Ultimate 100-point checklist to save money before 2020 ends

With some discipline and a few creative strategies, you can slash your monthly expenses and significantly boost your savings.

Ultimate 100-point checklist to save money before 2020 ends

2020 has proved to be a year that has forced us to rethink the way we live, our habits, and our priorities. The uncertainty of it all taught us the need to protect everything we have – our loved ones, our well-being, and our money and savings.

Saving money isn’t as difficult as you might think. You don’t need to make any radical changes; rather, it’s the little tweaks that make a huge difference. Even if you implement a few of the tips given below, it will give you a head start and help you better manage your spending and saving habits. Here we go:

1. Make a budget

Drawing up a budget will help you identify what expenses you must prioritise and help eliminate wasteful ones so you can save more. 

2. Cut the cable

With OTT streaming services providing cheaper alternatives to TV channels, consider downgrading your cable subscription or cut it out altogether.

3. Stop collecting and start selling

A great way to make some cash is by decluttering and selling stuff you have hoarded. There are several websites and apps that can help you sell old, unwanted or unnecessary possessions.  

4. Find alternatives to gyms

Instead of paying for a hefty gym membership, work out at home or outdoors. There are plenty of videos available online to guide you. Activities such as playing a sport, running, yoga, Zumba etc. can keep you in shape and don’t cost anything.

5. Unsubscribe from services you don’t use            

Sift through your credit card and bank statements to find recurring charges for services you no longer use and cancel them. It could be a newspaper or magazine subscription or club membership. If the service isn’t providing value, stop paying for it. 

6. Buy staples in bulk

Buy every day, non-perishable grocery items like toiletries and cleaning supplies in bulk. Larger packs are usually priced lower. 

7. Learn to cook 

Learn some quick go-to recipes that you can rotate around the week. Home-cooked food is not only more nutritious and healthy; it’s also more economical.

8. Plan your meals

Planning your meals in advance will prevent relying on last-minute takeaways. If you strategically plan your meals, you can slash your grocery expenses by avoiding wastage. 

9. Eat healthier 

Resolving to eat healthier will save you money that you would have otherwise spent on junk food – which typically costs more than fruits and vegetables. 

10. Rehash leftovers

Add a little twist to leftovers, and you can turn last night’s dinner into the next day’s breakfast or lunch. It is the easiest and quickest way to cut food costs and wastage. 

11. Carry home-cooked lunch to work

You can reduce your monthly food expenses just by packing your lunch from home and carrying it to work. 

12. Don’t skip breakfast

A basic breakfast at home is usually inexpensive. It’s healthy, will keep you full for a long time, and curb your urge to splurge on a lavish lunch or unhealthy mid-day snacks. 

13. Drink more water

Swap sugar-laden beverages for regular water. Drinking a glass of water half an hour before your meal will keep you full, which ultimately means you will order less and save on the food bill. 

14. Make coffee at home

Invest in a coffee-making machine for your own brew instead of an expensive cuppa at the local café.

15. ‘Organic’ is not always healthy

While organic products are often marketed as premium, they might not have any additional health benefits. So, read up and make informed decisions. 

16. Look for free ways to have fun

Whether it’s playing online games and karaoke or binge-watching funny videos online, you don’t always need to spend money to have fun. 

17. Invite friends over for a game-night

Ditch the pubs and restaurants and invite your friends over for a potluck lunch or dinner instead. A game-night at home is more economical than dining out. 

18. Have date nights at home

What’s more romantic than cooking a meal together and catching up on a movie in the privacy of your home? It’s also cheaper than going out. 

19. Celebrate special occasions at home

Birthdays, anniversaries, promotions… special occasions call for celebrations. Instead of heading out, whip up some restaurant-style dishes at home at a fraction of the cost.

20. Stick to your shopping list

Make a list before you go shopping – and more importantly, stick to it. Use only a predetermined amount of cash to buy what you really need.

21. Eat before you go shopping

Shopping on an empty stomach might tempt you to grab a quick snack. To avoid overspending at a fast-food outlet or local eatery, eat before you go shopping. 

22. Buy generic brands 

Generic brands are often just as good but are sold at a lower price. You don’t need to pay a higher price for the same product just because it is marketed well. 

23. Do price comparisons for great deals

Before making a purchase, scout out the best possible deal. Compare prices across websites and stores and get the best bang for your buck. 

