Two ways I save money

A couple of people responded to yesterday’s post saying that writing about saving money once in a while is not a bad idea at all, so here is a post with two ideas that have helped me save some money this year.

Sticking to my new year resolution

At the beginning of the year I made a resolution that I will not buy anything on impulse, and so far I’ve stuck to it without exception.

This turned out to be easier than I thought it would, and all you need is a mental check that tells you to wait a while before you make the purchase. I used to pick up quite a few things on impulse and used to subscribe to a lot of magazines, newsletters and newspapers whenever they offered a discount but I’ve let most of them expire now, and have only continued with two or three subscriptions.

I think after the third or fourth month, it just became a habit where every time I looked at something shiny and felt like buying it, I immediately checked myself and waited a few more weeks to see if I still remembered the thing or not.

The latest example of this is Bose headphones. While driving with a friend one day, he put on a song at a high volume and it sounded much better than what I’m used to on my headphones. Then I came home and stumbled upon an ad for Bose headphones and the “must have it!” impulse hit me there and then. But as is habit, I’m still waiting to see if I’ll still want them after a month or so.

If you can control your impulse purchases you can cut through a lot of clutter and save some money as well. If you haven’t ever given thought to this then I would say that this is something definitely worth trying.

Buying Fridge Magnets

My wife and I travel a fair bit and somehow you’re most susceptible to buying crap when you are on a holiday. You feel that since you’re on a holiday it is okay to splurge a little and you end up with all sorts of junk that you will never need or didn’t even want that much in the first place. I have dream catchers that aren’t catching any dreams, cigars that I’m never going to smoke, and hats that I most certainly will never wear which remind me of this every day.

Then sometime last year we invited a few friends over for dinner and one of them commented on the fridge magnets that we had collected over the years and from then on we decided to buy only magnets for souvenirs. They are cheap, you can buy a few of them, are usually shiny and satisfy the need to bring something back on the holidays.

If you have felt that you fall prey to shopping sprees on holidays try buying something that you get everywhere and is inexpensive.

I have to say that I firmly believe that this will only work when you buy something that can be shown off. The magnets themselves may be cheap, but they tell a story of how many places we have visited and as vain as that may sound, I think that’s what makes it work.

These are two things that have definitely helped me save money and cutting clutter without compromising on anything at all and I think they are easy enough to try even if you feel you don’t spend that much on impulse purchases or holiday shopping.

Do you have some ideas you want to share?

23 thoughts on “Two ways I save money”

  1. First and foremost – DO NOT SHOW OFF, dont put effort so that you can get random stranger’s approval.
    It is absolutely OK not to buy crap [your word] when you are on holiday/travelling.

    Also, DO NOT BUY BOSE products – it is like buying Maruti 800 at AUDI/BMW prices – buy Sennheiser/BrainWavz/ – random strangers wont think you are cool enough because you do not own BOSE, but you will enjoy the music.

  2. A simple technique that works beautifully for me is whenever I need something.. I repeat this Mantra ” I am a complete man( Raymonds ) . I do not need this to make me complete.. I am content. God has given me more that what I need, I can never satisfy my greed “..

    Quite frankly, I have the reverse problem, I do not know what to do with all my savings.. May be its just me.. But its a far more pleasant problem to handle, I guess , touchwood 🙂

      1. If you believe deep down that you have not inherited this world from your parents but you have borrowed it from your children, responsible living becomes automatic. Its more of a philosophy by which you lead life.

        A more practical observation : My grandpa bought a ceiling fan and wrist-watch in 1967. Both are running fine till date. Most of the fans and watches today don’t last more than 3-4 years, why ? For consumption to happen regularly, quality should be absent as a pre-condition ( General Motors once said, their cars are designed to break after 3-4 years). Why develop a craving for such temporary pleasure ? I find it pointless.

        1. So, I see that your whole outlook is geared towards a life that is less materialistic and believes in making maximum use out of the resources we get. I appreciate that greatly.

    1. Your attitude is great. Very rare.The world would be saved if people had this attitude. Greed for Money has become a disease in society. People just want to hoard even if they will never spend it in their lifetime or even for 10 lifetimes.

  3. Another way people as self control is to keep a lean saving a/c balance (by sweeping any excess money into FD or liquid fund), so that you automatically spend less. But, if you are a heavily credit card dependent person, you need much more self control, as Manshu mentioned.

    1. Yeah, that’s a good thing too, and I’ve recently started doing this myself too. I’ve not automated it though, just have a mental note of how much should be in a particular account and anything over it goes to the brokerage account.

  4. It was heartening to visit your website and read such nice articles. I do agree most of todays generation is more into lifestyle related spending and not much bothered of saving until they reach their say 30’s. But with difficult times ahead considering the inflation factor not coming under any sort of control i think more and more people will try and get themselves financially literate.

    1. Thanks Rini. I think the environment today is such that it encourages spending and by itself that’s not a bad thing I think. There is no reason to muddle through life if you can travel, see places and have fun.

      The trouble starts when you over spend and face massive credit card bills etc. That’s what people should definitely avoid.

  5. I totally agree with the point about controlling your impulse purchases. For me, that has been the single most reason for unsustainable credit card usages 🙂
    Another post idea on similar lines –> Planning for bonus.

    1. Then you know what you should try? You should try leaving your house without your credit card without a week and see what happens. I can guarantee that it will be a worthwhile experience. Do you think you can do it?

  6. A well made financial plan and desire to achieve my goals help me in keeping control of most of the things in my life.

    – Thankyou Manshu for writing such wonderful and knowledgeable articles.

    Kind Regards

    1. Financial goals are a great way to cut down on spending and I’ve used them myself to keep a tab on my costs as well. Thanks for your comment DM.

  7. I am not eligible for this as I am not saving any money since I have recently bought a house. But in general, I pay myself first.
    What I do is, as I get our salary, I take out all the amount needed for savings of all kinds. Then comes all the necessary bill. Then I put some money in hide me account, purely Indian mindset.
    After this I am left with less and then I tell myself and my DH loud that we have very less money. I always try to live within this left over. Sometimes this left over is good. But somemonths its not that good, in those months I withdraw a lumpsum amount and then it is a cash only month.

    For me a failure is if I have to dig in my savings and bigger failure will be if I can’t do my retirement savings along with digging in savings.

    1. Thanks for the details on how you do it….it is certainly very interesting and a little similar to what I do too.

      One thing I wasn’t able to understand was what you meant by cash only month?

      1. cash only month means no CC and no scope of going extra in this month. Whatever was there has been withdrawed as cash and have to survive on this for complete month.

          1. i used to be. Since i have bought a house, I have depleted my EF completely because of some work needed there. I will be shifting there this month, finally.

            Now my goal for rest of this year is to build back my EF. It seems I am sweating and bleeding money so far. 🙁

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