Upwards Loans India
Mar 5 · 8 min read

Basic living expenses are exorbitant enough, and they’re exponentially higher if you live in a metro city like Mumbai. Even if you’re earning a decent salary that could otherwise support a very comfortable lifestyle, you could still be broke after paying your rent, food, and utility bills, which leaves other personal expenses out of the question.

It’s likely you already have a budget you adhere to, but one of the reasons that most budgets fails is because it doesn’t allow you any room for having fun. Just as a being on a rigidly restrictive diet can compel you to overindulge, a budget that eliminates ‘fun’ expenses altogether could lead you to not just feel miserable about your life, but increase your chances of overspending when you do receive extra money.

Fortunately, there’s still hope for those of us who qualify as the ‘urban poor’. In the same way that you’d pay your bills on time or set aside money for your savings, aim to save about 10–15% of your monthly pay just for spending on shopping or going out.

You may tell yourself you have no right to enjoy because you aren’t earning enough; or worse, if you’re in debt (especially massive debt) you have no right to have fun because you got yourself in this situation and you have responsibilities that you can’t avoid. But the truth is, even if you’re struggling with your finances, you’re still entitled to spend on yourself while you work on increasing your financial stability. The key is to do what you can, with what you have.

Here are some key tips to make sure you save even more every time you spend money on entertainment.


Shopping for “stuff” is an inevitable expense, because unlike entertainment expenses (such as dining out, movie/concert tickets) which can be completely avoided, you have no choice but to periodically replace your items due to regular wear and tear.

If you are on a tight budget, identify 1–2 areas that you want to spend on (fashion, beauty, books, electronics, etc). Aside from everyday necessities in these categories, make a list of 3 of the top things in these categories that you want to buy this year, and save all your money towards buying those items.

It can be slightly harder for women as they have more (and more expensive) unavoidable grooming costs than men. With beauty and grooming, you can cut down on these costs by doing facials, waxing, manicures and pedicures at home.

It can be slightly harder for women as they have more (and more expensive) unavoidable grooming costs than men. With beauty and grooming, you can cut down on these costs by doing facials, waxing, manicures and pedicures at home.

  • DIY Beauty: It can be slightly harder for women as they have more (and more expensive) unavoidable grooming costs than men. With beauty and grooming, you can cut down on these costs by doing facials, waxing, manicures and pedicures at home. There are numerous DIY beauty treatments you can do by using natural and easily-available ingredients from your local grocery store.
  • Home services: If you prefer to have a professional for your beauty services, you can book these via UrbanClap for much less than the average salon rate; the added benefit being, they’ll do it right in the comfort of your own home.
  • Clothes: For fashion, you can visit websites such as Etashee or StylFlip to buy pre-owned items at a fraction of their original cost. You can even make some money on the side by selling your own clothes and accessories that you don’t use anymore!
  • Price Comparison Tools: For online shopping, use the Google Shopping tab to compare prices on a particular product. Other great websites for price comparisons include Buy Hatke and Price Dekho.
  • Subscribe & Save: If there are particular products that you regularly buy every month, Amazon has a subscription option on most products that will help you save 5% on your purchases.
  • Check Customer Reviews: Be sure to read reviews especially when you’re trying out a new product, but take them with a grain of salt- a lot of reviews, especially on Amazon, are paid for by companies (predominantly by homegrown brands that want to gain positive reviews on their products). You’ll see this with influencers as well, so ensure that you find reviews which provide both the pros and cons of a particular item before you buy it.
  • Cashback: There are a few other tricks you can employ with online shopping. Check for cashback options with wallets like Paytm, Klippd, and CashKaro. Websites like Save Monk and Never Pay MRP also have amazing discount coupons in almost every category. Most of websites also have referral links that give you either cashback or extra discounts. Or, you take advantage of first-time customer sign ups on websites that give you an extra 10–15% off your first purchase.
  • Books & Magazines: If you’re a book-lover with extra time on your hands, there are plenty of second-hand book stores in every city that you can scour for old classics and even new releases. Unless you like the experience of browsing bookstores, most Kindle books are just as cheap as used books, and you can read them instantly; additionally, you can always return the book if you didn’t like it.