24. Shop when a sale is on

You can save big on branded products, including clothes and footwear, by buying them out of season when they are on sale at steep discounts. 

25. Delay your purchase 

Before making a purchase, (set the limit as per your budget and financial situation), wait 30 days. It will help you evaluate if it’s really worth the money and is an effective strategy to avoid impulsive purchases. 

26. Follow the 10-second rule

When you find yourself reaching out for something at a store, ask yourself ‘why do I need this?’ If you can’t come up with an answer in 10 seconds, don’t buy it. 

27. Use coupon codes when shopping online 

Make sure you search for coupon codes before you click on checkout. You can use an aggregator website online to get new coupon codes.

28. Invest in insurance 

Invest in the common types of insurance such as health, motor and home. While you will have to pay a premium every month, it will definitely be lesser than the out-of-pocket costs you will have to pay in case of a mishap.

29. Don’t window shop

Casual browsing can hurt your wallet. Store windows are packed with temptations and lure you into spending on things you don’t need. Steer clear of the mall unless you really need to buy something. 

30. Use cash more often 

It is easier to overspend when using plastic money. You are more likely to stick to your budget while paying with physical cash. 

31. Remove your credit/debit card details from e-commerce websites

Sometimes all it takes to avoid making an online purchase is the effort of getting up and fetching your card to enter its details. Simply delete your card from that e-commerce account. 

32. Take advantage of credit card perks and offers

If you use your credit card wisely, you can enjoy savings from perks like cashback, deals, and discounts. 

33. Learn to dress smart

Fashion trends change quickly. Instead of spending on clothes that you're not likely to wear more than once, invest in some basic, classic pieces that you can mix and match to create multiple outfits and look your stylish best. 

34. Repair your old clothes

Don’t give away slightly worn clothes. Learn how to sew and mend clothing to get more use out of them. 

35. Groom yourself at home

Buy your own products and groom yourself at home. Once you learn how easy and cost-efficient self-grooming is, you’ll think twice before splurging at a beauty salon. 

36. Buy multipurpose products

Household items and products that can be used for many more purposes than just the one they’re designed for will save you quite a lot of money.

37. Visit the library

Save money on books by borrowing from a library or swap books with your friends. 

38. Commute on foot

Walk to nearby places or anywhere you can. Not only is it beneficial for your health and the environment, but you will also save a lot on transportation. 

39. Take public transport

Public transport systems are not just efficient, annual and monthly passes for mass public transportation are also inexpensive.

40. Carpool more often

Share transportation costs with your neighbours or colleagues by carpooling to work and to take your kids to school. 

41. Buy a pre-owned vehicle

Due to depreciation, a new vehicle loses a significant part of its value the moment you drive it out of the showroom. Buying a pre-owned car that suits your needs would serve as better value for money.

42. Buy a fuel-efficient car

A car that gives good mileage will save you a lot on fuel charges. 

43. Drive strategically

Accelerating slowly, using cruise control, and anticipating the need to brake are good driving habits that help save fuel and extend the life of your car.

44. Ride a bicycle

If practical, invest in a bicycle. It’s a quick and healthy way to get around and is absolutely free. 

45. Quit smoking

Quit smoking NOW. Not only will you be doing your health a favour, but it can make a huge difference to your financial health as well. 

46. Embrace frugality

Find creative ways to save money around the house with simple hacks. For instance: use reusable dish towels instead of disposable ones. Recycle empty jam jars and containers to store things. 

47. Invest in energy-efficient appliances 

They might be slightly more expensive at first, but they last longer and the high cost will be offset by reduced electricity charges.

48. Service the AC yourself

Learn to clean the air filter, vacuum debris, check for obstructions to airflow, and straighten bent fins. These jobs are relatively easy and you will save money on repairs, while increasing the life of your AC.

49. Cut your landline 

With talk-time being so affordable and almost everyone owning a mobile phone, there’s no reason to pay for a rarely used landline if you’re trying to save money. 

50. Turn off the lights

The simple rule is: switch off the light when not in use, and every time you leave a room. Turning off the lights when you have enough sunlight will keep your electricity bill low. 

51. Install LED lights

You can cut your electric bill by replacing traditional incandescent bulbs with LED lights. They can last years and consume up to 75% less power. 

52. Set your AC to the optimal temperature

Don’t chill your room and take refuge under a blanket. The ideal temperature is 24°C, which keeps rooms comfortable, reduces power consumption and lowers your energy bill. 

