TomorrowMakers

Have a look at 31 ways on how women can save money in March and how they can follow the same pattern for the rest of the year.

31 ways to manage that March moolah

Indians have traditionally had a reputation for being scrupulous savers. This is evident from the healthy savings-to-GDP ratio of about 34.6% in FY 2012. But this trend has been slowly changing as the savings rate declined to 30% in FY 2017. Households comprise 60% of these savings. Macro shocks such as demonetisation and implementation of GST were seen as the primary reason for these. But for the economy to stay resilient and grow, it is important that the savings rate doesn’t decline; instead, it should achieve a sustainable level.

Indian women have always been skilled savers; they don’t need preachy lessons on the saving habit. In fact, there have been anecdotes about Indian housewives producing currency notes worth lakhs when coming to the bank to exchange notes. Working women have witnessed their mothers and grandmothers being judicious with spending. Therefore, they know of both traditional and the latest methods to save and invest.

However, here is a checklist of tips that can augment such efforts: 

  1. Establish your budget – Preparation is half the battle won. You are more likely to save once you create a budget. You can either save it as an Excel file or write it in your diary.
  2. Create cash envelopes – Create cash envelopes for monthly indulgences. For instance, you can insert Rs 300 in an envelope titled ‘movie’, Rs 200 in an envelope titled ‘snacks and candy’, Rs 1500 in an envelope marked ‘massage’ and so on. If an envelope is out of money before or by 31st March, spend no more on that indulgence.
  3. Pay with cash – Wherever possible, pay with cash. When you take out cash from your purse, the feeling of letting the money go will ensure that you are careful about how much you spend. Another benefit is that if it’s a large amount, you can try to negotiate with the seller.
  4. Get a Kindle – If you are an avid reader, get a Kindle. The cost difference between e-books and paperbacks (generally upwards of Rs 100) can become a huge amount over time. A Kindle e-reader costs around Rs 6000. So, if you read three books a month, you would recover your money in about two years. Alternatively, you could download a Kindle App to your phone and read on that. You will also save money on shelves to house your books.
  5. Skip the takeout – Food delivery apps have made it a breeze to order from your favourite restaurants. Even if you skip ordering once a week, you can save a couple of thousands.
  6. Bid goodbye to FOMO – The fear of missing out is very real. We often see friends post pictures on social media of their exotic vacations or dinners at posh restaurants. The temptation to be one of them can be strong. But hold on. Aren’t there other priorities? Maybe they come first.
  7. Make a grocery shopping list – Most of us make a mental list while going grocery shopping. Nevertheless, there are impulse purchases. Sometimes you may also purchase something that is already there at home – such as a can of sugar you forgot about. You can avoid these impulse purchases by preparing a grocery list and sticking to it.
  8. Buy in bulk – If you are purchasing in bulk from your local grocery store regularly, the owner might be happy to give you a discount without too much persuasion. It is thus a good idea to plan your purchases.
  9. Use a geyser with an adjustable thermostat – Most bathroom geysers are set to heat the water to 60 °C. This is not only harmful to the skin but also consumes more electricity. Buy a geyser with an adjustable thermostat and set it to 45°C.
  10. Reduce electricity consumption – Switching off switches and electrical appliances when they are not in use can considerably reduce your electricity bill. Also, switch off appliances at the plug socket. Replace old tube lights and bulbs with LED lights. Your old fan could be consuming as much as twice the electricity of a modern BEE-rated fan. 
  11. Use food coupons – Redeem online and offline coupons whenever you can. Warren Buffett, one of the world’s richest men, is reputed to have once bought lunch for Bill Gates using a McDonald’s coupon.
  12. Claim cashback wherever possible – Almost all payment gateways offer attractive cashback for a certain number of purchases in a month. Claim them without fail.
  13. Port your mobile service provider – Porting your mobile service to the cheapest provider could reduce your phone bills. Alternatively, if your mobile has a dual SIM, use the cheapest service as your primary one and let your older SIM card remain dormant. You could phase it out slowly after ensuring everyone important to you has your new phone number.
