Budgeting, economizing and saving. Don’t we do them all? Scrimping may seem difficult but the end results will make it all worthwhile.
It may sound clichéd, but yes, ‘every drop of water does make a mighty ocean’ and ‘a penny saved is a penny earned.’ Geeta Canpadee, a writer, who spent five years in China during a transfer, recollects her experience, “In China rate per unit of electricity is reduced to half between 10 pm to 6 am. So everybody turns on their washing machines and dishwashers after 10 pm. They say they save 50 percent on electricity.” A little planning and some effort can help save even on a large scale.
There are ways to go about saving money and the best start is with some easy household hacks.
1. Always have a list and stick to it. Weekly groceries, bathroom essentials and veggies should all be listed out. Be strict and buy only the items on the list or you end up hoarding, wasting and losing money.
2. Geeta has a household hack she practices every day. She says, “Soaking pulses, grains…for an hour or two before cooking saves on fuel as the ingredients cook faster.”
3. Replace all expensive cleaning solutions with inexpensive kitchen ingredients like baking soda and vinegar. They are non-toxic too.
4. Mix your own personal care products. Products like moisturizers made with coconut oil, vitamin E oil and lavender oil are healthier for the skin and cheaper on your pocket.
5. Become more energy efficient by keeping the temperature of your air conditioning and refrigerator moderate. Switch off the lights when not in use. Do not leave switches on standby mode. Do not run the washing machine at half load; wait until clothes have piled up to a full load.
6. Reduce the number of times you dine out. Plan easy meals in advance so you can get started on them immediately in the evening. This way you will resist the temptation to eat out or order in.
7. Take stock of what is in your fridge. Prioritize and use in accordance with the life of the product. Spinach and lettuce has to be used immediately, dairy products should not be left for long… You have to put a handle on wasting food stored in the refrigerator.
8. Using your freezer more is another way to increase the shelf life of food. We often avoid storing everyday stuff in the freezer. But perishables like bananas, lemons, tomatoes and ginger last longer in the freezer. The vegetables stored in the freezer are easier to grate too.
9. Plan a kitchen garden. Herbs and some vegetables grow easily even in small spaces. You can save on the herbs, use just the right amount you need and be proud of the homegrown freshness.
10. If you have to entertain, host a potluck party. You will avoid spending too much time, effort and also too much money.
11. Refer to DIY kits to fix things around the house. Invest in a toolkit. You will find it less messy, less bothersome and more satisfactory and, of course, save on the labor cost of a handyman!
12. If you are passionate about reading, join a library instead of buying books. Check for free books online as well.
13. Keep a tab on deals that are announced regularly in the newspapers. Huge discounts of up to 50% and sometimes even more are worth the trouble of storing the things available on offer.
14. With advance planning, you can even get great deals on holiday destinations and airfare which will double your enjoyment quotient.
15. Go for the creative touch with gifting ideas. You can come up with many DIY gifts that will be gratifying to you, touching for the receiver and light on your wallet.
16. Go shopping online. This way you will avoid being attracted to everything on display in stores. But be sure the products are genuine and functional as described by referring to the reviews. Also shop on reputed portals.
17. Binge on water. Drink plenty of water, at least a big glass before a meal, and you will feel fuller and eat less. This helps you avoid binging on food and abstaining from unnecessary calories especially when you are eating out. And your bill amount will make you smile instead of cringe!
18. Be a part of a carpool group. Bike or walk short distances instead of taking out the car. The exercise and the money saved on fuel is good for you.
19. Pay cash when you are a person who is likely to get a tad bit carried away while shopping. It will help you take stock of the amount spent – which is less likely to happen if you are using a credit card.
20. Maintain your appliances. Clean them regularly, Dust can clog up the mechanics of appliances, a cause for major repairs. Well-maintained devices also function more efficiently, last longer and save on electricity.
20. Invest time and money, if need be, in fitness. Staying fit will keep you away from a host of health issues and automatically, medical bills.