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10 cost cutting tips for now | January 22, 2009 13:05 IST
Last Updated: January 22, 2009 13:08 IST

It is often said that cutting costs never made anyone a millionaire. While that may be true, it certainly doesn't hurt. In difficult times like these, when making the most of available monies has become the order of the day, cost cutting is being increasingly practiced in one form or another. And let's not forget the adage - a penny saved is a penny earned. In this article, we present 10 simple, yet effective cost cutting tips that can be practiced on an everyday basis.

Watch morning shows
Watching movies is a popular means of entertainment for many; but it can also account for a significant part of the monthly expenditure. For instance, tickets of the 'Gold' category are typically priced at Rs 200 a piece; hence an evening movie outing for two translates into an outlay of Rs 400. And if watching movies is a weekly affair, then the monthly spend is likely be around Rs 1600.

Now consider the option of watching morning shows in the same multiplex. The same 'Gold' category tickets are available at a healthy discount of 40%-60%. This will help you significantly cut down on the expenses. Also, by doing so, you won't have to compromise on the fun of watching the movie; something that's an eventuality, if you were to rent a DVD and watch the movie on TV.

Use a carpool
Carpool is an excellent idea that saves time, money and fuel. It can prove especially useful for those who use their vehicles regularly for dropping children to school or traveling to work. You can make a group of 4-5 individuals residing close by who travel on the same route and then take turns.

Cut your electricity bill
Use CFLs (Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs) instead of tube lights. CFLs are energy saving light bulbs and have a longer life. Also, try to use electrical appliances like washing machines before 10 am or after 10 pm; this is important since power companies also include a peak-time charge during the stated time zone. Also following some simple measures can go a long way in cutting on the electricity bill. For example, don't keep the refrigerator door open for long. Use the microwave judiciously; boil milk on the stove instead. On a related front, to save on the gas bill, while boiling water or milk, cover the container.

Paint your house
Have you ever thought of painting your house yourself? It can prove to be a great learning experience and save you a lot of money too. All you need to do is clean the walls and gather the material required for painting the house. How much paint is required can be determined with the help of the retailer. Apart from being cost cutting measures, activities like painting can prove to be stress busters as well.

Pay credit card bills on time
Make credit card payments on time to avoid late fees and interest charges. This will also ensure that you stay in the good books of the banks. A good credit history will help your cause while applying for loans.

Opt for a prepaid mobile connection
A prepaid mobile connection can help instill discipline in terms of the amount spent on mobile bills. A prepaid connection implies a limited usage of the mobile phone; this leads to a fixed expenditure that can be in line with the budgeted amount. While using a post paid connection, you run the risk of running up a higher than desired bill.

Rationalise your shopping
While shopping for clothes, electronics or other items, visit different shops as there can be a difference of 10%-30% in the price of the same products. When shopping for groceries make a list of items required instead of just randomly picking up things from the supermarket. Without the list, you may end up buying additional items and also spending more than you bargained for.

Utilise discounts and sales
Retail shops and outlets often come up with discounts, sales and bargain offers every year. Such goods are often perceived to be of low quality. That need not be the case. Often, it's just unsold stock that the shop wants to clear off by offering discounts. And at times the discounts can be very attractive. Also, during the holiday season i.e. Diwali and Christmas, electronic appliances tend to be cheaper as companies try to compete with each other to lure customers.

Plan your expenses
Do not underestimate the importance of planning your monthly expenses and spending in line with a budget. Maintain an account of the expenses and savings. This will help you to analyse your spending habits and weed out unwanted expenditure.

Also, it is important to prioritise your expenses. For example, payment of utility bills, paying children's school fees, buying grocery are some unavoidable expenses and must be provided for. The balance monies must be used to provide for other miscellaneous and entertainment activities.

Other measures
Other measures that are typically overlooked can also go a long way in helping cut costs. For instance, don't forget to switch off lights and fans when not in the room. Switch off the monitor of your computer during lunch breaks. Avoid cooking excess food. Don't buy excess groceries especially those with a limited shelf life. Ensure that you pay utility bills on time; it will help you save on the late fees and also the inconvenience caused on account of disconnected electricity and telephone lines.

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