Saving is a hard habit to foster and it often feels like no matter how hard you try, there’s just never enough to go around at the end of the month. Spending is inevitable; but what if there was a way you could save while you spend?
You can do just that using these 5 simple savings tips and tricks
1. Indulge in local shopping
Malls and supermarkets are routine pit stops for most of us. From groceries to household needs to clothes, we don’t think twice about splurging on known brands. Instead, check out local markets in your area. Homegrown is in and there are many local producers who are eager to provide quality services at affordable rates.
Local markets are ideal for buying food items, clothes, accessories and home needs. Producers sell items directly without having to deal with a supply chain. Not only does this let you check quality at source, it also eliminates the cost of middlemen, overheads and personal travel costs.
2. Cash vs. credit
Your credit card was devised to help you spend. There’s no debating the convenience it offers and every store worth its stock will let you transact using one for as little as a hundred bucks. But credit cards were devised to make you spend. So leaving it home every once in a while isn’t a bad idea. Try cash or debit cards for everyday needs to ensure you don’t indulge in thoughtless spending.
Quick trips to the store for milk and eggs shouldn’t turn into a shopping expedition. Cash limits your spending power to what you really set out to buy. Regular cash spends also keep you aware of your account balance and does away with the anxiety that accompanies huge credit card bills at the end of every month.
3. Keep an eye on household spends
You may spend hours preparing the perfect budget, clearly outlining all your major spends. But no budget is ever drawn up without the head ‘miscellaneous’ or ‘other’ expenses to deal with minor expenditure. Like a leaky faucet, your so-called insignificant spends drain your income and limit your savings.
Track utilities and minor household expenses to eliminate unnecessary expenditure. Simple things like not running a washing machine everyday, or turning off the lights in a room no one’s using, contributes to a healthy sum every month. Even a few thousands saved every month can provide healthy annual returns if redirected towards a savings instrument like a mutual fund.
4. Compare prices
As creatures of habit, we often pay asking prices because that’s what we’re used to and that’s all we know. The only time we’re truly conscious about prices is when a mega sale is announced at our favorite store. But it is always advisable to compare prices on a regular basis.
While traditional brick and mortar stores mark-up prices to meet costs, online stores offer discounts and freebies to generate sales. Extend price comparison to intangible products as well. Stay updated on costs and prices offered by your financial services providers like your bank, insurance company, credit card issuer and others. You can save by moving to lower priced products and services and availing the latest offers. This is especially true during festivals and holiday seasons. With the availability of online financial calculators, saving this way has never been easier.
5. Pay yourself
Saving is never associated with spending so its not uncommon to try to control spending and focus a lot less on saving. But by associating the two, you’d build up a tidy sum at the end of every month. You can do this by putting away a fixed albeit small sum of money aside for every expense made.
If you were to put aside a single rupee on every ten bucks spent, you’d have a thousand bucks for every ten thousand spent. The math is simple and you don’t feel the pinch of putting aside a small amount every month. It will reduce the guilt of having to make large, necessary purchases and over a few months, you will have rewarded yourself with a small personal savings fund.