  14. Subscribe to family plans – Mobile phone operators offer family plans that offer discounts and savings. Move all your family members to a single service provider and reap the benefits.
  15. Carpool to work – Carpooling to work not only helps save money but also reduces your carbon footprint. You can reduce up to 70% of your petrol bill this way.
  16. Inflate vehicle tyres optimally – If the tyres of your car are overinflated, your vehicle may find it difficult to grip the road. Underinflated tyres increase fuel consumption. Keep them optimally inflated to save money and keep your life out of harm’s way.
  17. Start saving for bigger purchases – Save in advance for purchases that cost more than 5% of your monthly income. This would reduce the chances of splurging impulsively on something which you may not really need.
  18. Fill up your piggy bank – Don’t underestimate the power of a piggybank. Keep inserting stray coins you find around the house or extra change nobody seems to want. You shouldn’t be surprised to suddenly find your piggy bank holding a thousand rupees in coins!
  19. Sleep over it – If you feel like buying an item you hadn’t budgeted for, don’t get it immediately. Sleep over it. If it was an impulse, the craving should disappear overnight. If it doesn’t, you can purchase it the next day.
  20. Save or invest your tax refund – You may receive your tax refund around this time. Quickly put it in a fixed deposit or invest it.
  21. Unsubscribe from shopping mailers – It is estimated that between 25% and 33% of sales for online brands is driven by email marketing. Unsubscribe from promotional emails of brands you have been splurging on. Don’t let them influence you. Instead, decide when to buy by going to their website.
  22. Credit card – You can easily save close to 20% on dining and 5% on fuel by using a credit card. But use them wisely.
  23. Pay off the debts in decreasing order of interest rate – Credit card debts are usually the hardest to settle as the interest rate charged on them is 15% or more. If you have credit card debts, clear these off before dealing with other debts whose interest rates are likely to be lower.
  24. Avoid buy-2-get-1-free offers – You may not need two tops but you ended up with them just because of the irresistible offer. Do resist. If you need two tops, just buy two.
  25. Purchase health insurance – Lack of health insurance is one of the leading reasons behind financial distress. Investing around Rs 10,000 per year on a comprehensive health insurance policy can not only give you peace of mind but also protect you financially if you get hospitalised.
  26. Compare offline and online tour facilities – Most of us think booking flight tickets and hotels online is the cheapest possible option. But there are travel agents who may offer better deals if you negotiate well.
  27. Claim all tax deductions possible – If you are earning up to Rs 5 lakh, you must be aware of the news shared a few days back during the interim budget. For those earning more, contribute adequately to PPF, tax-saving equity schemes, NPS, and medical insurance to claim the full benefits of Sections 80C, 80CCC, 80CCD and 80CCG.
  28. Reinvest your stock dividends – Have you invested in stocks that pay dividends? Keep track of your dividend earnings and reinvest them in stocks or other financial instruments.
  29. Sign up for loyalty programs – If you shop regularly from retailers who offer loyalty programs, sign up for the same. Most of these programs are free and invariably you would end up claiming a significant loyalty discount every few months.
  30. Pay bills before the due date – Every utility provider charges a late fee, which could be 5-10% of the total bill amount. Ensure that you pay your bills as soon as you receive them. If bills are being delivered late, sign up for e-bills. You will get your bills over email; store the soft copies on the cloud or an external drive for easy retrieval.
  31. Watch for senior citizen benefits – If you are a senior citizen or have senior citizens in your family, research about the benefits offered to them. For example, Goa, Kerala, and Delhi offer a pension of Rs 2000 per month to citizens above the age of 58. Seniors also receive concessions on public transport, rail tickets, and air travel.

There are chances that you might face resistance or mockery from family members or friends when you try some of these methods. However, it is important to remember that being frugal is not the same as being cheap. So go ahead and celebrate a Frugal March!

