A lot of youngsters or even most of the youngsters out there want to improve their future prospects otherwise the academic competition wouldn’t be what it is today. Many young people acknowledge and understand that one of the basic steps of being successful means managing your financials successfully and to invest some amount for reaping future benefits.
But some of the problems for these youngsters range from the psychological fear of losing out on their precious money to not having much money to spare in the first place. Well as I am not a therapist, I can’t help people decode their emotions and gain control of their childhood trauma and fear of losing, but I can help my fellow young people to start managing their funds and saving so that they always have funds stored away in case of emergencies and even better to get higher returns in the future.
HOW TO SAVE MONEY WHEN YOU CAN BARELY SCRAPE THROUGH THE MONTH IN THE FIRST PLACE?
Many people are barely able to make it through the month with the funds available or their monthly allowance so how can they start saving?
Well to say the answer to this is in the details, trimming out the extreme cases of abject poverty most of the middle class section from the lower strata to the higher are bound by the wants and habits of their cultural upbringing and are unable to observe how their expenses get over inflated by it.
If one is able to trim down his expenses and clear out unnecessary grocery shopping to eat out, one would be surprised at how much they are able to save and how less they actually need to start investing.
The very simple reason why people are unable to save properly is because they don’t want to, the urge to fulfill their immediate wants is greater than their self control to mould their future for the better and misinterpreting their cultural wants as basic needs.
Here, we can help you out by listing out all the things that you can do or control to save effectively:
- Dedicate yourself to a cause
It may seem really basic but picking a goal and dedicating your mind, body and soul to it can help wonders in case of your financial management as once you’ve dedicated yourself to a goal you don’t have much time to spare for unnecessary ordeals or frantic shopping sprees.
- Manage your eat out expenditure
I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not but a major chunk of your money goes on food and the most effective way to save money is to manage your eating expenditure. You must stay vigilant and self controlled so as to avoid all kinds of unnecessary spending and most importantly remember that eating out once usually costs more in one meal than you would’ve spent in one week if you hadn’t.
- Manage your Grocery expenditure
Many students after moving to colleges start living alone or in PGs or hostels but whatever the case a monthly spending routine is automatically formed where essentials and non essentials are bought in bulk at the beginning. The smart way to cut back on this expense would be by buying as cheaply as possible most preferably through online retail routes by taking advantages of all the available discounts and not impulse buying your way into the groceries.
- Borrow rather than buy.
Again a very basic advice but children who have recently moved out of their privileged households and moved out on a basic allowance fail to grasp the idea that some of their needs can be easily solved by borrowing as the amount of essentials required is ever increasing and borrowing basically saves a shit ton of money in the long run.
The most common example and the most practical for students would be how we handle Netflix subscription or Amazon Prime.
- Share as much as you can
Again when you can’t borrow propose sharing, there are items you only need for like once or twice a month but still you need once a month and if you can’t borrow it with someone, buy it together with a group of people and you’d find your expenditure reducing by a lot though less than what borrowing would have saved.
For ex: Internet Expenditure, Travelling costs.
- Automatically transfer some amount out of your allowance as saving
In the beginning of the month make it a habit to move out a specific amount of money as savings and then manage your month in what’s left, humans are adaptable you can manage your month in a smaller pie as well. Nowadays you can even transfer your funds electronically from your savings account to a fixed deposit account or a recurring deposit account monthly automatically and save you from all the hustle of painfully moving away money which you could’ve spent for your enjoyment.
- Make a budget of only essentials and then root out all your unnecessary expenditures.
There’s nothing better than preparing a budget before hand from previous experiences and future aspirations and then thinning out the items keeping in mind that the only way you can save money is by not spending it.
- Pack lunch instead of canteen food.
I guess some might hate it, some might love it but all of them eat it. Considering canteen expenditure is a recurring expense then even a considerably cheap food expense on a daily basis becomes quite a heavy expense once you consider you do it 20 to 25 times a month. A much better option would be to pack lunch beforehand so that you don’t have to spend an extra amount to keep yourself well nourished. Trust me it’s healthier and cheaper than the canteen food too.
- Some things are available for free, you don’t need to buy it all.
