Everybody we spoke to for ‘Life lessons’ at one point or the other said we needed to save for the rainy days. And it’s not just them who are saying that. When it comes to financial advice, everybody, from your parents to your cousins, seems to tell you that. But, for most of us, choosing to scrimp and save means compromising on our lifestyles and desires. Well, it needn’t be that way say some savvy savers. There are ways you can live large and still have plenty of cash leftover.
Save a certain percent of your salary and spend the rest.
“My husband and I save Rs 25,000 each every month. That way, at the end of just two months, we have some substantial cash,” says Shreya Pant, a banker by profession who, according to her parents, has never been a saver. Pant says that, in the four years of their marriage, she and her husband have a sizable amount saved up and that gives them the confidence to spend freely and without worry. A few months into their marriage, the couple opened a joint savings account and each of them deposited a fixed amount every month. For this account, they didn’t get a debit card and didn’t activate the online banking services either. “I highly recommend this to all couples as it gives you a sense of stability and you can live life without worrying what to do in case of emergencies,” says Pant.
Let your yearly vacation be the time when you let go of financial worries.
Fed up of always counting how much money she had left in her wallet and calculating expenses, marketing executive Ruchi Dhakal decided to put aside some money every month to splurge when she goes on her annual vacation. This has worked to her advantage because she knows that while she has to micromanage her finances on a day-to-day basis, there will come a time when she can spend freely and feel like money doesn’t rule her world and decisions. “I might look at the price tag of things, even food items, when buying something on a regular basis but when I’m on vacation I don’t need to worry about the cost. I can have a week or ten days free of monetary woes,” says Dhakal adding that this is the only reason scrimping and saving for the rest of the year doesn’t feel bad. She knows something good is coming up.
Going out doesn’t necessarily have to mean spending a lot.
As someone who works six days a week, Pranab Thapa enjoys his Friday night outs with friends. It’s how he relaxes and remains sane, says Thapa. But these weekly gatherings cost money and after a while Thapa realized that going out to restaurants every weekend and eating and drinking was creating a serious dent in his monthly budget. But Thapa and his friends didn’t want to give it up either. It was the one day in the week they looked forward to the most. As Thapa puts it, giving it up would mean giving up on life and having a boring existence. “But, in Kathmandu, hanging out only meant going to restaurants,” says Thapa. So they came up with an idea that lets them hang out as well as not spend too much. “We go to different parts of Kathmandu like Swayambhu, Boudha, Bhaktapur, Patan Durbar Square and just loiter about or sit somewhere and have a mini picnic of sorts,” explains Thapa. This, he confesses, is way better than visiting restaurants every single week and spending tons of money on beer and chicken chilly. “And at the end of the month, your wallet is still fat,” he adds.
Make your own clothes or buy cheap ones that look expensive.
We have to admit that one of our major expenses comes in the form of clothes. “You don’t need expensive clothes to look fabulous and conversely, you don’t look fabulous just because your clothes are expensive,” says engineer Sameer Shakya. “I don’t have a single branded item in my wardrobe. My shirts and tees all cost Rs 500 or less, and my jeans are for Rs 1000 – Rs 1200. And I look good. You can ask my mother and my fiancée too,” he says. According to Shakya, the easiest way to save money on clothes is to go shop at relatively inexpensive high street brands like H&M and Zara when you are traveling. This way you get good clothes for reasonable prices. “But there are many places in New Road where you will find good quality clothes for cheap as well. You have to go on a hunt but it’s worth it,” says Shakya adding that another way to save money on clothes is by making your own. Though Shakya doesn’t do it himself, his fiancée does it all the time. “She picks a design she likes, buys some nice fabric, and gets it stitched at the local tailor’s or makes it herself if it’s something as basic as a skirt or sleeveless top,” he explains.