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10 Quick tips for smart money choices

Being in your 20’s and starting your career at this time of social and economic conditions, it feels like you are working too much, earning too little and still trying to find a work-life balance. Just so you know, we all feel the same way. But I have realized that financial success doesn’t have to be something drastic, you can start small but be consistent. It’s not the one-day trade off that matters but it’s the accumulation.

Time to move past the traditional financial advice and choosing small habitual changes that should help us utilize the amount that is left after rent, utilities, food and occasional entertainment. Here are a few tips to help you save money. Research has shown that smart choices related to money really only require two things; willingness and organization.

1. Analyse potential purchases by hours worked instead of the monetary cost. This will help you put things in perspective. Asking yourself how long you would really be willing to work for something will show you the true value of that good or service for you.

2. Add up all the transactions under 100 rupees in the past month. It might seem inconsequential but you will be surprised because when you start tracking all the transactions under 100 rupees, they will add up. They might not matter on their own and you might not have to stop them right away but financial awareness is the key.

3. Take the “52-week challenge”. It is very simple you start by saving say 100 rupees the first week, 200 the next and 300 after that and so on keep increasing the amount saved by 100 rupees each week. By the end of the year, you would have saved almost 130,000 rupees. The initial and increasing amounts are easily customizable as per your earnings and ability to save.

4. Try not to waste money on overpriced things that you can make yourself. You know that something about things like morning coffee/tea or sandwich from fancy shops, is just their really good marketing team. Do not fall in the 21st Century trap of targeted marketing and FOMO — the fear of missing out — rather make smart financial choices.

5. A simple step before you make a huge purchase is to Google products. You might find it cheaper somewhere else or find online deals or discover negative reviews as compared to some other better similar product.

 

6. Similarly, avoiding instant gratification is one of the important rules of personal finance. Hence, wait at least 48 hours to purchase something unless necessary of course. Often the urge to buy will just pass. Moreover, only shop when you have a list, this will prevent impulse buying and save time.

7. The most cliché yet effective advice is to make a budget and actually follow it. Sticking to a budget can make you mindful of how much the little things add up to. A quick review of your monthly spending can save you a lot of money by highlighting the places where the expenditure can be potentially cut or can be substituted to a cheaper option.

8. A small habit of putting loose change in a jar, trust me it adds up. You can transfer it to your account when the jar is full or use it as a specific fund to indulge yourself, this will motivate you to save that loose change.

9. Use cash instead of plastic, especially on the night outs. Research has shown that people actually spend less when they use cash instead of just swiping the card. This is again because spending physical cash makes you more mindful.

10. Try to set up a separate email for reward programs. This will keep your main email uncluttered while filter in coupons and savings that you can go through weekly.

These things might not add a lot to your bank balance, however, come the month end and you will thank yourself for these little savings.

Additional income will help you achieve your monetary goals when you add up the money you earn and the money you save. Reward yourself but consciously, deliberately make sure that your personal finances and priorities complement each other.

The writer is a Research Associate — Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI)

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