Of course, things that mysteriously eat into our budgets are different based on our individual lifestyles and habits. These can be hanging out with friends regularly or going on occasional shopping sprees. They also can be an outcome of a lack of discipline in making the right choices on which item to buy – whether it’s clothing or electronics – and constantly going for the top of the line.
Once identified, it should be easy to deal with the problem. Here are a few steps to help control the drain on your budget.
Review your spending
The first basic step to know where your money goes is to review your purchases. Take a sample – two or three months -- of the most used debit or card statements and begin a thorough check of what you’ve been spending on. Note in particular major purchases in terms of Rupee value and recurring purchases – coffee, lunches, club memberships, etc. At the end of this review, you should be able to get a clear idea of two points: the first is the frequency at which you’ve been buying expensive items, and the second is your habits terms of spending on regular purchases that add up into significant sums. The solution is obvious: Cut or reduce any items that don’t seem to be a must, and you will get more cash in the bank at the end of the month.
Avoid impulsive shopping
Have you been shopping out of boredom or to kill time? Do you have trouble sticking to your shopping list? Either way, you end up with stuff you don’t really need for money that could have been saved or spent on something else. Breaking this habit – even if it is rare or on minor purchases – doesn’t only help you save, it also makes you take your time to think before your spend. Until you’re fully trained on this new mindset, be willing to return the items that are a result of impulsive shopping, if possible. The inconvenience in itself can be a lesson for better decision making in the future.
Cut utility expenses
We take bills – particularly for utilities – for granted once a service established with a particular provider. This shouldn’t be the case. Although you don’t have choice in particular services, you can cut your consumption – and your costs as a result. If you have been ignoring calls for using energy-efficient light bulbs and appliances, you may need to review your position. You may also need to review your own habits like, for example, over-cooling the house while you’re not in, or leaving lights or appliances unnecessarily switched on or on stand-by mode. In addition, watch for better offers on phone, internet or television packages. Providers are often at cut-throat competition to get your business, and any reduction in regular bills can add up handsomely.
Buy at the right time
There aren’t many times in the year when there isn’t a sale for one occasion or another. With the right planning, you can avoid having to make a last-minute purchase at full price. In addition, this exercise can help you get a good understanding of the best times to save on particular items. Remember, not all sales are created the same, and products – think cars – have their own cycles. By taking all factors into consideration, you can be sure you’re at least getting a good deal on necessary purchases.