By the end of each month, I only used to have enough money to buy a rag to sit on at the traffic signal.

As a salaried professional I earned a good amount every month, but with a family to look after, the money never seemed to be enough.

My kid would scream for a new toy at the supermarket and my wife & I would plan to buy something new every time there was a sale! Which unfortunately left me with little to no money by the end of the month.

Regular monthly expenses such as rent, conveyance charges, grocery bills, maintenance costs, salaries of the house-help and cook, were and still are inescapable. Add to that the miscellaneous expenses that pop out of nowhere.

I just could not seem to escape this web of expenses. 

So what did I do?

I decided to follow the old rule. I started saving a fixed amount every month that I put into in the bank account and did not touch (unless it was an emergency). Whatever extra was left I spent on toys and other things that my wife & I thought were necessary.

Achieving this wasn’t easy, though. I had to take some tough decisions and be disciplined in my approach to money management. Here is a look at what I did to make sure I have more money at the end of the month.

Budget management

Only too often, I leave the house with a few thousand rupees in my pocket and when I come back, my pocket is empty! The worst part is that I have no idea where all the money goes! It’s like someone has sucked the money straight out of my pocket!

On the other hand, I have a friend who keeps a tab on every rupee he spends. I myself have found that pretty hard to do, but I’ve found that a practical way to plan my finances is by budgeting.

The best time to make a budget is at the beginning of the month – when your salary is credited to your bank account – because this can help you plan how much you will be spending that month, and on what.

Being aware of where my money was going made it easier for me to plan my finances better and subsequently save more.

My way of budgeting is simple; I list down all major expenses such as rent, electricity charges, estimated conveyance charges, EMIs, etc. Then I do a simple subtraction of my expenses from my income to arrive at how much money I would eventually be left with.

Here is an example of my basic budget management journal.

Budget Management for August 2016
Income Expenses Savings
Total Income = Salary + Part-Time Income

= X

 

 

1.     Electricity bill

2.     House rent

3.     Children’s school fee

                              ….and so on

= Y

Savings for July = X-Y

= Z

Tax-exemption instruments

Like every other member of the salaried class, taxes are a huge concern for me. Personally, I have always feared March because I know that paying taxes will leave me financially tight for at least the next two months.

While paying taxes regularly is important for every one of us and for the betterment of our country, there are also a lot of government-approved ways to save money on taxes.

By saving on taxes I may not have made ‘additional’ money, but I do manage to save more.

I personally prefer investing money every month in ULIPs that, along with life cover, will eventually give me additional income a few years down the line. Premiums paid are tax free under section 80C and returns are also tax free under section 10(10D). My friends and family too have had good experiences with these products.

I also believe insurance is important as it keeps our valuables and family secure with its comprehensive coverage options, protecting what matters most from a range of uncertainties.

Part-time job or freelancing

An additional job on weekends or freelancing can bring in a lot of extra money. I make some good side income by opting for photography with my basic camera. I started out by clicking a few pictures of my friends and putting those on my social media. Words flew quickly and I started getting leads for weekend assignments. You have no idea how much I enjoy pursuing my hobby that also gives my income a little extra push! All you need to do is identify a marketable skill of yours- such as writing, singing, researching, etc.- and find someone willing to pay you for it! After all, if you’re good at something, why should you do it for free?

There are a lot of ways to increase income. I may get an appraisal tomorrow or find a better-paying job. However, for the moment, taking smart decisions such as budgeting and saving-before-spending money has had a direct impact on my future by allowing me to save more money.

Disclaimer

Unlike traditional products, Unit linked insurance products are subject to market risk, which affect the Net Asset Values and the customer shall be responsible for his/her decision. The names of the Company, Product names or fund options do not indicate their quality or future guidance on returns. Funds do not offer guaranteed or assured returns. For more details on the risk factors, terms and conditions, please read the sales brochure carefully before concluding a sale. L/II/0804/2016-17

About The Author

ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company Limited is one of the leading life insurance companies in India. We provide insurance plans & policies that include a range of products like term insurance, ULIPs, tax saving plans and pension & retirement plans.

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