Small things make a difference to our daily expenses tracker
My 24-year-old son recently asked me to download healthifyme app where I note down my daily meals and calorie intake as well as exercise and calorie burning schedule. The app also counts daily steps that I take so that I can complete the 10,000 steps target every day (Well, at least I try too).
The first step to managing your daily expenses is almost similar. Unless you know what’s eating into your income, you are clueless on how to manage your money. Here is how you can do it:
(1) Track your spends: You can use expense management apps which automatically detects all your expenses done through netbanking, debit card and credit cards. Moreover, it also automatically classifies these expenses into various categories such as shopping, food and drinks, transportation and recreation, which makes it easier for the user to view their expenses in each category. A simple glance helps you figure out your major spends. It displays them in the form of a pie chart, so even a non-finance person can easily understand it. This can help you analyse which areas need attention and reduce those expenses the next day or week.
(2) Paying yourself first: Before you pay your monthly bills, buy groceries or do anything else, set aside a portion of your salary to save—20% or 30%. Invest the money through a systematic investment plan (SIP) by the 7th of every month, provided the salary is credited by the 1st. It is also important not to keep your money idle or park all your savings in just savings accounts that have a low interest rate. You can transfer your balance salary to a liquid fund.
(3) Manage utility consumption: One way is to regulate your consumption. For instance, set your AC to a temperature that can reduce your overall cost of the electricity bill. Turn off your computer or laptop when you are not using it—any voltage adapters use electricity, even if they are not charged or plugged into the device. For stereo components, plug them all into a power bar that can easily be switched off when not in use. Evaluate whether you need a thousand channels and every single premium channel available, besides Prime and Netflix. Some mobile phone plans are genuinely good and money-saving; but make sure that you shop around first for the deal that best suits you.
(4) Entertainment and fashion costs: Plan either a movie and popcorn, play, music concert, sports event or standup comedy. Make a budget for entertainment, divide it weekly and don’t overspend on fun activities to the detriment of other expenses. Cook your meals rather than eat at expensive restaurants or order food. Eating healthy and cheaply is an art well learnt. Shopping for clothes, shoes or cosmetics can have a huge impact on expenses. You don’t always need expensive clothes to look fabulous.
(5) Make a shopping list: Do this before you go to the store and stick to the list. This is especially helpful for impulse buyers. Did you ever go in for a loaf of bread and come out with a basket of 15 items? You probably did not need half of those extra things, but ended up buying them anyway. A shopping list gives you a clear idea of what you need and eliminates unnecessary purchases. It will also save you by eating in season, because vegetables and fruits that are in season are more affordable.
(6) Don’t forget to pay credit card bills: To take an example, if you have six credits cards and you are delaying the payments, then you may have to fork out close to ₹ 5,000 a month in late fees alone. However, if you save ₹ 5,000 a month and invest it in an absolutely safe instrument, which gives 8% return compounded annually, you will amass more than ₹ 1 crore in just 35 years. Small things make a difference to our daily expense tracker.
Nisreen Mamaji is certified financial planner and founder, MoneyWorks Financial Advisors