You can live on a budget and still have fun. Use these tips to save Rs10,000 or more annually.
1. Get rid of the fluff: Trimming your satellite or premium cable package can make a difference.
2. Rent movies: Eliminate one trip to the theatre per month (Rs400 for two, including popcorn-soda treats) and you’ll save Rs4,800 a year.
3. Go solo to save: One is cheaper than two. Eat out solo, watch a movie on your own, shop for your clothes alone.
4. Join a good library: Besides books, you can borrow magazines and movies. If you stop buying two monthly magazines with a cover price of Rs50, that’s a saving of Rs1,200 over a year. Put that towards the cost of a library membership.
5. Bring your lunch: It’s cheaper and healthier!
6. Pack your snacks: Beverages, water and snacks at the office quickly add up.
7. Eat out less: Skip one dinner at a restaurant each month, and you save an estimated Rs1,000 for two. Don’t drink alcohol when you do dine out and you’ll save even more—say, Rs150 per person each weekend. For two people adopting both measures, you save close to Rs23,000 a year.
8. Sip on your savings: Make your own coffee and add your own flavoured syrup, instead of buying a cappuccino (Rs100, at least).
9. Play the princely pauper: Children can make do with a lot less than we believe, and often (like the toddler in the ad) prefer to exercise their imaginations with the big packing box than the giant teddy it held.
10. Feed your iPod for free: Did you know iTunes actually provides you some free content, daily?
Add a widget to your iGoogle page. Click on “Add stuff”, on the top right, which lets you put many widgets on your Google home page. In the Gadgets tab, use the “Search for gadgets” box to locate “free iTunes”.
5 tips for a perfect holiday
1. You don’t even have to go away. Enjoy a staycation (Google it!) instead: Try to do something you really enjoy and go for it—whether it’s flying kites or chasing butterflies.
2. City and resort vacations tempt you to shop, sip a cocktail by the pool, eat out, catch a “deal” or a tour…in short, spend, spend, spend! Stay as close as possible to nature—you’ll never be let down. Instead, camp in the wilderness, at a national park, far from the expensive attractions.
3. One thing that comes at no cost is companionship— whether on a plane or a train, in the hotel café, on the tour bus, in the art gallery… Open up to people around you, especially those you may never meet again.
4. Don’t just take a holiday, take an all-together- now holiday. Many things (such as hotel rooms and cab fares) cost less when you share.
5. Attitude is a no-cost investment. Think positive, even about problems you encounter. If held up at the airport, see it as saving on the hotel room; if the Louvre’s closed for renovation, it’s your chance to be a flâneur about Paris!
Francis Wacziarg is co-founder of Neemrana Hotels Pvt. Ltd
Eat out and stuff yourself on a (near-)empty wallet
Lunches are often cheaper than dinners at fancy restaurants:
• Order an appetizer as your main course or share an entrée to avoid wasting food.
• Ethnic, especially regional food, is usually a fraction of the cost of exotic eats (think vada-pao vs Vietnamese, thali vs antipasti)
• Always opt for alcohol as “takeaway”! It’s much cheaper to bring your bottle home than to uncork at a pub.
• Skip dessert and pick up a cone (or tub) of ice cream.
• Host a Sunday breakfast. You just need to cook eggs or parathas. Buy breads, not booze.
• Get together over tea or coffee, not drinks.
• Call friends over for dessert or after-dinner films, after they’ve eaten with their families.
• Invite colleagues for kebabs and beer, not a sit-down. Easier on those held up at work.
Focus on a focus fund
Just once a week (maybe your day off, when time pressures are less), take an alternative mode of transport—use a carpool for the school run if you usually drive, take the metro if you normally take cabs, and walk or cycle shorter distances if your usually take a bus or autorickshaw. A saving of around Rs100 a week (the difference between a cab and an autorickshaw fare, say) translates to at least Rs5,000 over a year. You could spend this money for a gym membership (more health), 10 comic books (more collectibles) ,three multimedia library memberships (more entertainment), or take a weekend trip out of town (more travel).