Whether you are saving to buy a new car or investing in your future, cutting unnecessary costs will go a long way in helping you get one step closer to your goal. And you have plenty of options for trimming expenses without feeling like you’re depriving yourself, which isn’t the point anyway. But, you can spend your money in ways that reflect your priorities in life and that way actually save a bundle.
Unplug unused devices
“Energy vampires” is the name given to devices that consume energy when they’re only plugged in but not being used. Since it is a pain to constantly plug and unplug devices, you can use power strips to easily turn several off at once. Gadgets to unplug when not in use include desktop computers and laptops, TVs, DVD players, modems, cable TV boxes, stereos and radios, cordless phones, coffeemakers, lamps, toasters, and iPods, iPhones and other mobile devices and tablets. “It’s amazing how we are wasting money when we can reduce significantly reduce consumption and lower our bills this easily,” says businessman Gaurav Thapa, who claims to not leave any device plugged in when he leaves his house.
Install CFL or LED bulbs
Electrician Prabhakar Tuladhar says that though 80 percent of people who visit his store ask for CFLs, there are still a few who will buy filament bulbs because they are cheap.
While compact fluorescents do not quite have the longevity that we were promised, they still beat incandescent light bulbs by a mile. They also use a fraction of the electricity that incandescent bulbs needs, and thereby cut your energy bill. You can also pay a little more and get the LED bulbs. The LED bulbs are more energy efficient than the CFLs and will last as long as 20 years.
Buy in bulk
For items you use in large quantity, drop your cost per unit by buying in bulk. If you aren’t sure you can finish the bulk quantity before the food goes bad, then skip it, as not only your food but also your money will be wasted. “Buy items like toilet paper rolls and detergents in bulk because you’ll use them anyway and it’s cheaper that way,” says Suravi Amatya, housewife and mother of two, who shops for essentials once in three months or so. For items that are frequently on your shopping list, figure out which local store has the lowest price for it and always buy it there. The savings will add up over time.
Make meal plans
One of the biggest budget busters is when you have no answer to the question “What’s for dinner?” Rather than get in the habit of ordering pizza or going out for fast food when you are stumped by the dinner question, which is infinitely more expensive than cooking at home, get used to planning out your meals for the week or month. Not only will this save you money on take out, but it will also put you in a good place to actually use all the food you buy at the grocery store. “I started planning meals because I wanted to lose weight but I discovered that, at the end of the week, I was saving quite a bit of money too. Try eating homemade food for a week and see how much money you have left in your wallet at the end of it,” says content writer, Aditi Sharma.
Wait it out
For any and every major purchase you want to make, impose a 48-hour waiting period to weed out those usually regrettable impulse purchases. And when you buy anything, pay with cash. Studies show we spend less when we pay with cash than with debit or credit cards. “When you pay with cash you are conscious of how much you are spending unlike paying with card when you don’t have to part with physical money and are likely to go overboard,” says marketing executive, Esha Shrestha. So if you’re trying to cut back on your spending, try using cash for a bit so you think more carefully about every rupee you spend.
Maintain your car
One of the easiest ways of saving money is spending money on the right things. This will prevent you from having to spend a big chunk every once in a while. One of the most important aspects of inexpensive car ownership is proper maintenance. This includes everything from keeping your tires properly inflated in order to help maximize your mileage, to getting your oil changed and your engine tuned up at the required intervals. This will keep your car from “surprising” you with a preventable problem.
Travel off season
If you travel when the other tourists are safely at work, you can not only have a less crowded experience but also pay less for everything from your flight to hotel to other touristy activities. That doesn’t mean you travel when the place is all dry and dull. There are neat little slots of time when the weather is just right and there are just enough people to give you a good experience. “Get airline tickets in advance, and book hotel rooms before the season starts. Planning a holiday at the last minute will cost you a fortune,” says Ramesh Khadka, who always books his trips at least three months in advance in a bid to get the best deal.
Rent out unused space in your home
This is not for everyone but it is definitely a concept we could put to use to make some extra money and save it. While concepts like having paying guests and renting out your apartment in Airbnb are quite popular in India and abroad, it’s yet to catch up in Nepal. Bu that doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of it right away. “I have recently started renting out the extra room I have in my apartment on short term basis to foreigners and it’s quite an income. But you have to be careful especially if you are living alone,” says Anupama Thapa, a primary school teacher. Whether you have a room that is going unused, or half of your garage is completely empty, there is likely someone who is willing to pay you for the privilege of using your empty space.