives.
For example, watching movies at a theatre could cost you a pretty penny. With tickets upwards of Rs. 350 with a further Rs. 400-500 spent on snacks, you’re looking at an expense of anywhere between Rs. 800 – 1,000 for a single viewing.
Instead, you could subscribe to an online movie service like Hotstar for instance, which will set you back a mere Rs. 199 per month. Not only will you save a sizeable amount every month, but you get a larger variety of movies, which you can watch anytime.
Similarly, you don’t really need to buy the most expensive clothes or shoes out there. There are tons of cheaper and similarly durable alternatives out there if you just do a little research. In fact, you could cut down your apparel shopping expenditure by more than half simply by looking for better deals at factory outlets.
And, to keep you from spending the money you save, you could start investing that amount by opening a Public Provident Fund account and diverting extra funds into it every month.
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4) Change Location
If you find that the locality you’re living in is contributing towards the rise in your daily or weekly expenditure, then perhaps it’s time to move.
While this may seem like a drastic step, it could also be one of the most positive moves you could ever take. And by moving, we don’t even mean moving towns or cities. You could move to a cheaper area within your own city to keep your expenses at a minimum.
You could move into an apartment with a lower rent, or move closer to where you work to save on transport costs. Or maybe even move to a locality that is a fair distance from your old haunts just so you can put a fair distance between yourself and all the places that used to entice you into parting with your money.
And with Home Loan interest rates falling, you could get yourself a really nice place for a decent sum. So, instead of spending willy-nilly every month, you could spend on making monthly repayments towards you Home Loan, which will certainly benefit you in the long run.
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5) Be Energy Efficient
Take a look around your home. There are tons of ways you could cut down on your monthly expenses simply by being a little more energy efficient right under your own roof. All you need to do is identify all the things around your house or apartment that you tend to spend on the most and curtail them.
For example, you could reduce your electricity bill every month by switching off lights when there isn’t any need for them. You could also do the same with your fans, television and any other electrical appliances that don’t really need to run throughout the day.
And if you want to get some exercise in, you could start washing your own clothes instead of letting you washing machine do all the work. Also, with summer already upon us, you can do away with running the water heater every morning and start taking cold showers. Not only will this reduce your utility expenditure, but it will most definitely have a positive effect on your health as well.
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With a third of the year already over, it’s time to get cracking and nip your expenses in the bud. As the old saying goes, ‘’it’s better late than never’’.