The economic recession did come as a blow to all of us didn’t it! The recession is well over and gone and just as we were about to heave sighs of relief and become generous with our purse-strings, bang came this year’s budget with the increasing of prices for all goods and services. But just as every cloud has a silver lining, this protracted period of gloom did manage to reign in our spending impulses and bring forth our money-management skills. So we would only be doing ourselves a world of good by persisting in those methods of saving and spending judiciously.
Leave your husbands alone and let them mull over how to take care of the salaries they earn. It’s time you as the house-wife and boss at home sharpened your skills on money management. Here are some tips to smarten up your finances:
- Controlled Shopping: Do you walk into your local supermarket on a daily basis? Do you also end up going to buy milk and bread and return home with a new detergent, a new face wash and a new hand cream? Well, it may be a lot more fun to go shopping every day, but it also means that you will be tempted to splurge on things you don’t require on a daily basis. For someone who is on a budget and aiming to reduce expenses, it can be the biggest mistake to shop every day. It will take more than a human effort to control impulses on a daily basis so the best technique is to go grocery shopping on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Make a weekly shopping list to further cut down expenses. For things that you may require on a daily basis, like milk cartons and breads, use the Home Delivery option if available and have the products delivered home. If your local supermarket doesn’t deliver home, ask your husband to pick up the items on his way back from work.
- Shopping List: How many times have you felt like buying those beautiful cushion covers or curtain fabric, or even that hard-to-keep-your-hands-off chinaware! Well it’s only after reaching home, when they are tucked away in cupboards and shelves soon-to-be forgotten after draining your wallets, do you realize how needless it was to satisfy your impulse! It might be a wonderful feeling to ‘collect’ things but if you are on a budget and your mission is to reduce household expenses, you will need to change a few habits. So, the rule to remember is to make a shopping list and train yourself to shut your eyes to anything that is not on it. It might be hard to believe but once you start buying only the things your family needs on a regular basis and those which you can list down, you will see how much smaller your weekly or monthly grocery bills become.
- Smart Shopping: Now given that you have made up your mind to stick to your shopping list, try to reign in your desire to buy that latest brand that is flashing on the T.V and abounding in promises, when you are tight in your finances. Try to stick to your tried and tested brand and product as long as you are satisfied with it instead of experimenting with a new and expensive one at a time when you can’t afford to. If the new brand doesn’t live up to its promises, you would have wasted money at a time you want to save, not splurge.
- Restrain the urge: If you give it a thought, you’d realize a lot of the products you spend oodles over, have home-made substitutes as well. Limit your urge to buy those creams and lotions and why not try grinding some herbs and making your own face-masks and moisturizers. Not only will it save your money, it will also be an enriching experience! Wag your finger at your children when they insist on buying those tins of cookies and instead delight them with treats you make yourself.
- Talking business: Got free time from house-work and taking care of children and wondering how to make the most of it? Get back to your forgotten or neglected hobbies and get serious about it! Was there a hidden fashion-designer in you or a shy artist? Or do you love preparing those lime pickles or sesame seed cookies but don’t do anymore ‘coz you find no takers in your husband and children? Oh forget them all and go on to pursue your interest and start producing on a small scale with the idea of selling them. Who knows, you might very well be able to bring out your own label!
- Fix your bills: Find your jaw dropping (you wouldn’t want to look at your hubby’s!) every time you receive your electricity/water/internet/phone bills? Time to take stock of the situation, lady! Let fascism reign! Get stricter about the oft-preached but less-heeded rule of switching off light switches and electric appliances not in use; store water so you don’t leave taps running non-stop; limit chatting for hours with your parents, siblings, relatives and friends over the net or phone, and encourage your children to do so too; go pre-paid from post-paid on your mobiles!
Adopt these simple practices and watch your purse if not swelling, then definitely not deflating! See how in time, by making these a habit, you will end up with more money in your hands so you’ll be able to give in to your guilty pleasures without actually feeling guilty! However, having said that, it is also necessary to splurge once in a while. Like a pair of sandals? Wait for the yearly sales to hit the market and buy yourself those sandals without any guilt! To be able to control your urges, you must pamper yourself once in a while. Plan any big buys, like a TV or dishwasher so that your budget is planned likewise.