10 smart tips to save money on a tight budget
1. You can actually save on power costs. It is not just about standing up and switching off the fan you leave the room or keeping the AC off when the temperature is tolerable. For example, get your cabling checked regularly as poor cabling can add to your power bill. Plug off your electronic equipment when not in use as that also saves electricity. In case you are using heaters or air conditioners, ensure that small holes near the window are plugged as that can save substantial power. All this matters a lot.
2. You can smartly cut your telecom costs. Typically, a family of five has 6-7 mobile phones with a dedicated voice and internet connection for each person. You are unnecessarily overpaying. Reduce the internet connection on all phones to the bare minimum and take a single wi-fi connection with high GB data. It will work out much cheaper. Secondly, talk to your telecom service provider for a family connection where you can actually share calls and data and works out much cheaper.
3. How about buying groceries in bulk and ordering online. That is something we buy in a haphazard manner. Try to buy in bulk in the beginning of the month and use the online model for purchasing groceries. Most of the discounts get passed on to you.
4. You may be spending just too much on transport costs. Have you bothered to review how you are moving around? Are you taking a car or a cab where a metro could be equally comfortable but a lot quicker and cheaper? Are you unnecessarily driving through crowded roads and paying extra on petrol bills. Try and consolidate your car usage instead of taking out your car for each need separately.
5. Eating out can be done smartly. Avoid eating at restaurants where you end up paying for the ambience again and again. Prefer to lunch out as most restaurants in India offer discounted buffets during lunch time. You will get a hearty meal at a very reasonable price. It will also make a big difference to your budget.
6. Make the most of coupons and discounts. That is what they are for. You will have access to a plethora of discount coupons, online discount codes etc. Make full use of all of them. If you can get a 20 % discount each time you order a pizza or a cab, imaging how much you can actually save during the month.
7. Are you capitalizing on bargain sales and clearance sales? There is nothing to feel awkward about. Some of the smartest of businessmen have used this method of creating value and saving money. A clearance sale is not about bad stock. It is about making space for new products on the shelves. As well make the best of it.
8. Don 't blindly renew your insurance policies. That is something we all do. You get a renewal notice for your insurance and you just send the check or pay the money online. Wait a moment; have your compared rates online. That is something you must do. There are aggregators which give you a comparative analysis and you can select the best option from these. Also insurance companies are keener to pass on discounts to you if you purchase online rather than offline.
9. Check your bank account for silent charges. This can be a silent killer. SBI collects crores as minimum account balance charges, other fees etc. Review your account and if you are being charged MAB charges then just ask your bank to convert it into a zero balance account. Either your bank will convert it or they will agree to meet you half way. Either ways, you will save a good deal of money in the process.
10. Don 't overpay on credit cards. Look for cards without annual charges. That is a rip-off. Select cards with the lowest interest and to the extent possible pay off your credit dues on time. It does not make sense paying interest at the rate of 38 % on credit cards. Also make the most of payback points, free tickets, discount vouchers etc. All these can go a long way in reducing your costs in a tight budget scenario.