20 Ways to Save Money in India: Tips and Tricks

To save money in India is especially easy given the vast amount of options we have in almost every domain. We at Groww, encourage everybody to save more and invest more. The most common grouse we hear from people is that they don’t have enough to invest. You can invest in mutual funds with an amount as small as ₹500 a month. By making small adjustments to your lifestyle, you can save a lot more than just ₹500 a month.

Most of us don’t realise that we overpay very frequently. Without making any major compromises, you can easily avoid overpaying. Along with this, if you are willing to make small compromises, your savings can be that much higher. Read on to know how you can save money in India.

1. Mobile and Internet Cost

By simply changing your usage pattern, a lot of money can be saved.

Switch to a prepaid connection. Often, people take postpaid connections to avoid the hassle of topping up their balance. This very frequently leads to overuse.

Use internet calling and messaging apps (Whatsapp, Line, Viber, etc) when possible. Data calls are usually much cheaper than regular calls. Likewise, SMS is much more expensive when compared to data messages.

Use wifi wherever available. Cellular data is far more expensive than broadband.

2. Electricity Bill

This is very often overlooked. Try looking around your house. There might be many places you are wasting energy.

Do you leave your phone charger in the socket after you’re done charging? That is still using electricity.

Don’t leave your water heater on throughout the day. Switch it on a few minutes before you bathe every day.

Switch off the lights and fans when there is nobody in the room.

These tips might sound repetitive but they’re commonly overlooked. Look around the house, there might be several places you might be spending electricity needlessly.

3. DTH or TV Cable Bill

If you’re working, chances are you don’t get much time to watch TV.

DTH service providers often sell channels in packs bundled with similar channels. Chances of you watching all channels in a given pack is very low. It might be prudent for you to simply subscribe to individual channels from the a la carte service instead of taking entire packs.

Save with news channels too. Most new channels offer live video streaming on their website. Use those websites and various other apps to keep abreast of the news from the world.

4. LPG Bill

LPG isn’t the most cost effective method of cooking food. Try switching to induction stoves.

Except for a few recipes that require a direct flame, most recipes can be cooked on induction stoves. Induction stoves use very little electricity — even less than water heaters.

The cost of cooking one meal on an LPG stove is much higher when compared to the cost when the meal is cooked on an induction stove.

5. Commute

Travelling to and back from work comprises a significant portion of expenses for most working people.

Consider using public transport wherever necessary. If using public transport is too inconvenient, try using a pooled car. Using a pooled car easily saves around 75% of the cost of the commute if the car is used by four people as opposed to one.

For local trips to the grocery store and market, walk instead of taking out the vehicle. You’ll not only save more but also stay healthy.

6. Shopping Lists

Use shopping lists and buy only what is on the list.

Supermarkets are designed to tempt you into buying more. There are entire teams whose sole task is to ensure people buy more than what they intend to.

To ensure you don’t overspend, make a list of things you need before you leave for the supermarket. Buy only what is on the list.

7. Offer Deals

‘Buy two and get one free’. Such deals may or may not benefit you.

Avoid falling for these tactics. Whenever you come across these, evaluate if it benefits you. There isn’t much point in buying three pairs of jeans all of which look the same. On the other hand, if it’s something that gets used and is finished regularly, for example, soap, the deal might make sense.

8. Online Shopping

The Indian online shopping industry gives many discounts and offers. Buying online can help you save money in India.

Online prices in India have been very competitive in the past few years. Look for coupons and discount vouchers before purchasing anything. There are various sites that offer coupons that will help you save money in India.

Not only coupons, you can also avail cashback offers that give you credit in your account. You can use this credit to buy more things from the same website.

Another trick that many say helps people save money in India is to put your desired purchase item in the cart or wishlist and not complete the purchase. The website will notice this and try to offer you more discounts to ensure you complete the purchase.

Besides these, you can make use of online payment wallets (Paytm, Mobikwik, Freecharge, etc.) to make payments for buying offline goods too. These wallets often have cashback offers which help you save more money.

9. Save on Taxes

There are several ways to save tax. Explore all options and speak to a tax expert to lower your tax burden.

You might be paying more tax than you are liable for. The Government itself comes out with various policies that encourage investing in certain places in lieu of reduced taxes.

Investing in Provident funds, insurance, term deposits and many others help you reduce the amount of tax you owe.

Investing in certain types of mutual funds called ELSS mutual funds also reduce the amount on which tax is calculated. ELSS mutual funds are considered a very good tool to reduce income tax and save money in India. To know more about ELSS mutual funds, click here.

10. Don’t Buy What You Don’t Need

We often buy what we fancy without much thought. Many times, such purchases only gather dust without being used for ages.