Indians have traditionally had a reputation for being scrupulous savers. This is evident from the healthy savings-to-GDP ratio of about 34.6% in FY 2012. But this trend has been slowly changing as the savings rate declined to 30% in FY 2017. Households comprise 60% of these savings. Macro shocks such as demonetisation and implementation of GST were seen as the primary reason for these. But for the economy to stay resilient and grow, it is important that the savings rate doesn’t decline; instead, it should achieve a sustainable level.

Indian women have always been skilled savers; they don’t need preachy lessons on the saving habit. In fact, there have been anecdotes about Indian housewives producing currency notes worth lakhs when coming to the bank to exchange notes. Working women have witnessed their mothers and grandmothers being judicious with spending. Therefore, they know of both traditional and the latest methods to save and invest.

However, here is a checklist of tips that can augment such efforts: 

  1. Establish your budget – Preparation is half the battle won. You are more likely to save once you create a budget. You can either save it as an Excel file or write it in your diary.
  2. Create cash envelopes – Create cash envelopes for monthly indulgences. For instance, you can insert Rs 300 in an envelope titled ‘movie’, Rs 200 in an envelope titled ‘snacks and candy’, Rs 1500 in an envelope marked ‘massage’ and so on. If an envelope is out of money before or by 31st March, spend no more on that indulgence.
  3. Pay with cash – Wherever possible, pay with cash. When you take out cash from your purse, the feeling of letting the money go will ensure that you are careful about how much you spend. Another benefit is that if it’s a large amount, you can try to negotiate with the seller.
  4. Get a Kindle – If you are an avid reader, get a Kindle. The cost difference between e-books and paperbacks (generally upwards of Rs 100) can become a huge amount over time. A Kindle e-reader costs around Rs 6000. So, if you read three books a month, you would recover your money in about two years. Alternatively, you could download a Kindle App to your phone and read on that. You will also save money on shelves to house your books.
  5. Skip the takeout – Food delivery apps have made it a breeze to order from your favourite restaurants. Even if you skip ordering once a week, you can save a couple of thousands.
  6. Bid goodbye to FOMO – The fear of missing out is very real. We often see friends post pictures on social media of their exotic vacations or dinners at posh restaurants. The temptation to be one of them can be strong. But hold on. Aren’t there other priorities? Maybe they come first.
  7. Make a grocery shopping list – Most of us make a mental list while going grocery shopping. Nevertheless, there are impulse purchases. Sometimes you may also purchase something that is already there at home – such as a can of sugar you forgot about. You can avoid these impulse purchases by preparing a grocery list and sticking to it.
  8. Buy in bulk – If you are purchasing in bulk from your local grocery store regularly, the owner might be happy to give you a discount without too much persuasion. It is thus a good idea to plan your purchases.
  9. Use a geyser with an adjustable thermostat – Most bathroom geysers are set to heat the water to 60 °C. This is not only harmful to the skin but also consumes more electricity. Buy a geyser with an adjustable thermostat and set it to 45°C.
  10. Reduce electricity consumption – Switching off switches and electrical appliances when they are not in use can considerably reduce your electricity bill. Also, switch off appliances at the plug socket. Replace old tube lights and bulbs with LED lights. Your old fan could be consuming as much as twice the electricity of a modern BEE-rated fan. 
  11. Use food coupons – Redeem online and offline coupons whenever you can. Warren Buffett, one of the world’s richest men, is reputed to have once bought lunch for Bill Gates using a McDonald’s coupon.
  12. Claim cashback wherever possible – Almost all payment gateways offer attractive cashback for a certain number of purchases in a month. Claim them without fail.
  13. Port your mobile service provider – Porting your mobile service to the cheapest provider could reduce your phone bills. Alternatively, if your mobile has a dual SIM, use the cheapest service as your primary one and let your older SIM card remain dormant. You could phase it out slowly after ensuring everyone important to you has your new phone number.
