”The pandemic created a tale of two economies-
For some drowned in murky waters,
The others found themselves flooded with cash.”
The pandemic situation has been a scary wake-up call about how lives can be overturned with minimal warning. It caused many of us to re-evaluate the importance of saving and acknowledging the age-old thumb rule- to have 6 to 12 months of expenses saved as an emergency fund.
This lockdown experience is perhaps something none of us would want to relive. Nevertheless, if I had to take one positive out of it, that would be- that it made me monitor my costs and motivated me to set manageable short- and long-term financial goals that helped me save more than ₹1,00,000 in a year by cutting down the unnecessary expenses.
Before the lockdown was announced, I used to order food online or dine out almost every weekend and alternate weekdays. When I reviewed my past bills, I spent around ₹350-400 on food each weekday and double or even quadruple the amount on weekends, which meant somewhere between ₹65,000-80,000 a year.
I have downplayed the numbers not to scare you away, but trust me, pull out your receipts, and you’ll be SHOCKED at how much you’ve been spending! NUMBERS DO NOT LIE!!!
When I first came across that figure, I was shocked because I thought I was ”living a normal life” until I realised how much money I wasted.
The lockdown helped me take a break from all that. Although I do treat myself with my favourite Penne Alfredo or Blueberry Cheese Cake once every two weeks or a month, I now have uninstalled all the online food apps and relish the homecooked food more.
I highly recommend you to review your food costs to see how much you’re spending! Remember, NUMBERS DO NOT LIE!
Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus Hotstar, Zee 5… You name it, I had a subscription to it. During the first phase of lockdown, I binge-watched my favourite shows and movies for hours on a stretch which led me to feel sluggish and unaccomplished for the entire day!
It somehow made me question myself-
Do I really need to subscribe to 4-5 online subscription services simultaneously? Are they really adding to my productivity?
Of course, they put up exciting shows and movies, but if you have subscribed to a service for those ONE or TWO shows or movies, let me tell you, it isn’t worth your money. Subscription services might be a boon with the ’Auto Payment’ feature setup, but that is where the problem lies. You don’t realise when the money goes out of your account, and before you know it, your wallet is already begging for mercy at the end of the month.
After cancelling all these subscriptions, I was able to save approximately ₹12,000 a year. So, I’ll suggest you review all your subscriptions and cancel the ones that you use less frequently or not at all. There is absolutely no point in keeping it around for something that you MIGHT watch when you are free the next time around.
Find something productive to do during your free time rather than Binge-watching (I started Blogging), this way you’ll save money, you’ll earn more money, and you won’t miss your favourite shows at all! Also, If you can’t resist, you can always contribute and share a subscription with your friends.
As work from home became the new normal, there was no point in splurging on expensive foundation, concealer, highlighter, eyeshadow pallets or lipsticks. Therefore, I consciously decided to cut out on all the expensive makeup and other products from high-end department stores to save money.
I bought less and less of the beauty products by only sticking to a few essential ones- like a good sunscreen, a moisturiser, lip balm and mascara.
I still look the same and never felt any prettier by applying or buying more makeup. The only difference is that I saved almost ₹10,000-15,000 by being more mindful and intentional with what I buy.
Last year I completed a Quarter of a Century, but the pandemic situation and the lockdown ruined all my plans of a ’Grand 25th Birthday Party Celebrations’. So it was a small cake cutting ceremony with just my parents and my best friend.
Everything was Home Made with Love. And, this helped me save a great deal of money.
My best friend baked me a cake, while my parents were in charge of snacks and drinks. So, I saved approximately ₹15,000-18,000, as there were no cake payment, no birthday outfit, no decoration charges, and no food expenses!
Just happy moments and togetherness! 🙂
During the pre-COVID era, I would walk into the store with no plan and buy on impulse most days. Which I later realised was a BAD MOVE!
It's those ”cute” random objects (ornaments, stationery, gifts etc.) that stops us from saving money!
If you’ve been at the Miniso Store or the Forever 21 checkout aisle, you’ll know exactly what I mean! Yes… they’re irresistibly cute, but let me tell you one thing… Being broke ain’t cute!
So when I went through a de-cluttering phase during the lockdown, I was surprised at how much money I wasted! A few bucks here and there adds up to a bunch of crap that doesn’t add any value to my life.
I could’ve saved that for an emergency fund, a nice vacation, or perhaps a contribution to my investment account. But as they say “Better late than never!”
I put up most of the stuff on a ’garage sale’ and managed to earn ₹11,500.
So, in total I saved-
65,000 + 12,000 + 10,000 + 15,000 + 11,500
(I’ve just taken the lower limits here).
Treat every penny you save and invest as a "worker" to grow into more "workers". The trick is to let the money make money for you, and you can just sit back and watch your savings grow without having to lift a finger. That's the power of being financially aware and saving money, for that's how people become a millionaire from nothing.
As we advance, when you’re about to buy knick-knacks the next time- that cost ₹99 or ₹199, ask yourself whether you’re willing to give up 99 or 199 ”workers” who could potentially create more workers for you.
This process compounds into something BIG and could leave you with a ton of money saved (without you even realising)!
I have been slowly saving and investing my money for more than a year now. As a result, my savings and investments have grown exponentially to more than what I could have imagined!
So my dear readers, before you buy anything, do yourself a favour and ask: ”Does this add any value to my life?” If not, don’t buy it, and you’ll save a ton of money!
Remember, each penny you save and invest is a ”worker” you keep. That ”worker” can magically make money for you. 🙂
Last year I read many blogs related to the importance of saving and money makeover, and that is how I learned to create a budget strategy for myself. I then followed that budgeting strategy religiously, and that’s how I was able to build wealth and save over six figures.
To help you master your savings, I have created my version of a fail-proof budget plan-
I’ve also made free printable ’weekly spendings’ that will keep your budget and savings on track and give you instant results to boost your confidence in your financial journey.
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