While walking down a shopping mall corridor, do you often feel tempted to buy something you see in the shop windows? A very fancy looking paper shredder? A new TV that promises sharper images? Hold that thought. A good rule of thumb is to wait for 30 days before making a big purchase. Chances are, in those 30 days, you’ll realise you don’t need the item after all.

If you still feel like buying after 30 days of waiting, you’re probably justified in making the purchase.

11. Negotiate/Bargain

Everything you purchase is a business deal. Business deals can be negotiated.

Just because a shopping mall has air conditioning and fancy lighting doesn’t mean you can’t ask for a discount. You almost always ask for a discount at the local vegetable vendor, don’t you?

At any shopping outlet, before the billing is over, there is no harm in asking for an additional discount. Even if the chances are less, there is no harm in trying.

While eating out, look at the bill carefully. Restaurants often add an additional service charge. This is optional and can be negotiated. You can completely avoid paying this too.

12. Cook at Home

Eating out is expensive. Limit the number of times you eat out.

Cook your lunch at home and take it to work instead of buying at the canteen. Not only will this save you money, it will also ensure you get healthy and hygienic food to eat.

If you really crave eating outside food, try ordering food to be delivered to your house instead of going to the restaurant. Food served at restaurants is usually more expensive. Besides, the setup, menu, dishes, etc at a restaurant are all designed to encourage you to order more than you need.

13. Park Your Money Wisely

There is no point in having too much money lying around in your savings account.

The chances of you needing all of your money instantly is very low. You could keep a small amount in the savings account and park the rest safely in liquid funds. It makes sense to use your money to generate more money. Funds can be converted from liquid funds to money in your savings account very quickly. To know more about liquid funds, click here.

14. Subscriptions

Get rid of subscriptions you do not need.

Did you subscribe to a car magazine before buying a car? Maybe you thought it would help you choose the best car for your budget. Did you stop subscription to it after the car came in? Yes, you should.

You might think someday you’ll take out the time to make use of your subscriptions. Truth is, if you’ve not made use of it yet, it isn’t high enough on your priority list to keep pursuing. Choose the ones that matter to you and get rid of the rest.

15. Maintain/Repair vs Replace

Don’t replace what can be maintained.

Do you really need the absolutely latest phone? Can’t your car ferry you for a few more years? The washing machine that stopped working, do you need to replace it?

The answer most of the times is no. Most things can last much longer than you use them for. Try to maintain, service, and repair as much as you can. You’ll be surprised just how much you can save every year by simply extracting more use out of everyday products.

16. Off Season Shopping

Avoid buying when everybody else is buying. Things are cheapest when there isn’t much demand for them.

If you absolutely need something, then you have to buy it. But try holding purchases for times when they aren’t popular. Air conditioners are very cheap in winters. Same goes for woollen clothes in summer. People buy cars during Diwali. That isn’t a good time to buy cars.

Whatever you buy, research to see when it doesn’t sell much. Time your purchase accordingly.

17. Rent

This is probably the highest of all your spending every month.

A good roof to live under is absolutely essential. However, there are various factors to look out for when choosing a house.

Avoid choosing a house bigger than your requirement. If you don’t have kids, you probably don’t need a 3BHK. A small 1 BHK might suffice.

The location is important too. If the cost of living close to your office is too high, consider moving to a cheaper area. At the same time, if you are having to spend too much time travelling or if the cost of commuting is too high, you should consider staying closer to the office.

18. Quality vs Quantity

Though not always, but often, choosing the cheaper item might prove to be expensive in the long run.

Some items are better bought cheap. At the same time, there are other items that are more expensive initially but prove to save money in the long run. A slightly expensive but better-built microwave oven might last much longer than a cheaper microwave oven that might need replacing too soon.

Choose between high-quality products and inexpensive products wisely. It doesn’t make sense to buy the highest quality of everything or the cheapest of everything.

19. Save and Invest Before Spending

It’ll always seem like you don’t have enough to invest.

When you earned less than you did today, you often felt you didn’t have enough. Now that you earn more, you still feel the same. In the future, when you earn even more, you’ll most likely continue feeling just as broke. Our spending adjusts to our earning.

This is exactly why you should save and invest before spending. Set aside a fixed amount for saving and religiously save that much every month.

20. Empty Your Shelves

Sell whatever you don’t need.

Did you buy a tennis racquet thinking you’d learn how to play tennis and later got bored of it? If you don’t use it anymore, sell it. There is no need to hold on to what you have no use for anymore.

On a weekend, spend time exploring all the things kept in your house. Chances are, there are many things you don’t have any use for. All these things have money tied up in them. Selling them will allow you to have money for things you might need more. So instead of spending more money on something you need, you can simply extract money from things you don’t need.

The sooner you start saving, the sooner you can start investing. It might not seem like much to invest some time later. Over a long period of time, this can have a magnifying effect on your returns. Invest as early as possible.

Originally published at groww.in on July 26, 2017.