In most Indian households, women manage daily household finances like food, clothes, stationery etc. – basically the most essential things for living! We’re also traditionally known to be experts at being able to stretch a rupee as far as it can go, and with a few tweaks here and there, it’s still possible today. Here are some tips to save on shopping:
- Go online. Nearly everything is cheaper online, especially diapers, baby products and clothes. If you keep a close watch on sales and discount periods, you can get some excellent deals, especially on bigger budget items like high chairs or car seats.
- Buy in bulk. Obviously this doesn’t apply to perishables like milk, but for many other essentials, buying in bulk can help you save. Grains, pulses and even washing powder are cheaper when you buy larger quantities and bring down your overall monthly food budget.
- Make a list. It’s very easy to go overboard when buying, especially when you see those cute baby frocks on sale! However, young children outgrow their clothes very fast, so buying lots of expensive clothes is a huge waste of money. Make a list of the essentials and buy a few good quality pieces of those, and repeat the process when you have to buy the next size.
- Keep track of your expenses. The first step to saving money is to figure out how much did you spend on monthly basis. Keep track of all your expenses— right from the daily grocery to newspaper/magazine subscription, electricity and water consumption, meals out, clothes, birthday gifts etc. Ideally, you can account for every rupee. I go about recording it on an excel format. Once you have your data, organize the numbers by categories, such as gas, groceries, house maintenance, personal maintenance, special expense, and total each amount. I try and track it on weekly basis. For major spends, make sure to refer your bank statements to help you with this.
- Allocate a budget. What follows soon after having tracked your expenses is creating a budget. Once you have an idea of what you spend on monthly basis, you can now begin to organize your tracked expenses into a workable budget. Your budget should be able to define how your expenses measure up to your monthly income—so you can plan your spending and put a stop to overspending.
- Save money for a major goal. Once you have been able to keep a track of your monthly expenses and allocated a budget for it, you should chase your planned goals (we all have them!), which are likely to have the biggest impact on how you save money. Prioritizing long and short-term goals can give you a clear idea of where to start saving. For example, if you know you have to purchase a new car sometime soon or renovate your house, you could gradually start putting money away for the goal.
My go-to tips are:
- Buy kid’s clothes during sale. Best times to buy clothing are around festive times when there are huge sales both online and offline. Also keep checking your child’s cupboard to know what exactly you need. Otherwise, you will end up buying the same thing you already have too many. For example, you might have plenty of tops and might need just the leggings or the bottoms. But unless you know that you might end buying too many tops or t-shirts.
- Buy 1 size bigger clothing for kids, as they outgrow their clothes very fast. These days kids have full-fledged wardrobes, so buying a little bigger size could mean they are able to wear it at least a few times before they out grow them. We did a post on things that you do NOT need to buy for a baby.
- When buying for a new baby, do not to go overboard. It is best to invest only in the necessities. Like there is no point buying those little cute shoes as babies never wear them. Instead, buy socks for babies. For Indian conditions, it is best to buy separates for babies rather than buying one-sizes.