There is no dignity quite so impressive, and no independence quite so important, as living within your means. – Calvin Coolidge
Indians are frugal by nature. Right from childhood, we see our parents and other people around, being smart with money. Or should I say insightful of saving money?
There are countless ways we try to pinch pennies wherever possible.
We bargain at our best in every section. Women have their secret cash-boxes in the kitchen. Kitchen? To keep it safe and out of reach of husband and children. Use tiny pouches to collect loose change which adds up to a specific amount after a few days. Figure out the best places to shop where we will get value for money. Strive to get some space in public transport because it is a cheaper alternative. Buy in bulk our monthly groceries. Make every possible attempt to save on utilities.
These are some of the general money-saving ways followed in India.
But, every household has an individual way of living and therefore, their money management system also differs a little bit if not much.
I love to stay at home to take care of my husband more than working outside. Many times, taking the responsibility of homemaking is equally important as earning money. Since the divided sense of responsibilities allows us to stay focused and concentrate on our work respectively. It also creates harmony within the relationship.
Even after belonging to a frugal family, there was a time, I was poor at managing money.
One day, I stumbled across the quote, “Penny saved is a penny earned”. It was so impactful that it entirely moved my focus from earnings to savings. I looked for ways where I could eliminate as many expenses as I can. I observed homemaking and lifestyle changes were the best areas to start.
And now, with little efforts and mindfulness, I save a particular amount of money at the end of each month. I consider this amount as “My Earnings”. And, because of this mindset, I try to save as much as possible to increase my monthly earnings. I regard this as a little assistance on my part to support my husband’s hard work.
Here are some of the ways I save money on income:
1. One car and small house:
We are a family of two – my husband and I. We do not have kids. I work from home. So, there’s no point in having an extra car.
As for home, we don’t need a big one. We both prefer to live within our means. And, don’t believe in going into debt for a big house. We’re living a debt free=content life in our small house.
Also, a small house has its advantages of less electricity and water consumption and hence lower utility bills.
2. Meal Planning and cooking at home:
Cooking at home saves roughly about 30% of the expenses. Planning the meals and making a grocery list helps avoids impulse buying.
Meal planning helps to prevent frequent trips to the grocery store thus saving on travel expenses.
3. I avoid buying too many cleaning products:
Do you really need so many expensive products if you clean your house regularly? I mean one for floors, one for bathroom and other for toilet? The answer is NO. The basic cleaning products do a great job of keeping the house clean.
The products that I use are – dishwashing liquid+baking soda+white vinegar. These three primary products are adequate to clean pretty much everything at my home.
4. We don’t spend on gym membership:
My husband loves brisk walking in open (outside) for 30 minutes 5 times a week. Yes, I agree, walking does not count as a workout. It is just a physical activity. But that’s the only form of exercise he loves. And, my attitude towards exercising is – something is better than nothing.
For me, I love to do yoga in the comfort of my home. This saves us almost $43 (Rs 3,000/-) on a monthly gym membership.
5. I do not buy home decor items:
Since I have a small house I try to keep the decor items to the minimum. A clutter-free home is more beautiful than accessorized one for me. This saves a lot of cleaning time as well.
6. I do not hire a cooking or cleaning maid:
It’s easier to hire a cleaning and cooking maid in India. But I prefer to do all the housework and cooking on my own. I am a little OCD about cleaning. And, cannot entrust, the most important tasks of my household (Cleaning & Cooking) to anyone.
This helps me save not less than $114 (Rs 8,000/-) a month. A pretty good amount, right?
7. DIY hair and beauty treatments:
I go to salons for facial threading and to get my hair trimmed only. And, do the rest by myself at home. I scrub my face once in 10 days. Apply a homemade mask when I need some hair treatment.
Take care of my nails, toes, and feet while in shower. I paint my nails at home.
The average cost of the package that includes (facial+waxing+manicure+pedicure) is somewhere around $30 (Rs2,100/-) in Mumbai. I save that much amount by these quick and easy DIY treatments.
8. With a minimalist approach:
Minimalism has made drastic changes in our financial habits. The journey from being a spendthrift to saver was life-changing. All thanks to minimalism.
I have become the best version of myself in the purchase area. The minimalist coach within me decides if it’s a need or want; whether to buy things or no.
9. By shopping on sales:
Yes, we buy in bulk our clothes as well. We take advantage of the end of the season sale, which happens to be 2 or 3 times a year, in India.
Those are the times, we buy everything from shoes to accessories to handbags, every single thing. In between, we avoid going to the malls to avoid impulse purchases.
10. By canceling cable subscription:
From the time I have started my blog, we’ve canceled our cable subscription. Since I hardly get any time to watch Television. Rather I don’t WANT to.
And, with the option of having everything available on the internet, this was a sheer waste of money.
These are some of the areas, where I comfortably save money, without affecting our standard of living in any way. Yes, we do spend on eat-outs and date nights, but we limit it to once a week.
I don’t believe in going out of the way spending or being a cheapskate either. I firmly believe in maintaining a balance in order to persist.
So, we have fun when we need a break from the daily rut but at the same time, we’re sensible about our spendings.
Over to you. I would love to have some suggestions from you. Let me know in the comments below, What ways do you think can I save more living on one income? Thanks so much for reading.
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