I know…I know how much you cursed the government last night for raising petrol prices by Rs 7.5 per litre!
I know how much you’ve started loving all those ‘revolutionaries’ who are calling for a nationwide protest against these hikes!
It’s funny to see all those queues outside petrol pumps with people waiting to get their vehicles pumped up with as much fuel as possible…as if that is the only fuel they will need for the next several years. (They must’ve burnt more fuel waiting to get their tanks filled up!)
“These politicians are thieves! They’ve ruined my life!” exclaimed a friend who just returned from a long foreign holiday.
“How will a common man survive when prices of petrol and everything else are rising so fast?” he asked me as if knew the answer to his question.
“Don’t revolt. Rebel!” I told my friend in a saintly voice.
“What do you mean by that?” he asked.
“Revolution is when you give away control to the revolutionaries (like the protestors) who portray themselves as fighting for your cause. Instead, they are fighting for their own cause…to get more powerful!”
“But…” he interrupted.
“Wait, I’m not done as yet!” I said, “On the other hand, when you rebel, you try to take things under your control. Instead of revolting against others, you become a rebel by trying to change yourself.”
“Now did you get me?” I asked.
“Good! Let me explain it the other way. Don’t expect medicines to cure your sickness. Instead, avoid sickness by remaining healthy!”
“What the …!” he said, visibly disturbed. “Why can’t you make it simpler?”
“Okay. I was trying to tell you things that could’ve served as lessons for a lifetime. But since you insist, let me get down to the specifics.”
“Now that’s good!” he said.
“See, what I’m trying to say is that instead of blaming the government for raising prices of petrol and worrying how it would hurt you, why don’t you worry about things that are under your control?” I asked.
“And what are those things that I can control?”
“Simple…cut your living costs as much as you can. When you save money in other places, even a fuel cost hike won’t pinch you much!”
“Wow! And how do I cut costs and save more money than I’m already doing?”
“Well, here are the ways…”
70 simple ways to save money
- The best thirst quencher is water, not juice or cola (plus there are great health benefits).
- Cut back on the convenience foods (learn some cooking instead to help your wife).
- Instead of going out to eat at work, take your own lunch.
- Eat a good breakfast before leaving for office (it decreases your desire to buy and eat a big lunch in the middle of the day).
- Pack food before you go on a road trip.
- Avoid that expensive (and fatty) dessert at the restaurant. Go for a walk and have an ice-cream instead.
- Instead of throwing out some damaged clothing, repair it instead.
- Go through your old clothes…and find ones that you can still use.
- Look for a cheaper place to live.
- Avoid an interior designer…learn to design your own home (you’ll love it!).
- Paint your home.
- Use your car less. Use public transport…or simply walk whenever you can.
- Go for reliability and fuel efficiency when buying a car (if you are bent on buying one).
- Air up your tires (it helps in improving mileage).
- Carpool to work (saves fuel plus helps a lot in networking).
- Don’t speed (it helps save fuel, plus you don’t have to pay the traffic fines).
- Unless you drive a Ferrari, don’t buy premium fuel.
- Go through your mobile phone bill, look for services you don’t use, and ditch them.
- Talk less on your landline or mobile. Instead use emails, letters, and free online services (like Skype).
- Cut unnecessary Internet costs – avoid using 3G.
- Invite friends over instead of going out.
- Swap books, music, and DVDs with friends instead of buying new.
- Hit the library – hard.
- Read more. Reading is one of the cheapest – and most beneficial – hobbies around.
- Cut down on your vacation spending. Instead of going on long foreign trips, pack up the car and explore beautiful India.
- Travel during off season.
- Book tickets and hotels early to get early-bird discounts.
- Watch morning shows at theatres (better wait for CDs/DVDs).
- Keep distance from lavish, high-flying friends (this is most important!)
G. Shopping (Now this is the biggest list!)
- Sign up for every free customer rewards program you can (but still try to avoid shopping!).
- Write a list before you go shopping for groceries (avoid ‘I-may-need-this’ syndrome).
- Do holiday shopping right after the holidays.
- Avoid designer labels (if you are not a celebrity).
- Avoid extended warranties (if your new TV won’t last three years, perhaps it’s not worth buying in the first place!).
- Shop online…you can get some great deals.
- Have a snack and drink a large glass of water before going shopping.
- Ask for discounts on products and services (just ask…you may be surprised!).
- Before making a large purchase, calculate how many hours of work it takes for you to make that much money.
- The highest-markup items at the grocery story are on the shelves at about chest level. Reach up or kneel down to select the cheaper brands.
- Beware of ‘discount store syndrome’. Just because you’re in a discount store doesn’t mean you’re getting the best price on every item. So stay aware.
- Be alert of overly-helping salespeople. They usually don’t have your financial interests in mind.
- Have the courage to say “No!” to your wife (at least sometimes :-))
- Don’t spend big money entertaining your children. Spend some quality time with them instead. They’ll love this more.
- Learn to say no! Let them know that money is earned via hard work and doesn’t fall freely from the ATM.
- Turn off the television. Seek an evening hobby instead.
- Remove all unwanted television channels.
- Use less of your washing machine and air-conditioners.
- Be diligent about turning off lights and fans before you leave.
- Install CFL (or, even better, LED) bulbs wherever it makes sense.
- Pay your bills on time to avoid late penalties.
- Make your own gifts instead of buying stuff during birthdays and festivals.
- Instead of giving a gift, write a heartfelt letter to someone.
- Clean out your closet and sell useless stuff online.
- Give up expensive habits, like cigarettes and alcohol.
- Keep your hands clean to avoid unnecessary medical bills.
- Give a gift of a service instead of an item.
- Get rid of unread magazines, newspapers, and online subscriptions.
- If something’s broken, give a fair shot at repairing it yourself before replacing it or calling a repairman.
- Exercise at home or in open air instead of paying for the gym. Develop a ‘prison workout’ system.
- Avoid trying to keep up with the Joneses. It’s a costly illness. Chances are they’re in more debt than you are.
- Switch to a lower interest home loan.
- Switch to term life insurance.
- Buy low cost mutual funds.
- Don’t trade…invest. Avoid excessive brokerage.
- Clear your credit card debt in time (better still, destroy all your credit cards).
- Shop around for cheapest medical insurance.
4 more ways to save (and earn) money
- Live like your parents lived. If you don’t know how, just ask them.
- Make a budget (first allocate money for savings, then spend with the rest).
- Master the thirty day rule. Whenever you’re considering making an unnecessary purchase, wait thirty days and then ask yourself if you still want that item. Quite often, you’ll find that the urge to buy has passed and you’ll have saved yourself some money by simply waiting.
- Use your talent to earn extra cash…like teaching guitar or writing skills to kids on weekends (you are more talented than you know!)
Even if you can make just 10 money-saving choices from the above list, you’ll do wonders for your financial life over the long term.
Here’s a simple math. If you can just save Rs 50 per day, or Rs 1,500 per month…and invest the same consistently, you will have Rs 49 lac in your kitty by the end of 25 years (assuming 15% average annual returns during this period). Sounds good?
Some final thoughts…whenever the struggle against rising inflation feels like it’s too much, know that there are millions of underprivileged souls out there fighting for the sake of their survival (forget petrol, all they want is a petty meal a day). Look for ways to help them!
As Warren Buffett once said, “If you’re in the luckiest 1 per cent of humanity that has money, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 per cent.”
So stop revolting…start the rebellion. You’ll love it!
Anyways, can you think of some other money-saving tips not covered above and that can be of help to others? Let us know in the Comments section below.