Glittering lights, glimmering hopes, and thousands of migrants dreaming of success. The bustling metros are considered the best cities to live in India because they have all this and more. So, if you’ve landed up in one of these places with big dreams and even bigger ambitions, you’re in good company.
You settle into your new high-flying job, make new friends, rent a great PG accommodation, get familiar with your surroundings, and you feel like you’re on the right track to success. But as your life starts filling up with more and more change and excitement, your wallet starts getting emptier. Because big cities can be expensive and there are always avenues to spend your hard-earned money.
And of course, you deserve to reap the rewards of your hard work, but it’s equally important to maintain a strong saving habit, especially if you’re just starting your career. Getting into the habit of saving a constant percentage of your income each month will set you up for financial stability, help you maintain an emergency fund for rainy days, and even save up for vacations or significant purchases.
But how can you get into the habit of saving without feeling the pinch? It’s actually a lot easier than you might think. Making some simple changes to your usual budget and lifestyle will help you save thousands of rupees every week. Let’s take a look.
Use cash when possible
With the world of banking and payments going digital, it sometimes gets hard for you to visualise how much you’re spending out of your weekly budget. But turning that budget into cash will make it a lot easier for you to see your expense patterns. This doesn’t need to be a permanent change, but even trying it out for a few months can make a huge difference to your savings. All you need to do is withdraw the amount of money that you budget for a week in cash form and use it to pay off your expenses.
Avoid using apps like PayTM or credit card transactions this week, and only rely on the money you physically have. If you’ve got your payment information saved on online delivery apps, delete them and choose the cash on delivery option instead. Knowing that you only have a limited supply of cold hard cash in front of you will help you limit your spending and be more judicious about where you splash your cash. Like we said, this doesn’t need to be a permanent change, and you can still use online transactions for larger payments like rent or utility bills, but it’s a good practice to get you used to exercising self-control.
Make larger one-time investments
When it comes to spending large amounts of money, most of us exercise a lot of caution. And that makes sense, but sometimes it can end up being misplaced. Examine your day-to-day routine and think about the small recurring payments that you make on a daily or weekly basis. The simplest example could be the morning cup of coffee that you pick up from the cafe below your office every day.
The few hundreds of rupees you’re spending on coffee through the week adds up to a much larger amount than you’d expect. So, it might make more sense for you to invest in a coffee machine for your home. This might seem more expensive since it’s a large one-time investment, but it’ll end up saving you money in the long run. Similarly, if one of your recurring expenses is from sending all your clothes out to an ironing service on a weekly basis, consider purchasing an ironing board for your home instead.
Not only will you become more self-sufficient, but you might also find the process of laundry and ironing calming in the middle of a busy week. Making a few swaps like this can have a huge impact on your long-term savings each month, and you’ll soon find you’ve recovered the cost of your investment too.
Plan your meals
You might not think meal planning is directly related to helping you save money, but the largest portion of your regular living expenses goes on food and grocery shopping. If you’re someone who orders in or eats out a lot, consider cutting back on the frequency. Meal planning is a great way of getting yourself into the habit of cooking and will help you save a large amount of money. Plus, you’ll have the satisfaction of having made your own meals, and that’s irreplaceable.
Meal planning also comes in handy in cutting down your grocery expenses. When you’ve given some thought to what you’ll be eating in a week, you won’t spend money on extra snacks or fresh produce that you won’t end up using, thereby reducing both food waste and your expenditure. Now that’s what we call a win-win.
Segregate your wants and needs
If you think the cost of living in India is unreasonably high, you need to think again. Because having a smart budget and strong saving habits can make India one of the most affordable places to live. And if you’re a novice at saving up, segregating your expenses into needs and wants can help you build the habit. Think about it. So much of what you buy aren’t things that you really need, but that you picked up on an impulse because you wanted them.
In fact, sometimes you overspend on those wants so much that you run out of money for the essentials. So, when you’re planning your monthly budget and expenses, make a list of the necessities first. These are the things you definitely can’t do without – your PG rent, bills, groceries, commute etc. And then put down your wants – the non-essential items that you enjoy and would like to purchase.
Learning to build a savings habit doesn’t mean you’re never allowed to indulge; it just means cutting down on some wants when you can. This way you’ll never run out of money for essentials and be able to save some extra cash too.
And there you have it. Simple and easy lifestyle and budget changes that will make a whole world of difference to your wallet. Go ahead and give them a try.