Today we are looking to delve into the matter of saving money while living in India. My mission is to convince you that it is possible to save funds no matter what is your current financial situation. Speaking both from my own experience and that of my closest relatives, I can tell you that getting the skills needed to control your spending leads to the possibility of saving a lot of money in the long run.
What do I mean by saying “a lot”? There’s not an universal answer to this question – you have to find it yourself although I will do my absolute best to help you succeed at doing just that! I’m pretty sure the unique financial calculations that you will find in most of my posts on this blog, as well as Excel spreadsheet models for managing household and other budgets, will help you grasp the idea of becoming a skilled money saver.
First things first… how to actually make money?
This is the most common question asked by people who get themselves into financial difficulties. But even those who don’t have any debts constantly wonder how to improve their wealth. Out of many questions asked by people looking to improve their financial situation, these are the most frequent:
- How to assure the financial future of you and your family?
- How to save money for a holiday trip?
- How to save money for your own flat?
- How much money should you make in order to start fulfilling your hobbies?
9 out of 10 people asked about their saving tactics tell me that there’s none – and they always manage to spend their whole salary every month. Those who somehow manage to save very often spend the whole savings on periodic payments such as: vacation, car insurance, birthday presents etc. What is quite extraordinary from my point of view is that same answers come both from people earning 20k a month and those who make 6-figure sums.
There’s no doubt whatsoever that improving your monthly salary is extremely important and increases your chances of becoming a wealthy person but earning more doesn’t always mean saving more. As mentioned above, those who earn a lot still somehow manage to save as little as (= nothing) those acquiring much less. The key to the start of your saving habits is to limit your spending. And I assure you – your current earnings mean very little here. Everyone reading this blog – if sticking to my tips and guidelines – will start saving eventually!
If you are currently in debt, you should know better than anyone about how important it is to have that extra 1k a month (which means extra 12k every year!). Whether you are currently battling financial struggle or just want to improve the numbers on your bank account, I hope that my posts will inspire you and help you become an expert at running your own budget and savings on daily basis.
Is saving difficult?
There’s no point in lying – becoming a saving person doesn’t come that easy. But nothing that’s really valuable in life does. It requires a lot of discipline, mainly in managing and controlling your own spendings. It also requires you to change some of your habits that lead to frivilous spendings – for example by replacing long luxury baths with quick showers. At the same time, though, it is worth remembering that there’s a thin line between being a saver and becoming a miser.
What I can assure you about is that regular saving gives you an feeling of satisfaction caused by the fact that you don’t overpay and are itching closer and closer to financial freedom every day. There’s a lot of definitions of financial freedom – as many as there are people living in India, actually. For some it is just getting rid of all the debts and for others having millions in their bank accounts. Savings also give us the feeling of having a lifebuoy at our hand – one that can save us when our financial situation gets worse due to a loss of job or any unplanned-but-unavoidable expenses.
How to start saving?
I try to live every day by one simple rule: if something has to be done, get on it immediately and have it finished as quickly as possible. I start by analysing the current situation I’m in, draw up an action plan and only then do I proceed to the first step.
When it comes to saving, it looks pretty the same. At first it is essential to conduct a small research into your budget – figure out how much do you earn and what % of this is spent every month. I think it is essential because it is extremely difficult to start saving not knowing what the money is regularly spent on. Only after having a list of expenses can you decide which of these are unavoidable and which can we live without.
I fully understand that becoming a saver doesn’t happen overnight and getting some serious discipline into your life may not be easy either. That’s why at the start I’d like you to complete some easy tasks that will move you a step closer to becoming a saving expert.
- Get up and try to note down the current level of your hot & cold water meter as well as electricity and gas. Write down today’s date and the level of each meter.
- Set up a reminder in your calendar for the last day of every month so you can check those meters in the same or at least similar periods of time.
- Collect ALL receipts for your shopping and money-withdrawal activities. If you haven’t gotten a receipt for your shopping in one of the shops, please ask for it. It is important as I will want you to do the first analysis of your spending in a month’s time.
Household budget managing tools
In the next few posts I’m going to talk in detail about the available tools for managing your household budget. If you feel like you already want to get familiar with some of them, below find the top 3 available and used by me at present:
- Microsoft Excel – an ordinary Excel sheet is a perfect way of running and controlling your household budget.
- Microsoft Money Plus Sunset Deluxe – pretty old but still gold app that I’ve been using for over 10 years now (I’ve been running my household budget since 2001). Unfortunately, Microsoft doesn’t update the app any more so there’s no technical support available for the users. The good news is that it is completely free and you can download it from here.
- Quicken – Microsoft Money’s biggest competitor. It is a fantastic software but currently not available for free and doesn’t allow a free trial.
The benefits of controlling your spending
The biggest benefit of controlling your every-month expenses is learning about where most of your hard-earned money goes. To get you more enthusiastic about the whole idea, let me point out some examples of household budget managing from my own home.
- We are a 4-person family with 2 beautiful kids. Throughout their whole “littleness”, they’ve managed to use diapers of 150,121 worth – despite the fact that most of these were bought during special sales or promotions.
- Do you like to have your photos printed? So do we. Throughout the last 10 years we’ve spent 100,050 on photo printing – notwithstanding the fact that we still mostly display photos on our computer.
- We love reading and do our best not to spend too much on magazines and books. Still, in the last 10 years we have managed a total bill of 191,212 for this purpose.
- Above-mentioned expenses seem like nothing when compared with our costs of living (food, bills etc.) – 4,101,211 spent in the last decade!
It goes without saying it is impossible to eliminate all the expenses from our lives – but it’s just as certain that it is possible to reduce them without any real consequences in our way of living. Just think for a moment looking at the above numbers. Reducing all of them by a simple 5% would save us an amazing sum of 227129.7! Do you still think that it is not worth to save?
I’m incredibly grateful that you’ve made it this far and read the whole article. If you are at least a bit enthusiastic about the whole idea and my views on the matter of managing your own money, feel free too share your views in the comments section below. And don’t forget to bookmark my website!