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Saving smartly! 10 quick tips to get you started

By Rajiv Raj
January 27, 2015 14:03 IST
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Money saved is money earned. Make this your mantra in 2015 and begin your journey on the road to riches. Work fetches money and that is what keeps us going. But how about money fetching more money? We plan to give you what you need to get started.

Photograph: Images Money/Wikimedia Commons

'Money fetching more money' should be your goal. And the first step for that is learning to save. It does not mean you cut down on occasional weekend dinners or not give in to the retail therapy once in a while. Saving need not be boring. You just need to think a little and make it a part of your lifestyle. Make saving a habit by being intelligent, creative and join the cool rich club.

Review that home loan

Take time out to review the interest that is paid on your home loan. There is so much competition for this product in the market and you must take advantage of this. Make sure your bank is giving you the best deal. If not, compare and negotiate!

Too many cards kill the budget

Empty those credit cards from your wallet and pick two which you want to continue with. The deciding factors should be reward points and low interest rate. Since, most of the time, one credit card carries only one of these benefits at a time, it is a good strategy to retain two cards. Having limited cards also helps keep a tab on spending habits.

Spending is done more consciously and unnecessary expenses are automatically cut down.

Saving up tips for car loans

Negotiate for better rates using your CIBIL credit score. Lenders often offer lower rates for borrowers with better CIBIL scores. Also, make sure you don't finance the car add-ons. For the accessories or add-ons check with local dealers for better rates. That way it turns out to be a cheaper option, rather than paying interest on it up to the entire loan repayment.

Get organised and play CID

Arrange for all bills, statements, etc to reach you before a pre-decided date every month. On a weekend evening, analyse and check for mysterious charges. This habit will also help you recognise your spending patterns. These can then be corrected or can be planned for in advance thus helping you in the save money mission.

Plan ATM trips

Impose a restriction on your ATM visits! This simple act helps in numerous ways. Expenses are planned in advance since cash needs to be withdrawn accordingly. There is no room left for temptation to withdraw cash whenever an ATM is in the vicinity.

Many banks have started charging customers for ATM usage when the number of transactions cross the permitted transactions number. By planning withdrawals in advance one can easily avoid bearing such charges.

Saving while getting insured

No one understands your needs like you do. Do your homework and work out your own insurance amount. Agents have a tendency to talk you into more. Also, before buying any new insurance check if you are already adequately covered under an existing insurance scheme. If not, go in only for the additional amount. It is also a smart thing to shop around a bit after you have worked out the requirements. Go for an insurance plan that suits you the best.

And while at it, remember that insurance works best when it is not coupled as a saving plan.

Track your expenses

Have a personal tracker to keep a check on your daily expenses. Either maintain a small diary if you are old school, like geeks do or download a mobile application which will help you with this.

Analysing expenses on a regular basis can prove to be a very effective way to save on expenses which are not accounted for or are unnecessary.

Choose banks wisely

Take stock of all the bank accounts and lockers which you own. It's time to de clutter and get organised. Shut down accounts which have not been used for regular transactions since six months or more.

Also, check on the lockers currently in use. It is not uncommon to change lockers along with a change in address. However, the old lockers remain in your name.

Closing old accounts and lockers can free up the deposit money which can be reinvested as per your own.

Save up during sale season

Retail therapy indulgence reaches new levels during the sale season. While discounts on products leave you with some free money after the purchase, why not make this free money work for you.

Next time you avail a discount, deposit the discounted amount into your savings account and incorporate it in the investment plan.

Don't leave your investments unattended

While one does feel a sense of relief after planning, choosing and implementing an investment scheme, it is important to note that these investments need to be reviewed regularly. A decision made two years ago may not be fetching the same returns today. Analyse and decide your next investment move accordingly.

Saving is not a one time plan but a way of life. This is one habit which will fetch positive returns right from the moment you start.

May you save up heaps this year only to multiply your wealth for the years to come.

The author is a credit expert with 10 years of experience in personal finance and consumer banking industry and another 7 years in credit bureau sector. Rajiv was instrumental in setting up India's first credit bureau, Credit Information Bureau (India) Limited (CIBIL). He has also worked with Citibank, Canara Bank, HDFC Bank, IDBI Bank and Experian in various capacities.

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Rajiv Raj