Have you ever reached the end of the month with almost nothing in your pocket and bank account? If so, you’re not alone. In fact, many Indians, often with large families, are living pay cheque-to-pay cheque. It can be one of the hardest cycles to break. Below are some tips on how to spend your month end happily and without worries.
Know Your Exact Budget
The biggest trick to help you spend less than you earn is to know exactly what you are earning and exactly where are you spending. It sounds simple, but people with experience will tell you that small purchases can go unnoticed, but nibble away at your precious budget. Making a budget will abstain you from spending more money than you earn. Plus, this will also force you to look at cutting back where you can. You can use free apps to help track your spending, or keep cash envelopes for known expenses like groceries or incidentals.
Focus on Needs, Lighten up on Wants
If your initial budget exercise shows you are spending more than you earn, it’s time to cut corners. The first axe should be on wants. What are wants? They are expenses that you can avoid, and can be substituted with a lower-cost expense. For example, when you want to buy a laptop, buying a high end INR 80,000-INR 1 lakh device is a ‘want’ when you can make do with an INR 30,000-40,000 device. Take a long hard look at ‘wants’, disguised as ‘needs’. Other examples can be using two cars, having many maids at home, eating out many meals on weekends etc.
Use Cash More
The government might want you to go cashless, but for those who have money problems at month-end using cash is a smart idea. The beauty with cash usage is that you can’t over-spend, because you can only use as much as cash as you have. Using cash for your daily expenses helps in preventing you from spending recklessly and also a good tracking. Only withdraw sufficient cash you need at the start of the month, and take a pledge to survive on this for 30/31 days. Also avoid frequent ATM withdrawals, and make it a point to visit ATMs only once in 10 days.
Build Emergency Funds
Even after making a budget, tracking expenses, cutting back on wants and using cash more, there are months when you have over-spent. While it’s not an abnormal outcome, it is definitely a hiccup. To avoid going broke and taking short-term loans to survive the month, you need an emergency fund. This fund should not be something you keep at home. It is ideally a liquid mutual fund, or a safe debt MF where you store cash for emergency usage. Some high-yielding saving bank accounts are also fine. Define emergencies and that will ensure you don't keep on using this fund every other on silly pretexts.
If you’re spending more than you are earning, then naturally you’re bound to run out of cash at month end. The good thing for you is it is still not late, and use the tips to break the paycheque-to-paycheque cycle. With these simple steps, take control of your budget and say good-bye to month end money worries.