Going out for dinner and drinks with friends can easily cost you at least Rs 1,000 or more, even if you stick to affordable restaurants. On the flip side, a lot of people are opting for home get-together that are not only more affordable but more convenient than noisy and crowded bars.

  • Home Delivery: If you want to have your friends over for a fun dinner, use Cater Ninja for reasonably priced food services that provide options to choose from by city, budget and cuisine. For home delivery, Swiggy has referral codes and discount coupons that can save a lot on orders.
  • Dining Out: For the times you can’t avoid going out, Zomato Gold offers a variety of membership packages, in which you pay a flat fee and get a complimentary dish or drink on every order. Websites such as Eazy Diner has great offers on popular restaurants and pubs in every city, that also have options to choose from by budget, cuisine and location.
  • Movies & TV: When it comes to movies and TV shows, Netflix, Amazon Prime and HotStar are undoubtedly super affordable subscriptions that you can cancel anytime. But if you want to get out of the house, check out Events High for free entertainment options like movie screenings, art exhibitions, and more.
  • Sometimes, you simply can’t afford to spend on entertainment, and it takes courage to get over the shame and inform your peer group that you’re on a strict budget. You can always suggest the cheaper alternatives above to your regular and expensive hangout spots, but don’t be afraid to say no if you truly can’t join them every time.


Unless international travel is well within your budget, you still have a plethora of beautiful travel options in India. And if you can’t get out of town, then stay in your city for a staycation! Every city is rich in cultural heritage and has hidden gems you’ve likely not explored. A staycation at a local hotel can be a refreshing change of scenery without spending as much as a local trip, plus, minus the hassle of time spent on travelling.

  • Hotels: Whether you want to plan a local or international trip, AirBnB and OYO are your best bets for budget-friendly hotel options. Another option is to plan a staycation at home. Save the money you would have otherwise spent on hotels, transportation and other fees and explore neighbourhoods in your city that you’ve never been to before. Or, book a day or two at the spa! Just because you can’t afford to get out of the city for a vacation doesn’t mean you can’t get a decent and refreshing break on a staycation at home.
  • Flight tickets: If you are travelling in India or abroad, use this hack while booking flight tickets: either clear your cache and cookies, or browse incognito mode. This is because most websites use dynamic pricing which can fluctuate the price of air tickets. Which means that every time you search and check for tickets, you will see prices go higher. Based on the intent and demand you show by searching for these tickets, you’ll be shown a premium price range.


Gifting has definitely gotten a lot easier over the past decade. With the influx of numerous brands and cheaper alternative options available, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to gift a decent present.

  • Don’t buy, DIY: If you like making things, why not personalise and DIY a gift? Pinterest and YouTube are your best bets for craft tutorials that cost barely any money. Or, you can ask an artistically-inclined friend to make something. This can be a bit tricky, because DIY presents can be time-consuming, right from sourcing the supplies to making the actual item.
  • NGO gifts: But if crafts aren’t your thing, a lot of NGOs such as CRY, Cuddles Foundation and WWF make really affordable gift items, which are great when you want to give a more generic gift to someone.


There’s no reason why you should feel guilty for wanting to enjoy yourself, or simply live life and have fun, just because you’re in a lot of debt or are struggling with your finances.

Even if you can’t afford 10% of your net monthly salary for spending, then set aside any small amount that you can afford- even if it’s just Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 a month- for something as small as a nice meal at a budget-friendly restaurant.

While you work on improving your finances, remember that being on a restrictive budget isn’t necessarily a bad thing; in fact, having lesser means and fewer options can help you become laser-focused on making wiser spending decisions.

Check us out here for more info about us or how to apply for a personal loan in India!

Upwards Loans India

We aim to empower India’s masses by providing access to formal credit in the form of unsecured loans. Find out more about us at www.upwards.in

Upwards Loans India

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We aim to empower India’s underserved masses providing access to formal credit via unsecured personal loans www.go-upwards.com

Upwards Loans India

We aim to empower India’s masses by providing access to formal credit in the form of unsecured loans. Find out more about us at www.upwards.in

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