Students always make the mistake of not taking all the possible operations into consideration before making a decision. They have to realise that you can save a few bucks every here and there if they choose wisely, it’d be better to lend books from the library, get diagnosed at a government facility and what not if you’re vigilant about all the possible options available.
- Accept that you may be losing some fun in present but the future gains will make it all worthwhile
As stated earlier most of the tough things in life are less tough in their inherent nature of being but more in their emotional appeal to us. We as humans aren’t designed to refuse ourselves pleasure naturally, it’s through one’s strong will that one refuses immediate pleasure for future gains. The same case is with saving ,it may feel like a pain saving money but remember it’d be a waste, if you spend it today but if you save it then it’ll be a big peace of mind.
- Cut short your visits to Cafes and eating joints.
Again we can’t stress it enough on how large a chunk of our monthly expenses are due to our eating habits and even the small visits to cafes with friends count into it and at the end of the day costs extra bucks.
- With extra gains set up an emergency fund not a fancy dress.
In Indian households it’s not unheard of unexpected gains be it due to festival season or some random relative visiting your house, that’s not important though what’s important is how you spend it and personally it’s better if you save it for a rainy day than to buy something that may not even make it through a rain. Check out our earlier blog on building an emergency fund on how to go about building it and start now.
- Cut down on your electricity expenditure with smart technology.
Again for students living outside the comfort of their houses, it’s most important that you save everywhere you can if you can’t do it in your pocket money then save it in your living expenditure, while smart technological items may be costly initially but the dent they put in your electricity bill makes them worth it, so why not save both in pocket money and in your living expenditure allowance.
- Track your spending most importantly.
One of the effective ways to tighten your spending habits is to know them, prepare a summary of how much you spend where and then analyse it to know if you spent too much unnecessarily.
- Choose the cost effective way.
Again it’s simple, one of the basic rules of saving is to spend less but it doesn’t mean spend less in that instant it means spending less altogether so don’t go around buying super cheap things which keep getting trashed, it’ll just rile up your expenditure instead buy quality products that last a long time and reduce the amount of money being spent in the long run.
- Students get discounts
I’ll repeat myself, students get a shitload of discounts in India be it your local cafe or public transportation, people are considerate of the fact while students may not have much but they’re more likely to spend what they have so you should cash in at the opportunity and use discounts when necessary so as to save some amount at the end of the day.
- Some students even get scholarships
While saving must be a permanent factor, extra income won’t hurt either, as Students you’re eligible for academic scholarships and if you’re able to get one then that’ll make your life a whole lot easier
- Buy generic or used products
A lot of times we see popular brands charging extravagantly while it may work in their favour it doesn’t work in yours, for such products you can buy their generic versions which cost less and save there too.
- Ponder if you really need to purchase that thing.
Sometimes we do need something , sometimes we don’t but both the times there is a high possibility that it’s only a momentarily need and might not be there tomorrow, for small scale expenses wait 24 hours or for large scale 30 days and even after that if you feel like you need it then go buy it.
- Use free online study materials
Nowadays in the age of globalisation and easily available internet a lot of things and courses are available online for free so you no longer need to hand out cash to professionals to learn new skills , you can learn it by yourself now.
- Learn to bargain
It may sound miserly but in order to save more you have to hone up your bargaining skills too, it’ll be a great asset in saving as by this way you can buy the things you need and still save money in the process.
- Buy in sales and buy smart
From the past few years online retail supermarkets have made it very clear that they’ll throw in a huge sale every month or so now, you can cash in on these opportunities to buy the things you need but keep in mind to buy only those items you originally needed and intended to buy and not fall in the flashy traps of discounts while purchasing necessities on such sites.
- Accept that your friends influence your monthly spending.
It may sound like common sense but your spending habits are greatly influenced by your friend circle, if your friends go out daily then it’ll poorly affect your budget and if they never go out at all then it’ll poorly affect your mood. You have to maintain a balance between the two so that you don’t face any issues that either cost you your friendship or your entire savings.
- Now that you have sufficient funds in your savings then don’t start lending ,keep it a secret.
While there may be times that your friends, cousins or siblings may have the need for urgent cash to fulfil their needs or desires but don’t start handing out your cash to them since it’s highly unlikely that you’ll get it back and at the end of the day all your hardships would be for nothing if you lose everything you have saved in bad debts.