  14. Subscribe to family plans – Mobile phone operators offer family plans that offer discounts and savings. Move all your family members to a single service provider and reap the benefits.
  15. Carpool to work – Carpooling to work not only helps save money but also reduces your carbon footprint. You can reduce up to 70% of your petrol bill this way.
  16. Inflate vehicle tyres optimally – If the tyres of your car are overinflated, your vehicle may find it difficult to grip the road. Underinflated tyres increase fuel consumption. Keep them optimally inflated to save money and keep your life out of harm’s way.
  17. Start saving for bigger purchases – Save in advance for purchases that cost more than 5% of your monthly income. This would reduce the chances of splurging impulsively on something which you may not really need.
  18. Fill up your piggy bank – Don’t underestimate the power of a piggybank. Keep inserting stray coins you find around the house or extra change nobody seems to want. You shouldn’t be surprised to suddenly find your piggy bank holding a thousand rupees in coins!
  19. Sleep over it – If you feel like buying an item you hadn’t budgeted for, don’t get it immediately. Sleep over it. If it was an impulse, the craving should disappear overnight. If it doesn’t, you can purchase it the next day.
  20. Save or invest your tax refund – You may receive your tax refund around this time. Quickly put it in a fixed deposit or invest it.
  21. Unsubscribe from shopping mailers – It is estimated that between 25% and 33% of sales for online brands is driven by email marketing. Unsubscribe from promotional emails of brands you have been splurging on. Don’t let them influence you. Instead, decide when to buy by going to their website.
  22. Credit card – You can easily save close to 20% on dining and 5% on fuel by using a credit card. But use them wisely.
  23. Pay off the debts in decreasing order of interest rate – Credit card debts are usually the hardest to settle as the interest rate charged on them is 15% or more. If you have credit card debts, clear these off before dealing with other debts whose interest rates are likely to be lower.
  24. Avoid buy-2-get-1-free offers – You may not need two tops but you ended up with them just because of the irresistible offer. Do resist. If you need two tops, just buy two.
  25. Purchase health insurance – Lack of health insurance is one of the leading reasons behind financial distress. Investing around Rs 10,000 per year on a comprehensive health insurance policy can not only give you peace of mind but also protect you financially if you get hospitalised.
  26. Compare offline and online tour facilities – Most of us think booking flight tickets and hotels online is the cheapest possible option. But there are travel agents who may offer better deals if you negotiate well.
  27. Claim all tax deductions possible – If you are earning up to Rs 5 lakh, you must be aware of the news shared a few days back during the interim budget. For those earning more, contribute adequately to PPF, tax-saving equity schemes, NPS, and medical insurance to claim the full benefits of Sections 80C, 80CCC, 80CCD and 80CCG.
  28. Reinvest your stock dividends – Have you invested in stocks that pay dividends? Keep track of your dividend earnings and reinvest them in stocks or other financial instruments.
  29. Sign up for loyalty programs – If you shop regularly from retailers who offer loyalty programs, sign up for the same. Most of these programs are free and invariably you would end up claiming a significant loyalty discount every few months.
  30. Pay bills before the due date – Every utility provider charges a late fee, which could be 5-10% of the total bill amount. Ensure that you pay your bills as soon as you receive them. If bills are being delivered late, sign up for e-bills. You will get your bills over email; store the soft copies on the cloud or an external drive for easy retrieval.
  31. Watch for senior citizen benefits – If you are a senior citizen or have senior citizens in your family, research about the benefits offered to them. For example, Goa, Kerala, and Delhi offer a pension of Rs 2000 per month to citizens above the age of 58. Seniors also receive concessions on public transport, rail tickets, and air travel.

There are chances that you might face resistance or mockery from family members or friends when you try some of these methods. However, it is important to remember that being frugal is not the same as being cheap. So go ahead and celebrate a Frugal March!