53. Summer-proof your home

Minimise AC usage in the summer by drawing the curtains to prevent overheating and ensure there is adequate ventilation through windows. 

54. Use a smart surge protector 

Even when they’re off, electronics use energy as long as they are plugged in. Use a smart surge protector to control the energy flow and save on electricity charges. 

55. Line-dry your clothes 

Rather than drying clothes in an energy-sapping dryer, dry them in natural light. Air-drying will save energy costs and help clothes last longer.

56. Do holiday shopping after the holidays

Buy items such as decorations and gift packs after the holidays – they are sold at heavy discounts as retailers try to get rid of the excess stock. Store them for use during the next holiday season. 

57. Unsubscribe from tempting store emails

Unsubscribe from store emails you might have signed up for, or send them to a different folder. This out-of-sight, out-of-mind approach can help you resist the temptation to buy. 

58. Learn to fix things yourself

Why pay for minor repairs when you can do them yourself by simply following YouTube tutorials? Just make sure you have some basic tools handy.

59. Rent out unused space in your house

If you have a spare bedroom or extra space, renting it out is an excellent way to offset some housing costs and earn some money. 

60. Keep an eye out for deals

You can look at newspapers or social media for sales on groceries, electronics or other items that will help you save more. If you find out about it in advance, you can even plan your spending strategically.

61. Go the DIY way

If there’s a reasonable DIY alternative, try it out to save some money. There are many useful sites you can use as inspiration to hone your DIY skills. 

62. Borrow and barter

Buying things you only need to use once or rarely can be a waste of money. Ask around to see if someone you know has what you need and can lend it to you. 

63. Sign up for customer loyalty programs

If you visit some stores often, sign up for their customer loyalty programs to avail of offers, discounts, deals, and coupons. It’s a great way to save money on your regular expenses. 

64. Shop at discount and thrift stores

Discount and thrift stores are a goldmine for buying everyday products and knick-knacks like grooming accessories, stationery, party supplies, etc. at cheaper costs. 

65. Make gifts instead of buying

Whether it’s baking a cake or simply offering your time to help out loved ones, the most thoughtful gifts need not cost a lot.

66. Introduce your kids to hand-me-downs

Hand-me-downs are a cost-effective option for things like toys and clothes that your children are likely to outgrow quickly. 

67. Avoid stress spending 

Indulging in retail therapy when stressed is rarely a good idea for your bank account. Practice more effective stress management techniques such as meditation, exercise, or yoga. 

68. Lower banking fees

Banks usually offer incentives on opening an account. Park your funds in one that charges zero banking fees.

69. Improve your credit score

A good credit score will get you a lower interest rate on loans. Even a small difference can amount to large savings in the long run. 

70. Transfer balances 

Consider moving your credit card debt onto a 0% balance transfer credit card and pay off the debt as soon as possible. 

71. Open a high-interest savings account

Get the most from your savings account with a bank that offers a high-interest rate. 

72. Switch to term insurance

A good term insurance plan offers adequate coverage and a host of benefits and is often more affordable than a traditional life insurance policy. 

73. Buy second-hand

Used items in mint condition can save you a lot when compared to buying them brand-new.

74. Automate your savings

Save before spending. Have a percentage of your income automatically transferred to a savings account each payday. 

75. Automate your bill payments

You can avoid late payment fees and save money by automating bill payments. This will also improve your credit rating. 

76. Earn cashback

Use UPI apps to make payments and maximise your savings by earning cashback on groceries and other online shopping payments.

77. Redeem credit card reward points 

Check if your credit card offers reward points (most do) and redeem them for discounts on movie tickets, concerts, and travel-related expenses like airfare, hotels, etc. 

78. Save loose change 

Dust out your old piggy bank and put all your spare change in it. These small savings will grow over time. 

79. Set saving goals 

When you assign a purpose to your savings, it becomes easier to save, keeps your spending in check, and prevents you from straying from your goal. 

80. Involve family and friends

Encourage your family and friends to join you in your mission to save money. It will not only make saving fun; you will also have someone to hold you accountable. 

81. Save cash windfalls

Use any extra cash received in the form of tax refunds, bonuses, gifts, commissions, inheritance, etc. to build an emergency fund. 

82. Say no to debt 

Refuse to accumulate debt and learn to prioritise your spending, else you might find monthly interest payments eating into your savings.

83. Pay off high-interest debt

Before you consider saving or investing, pay off credit card debt and avoid hefty charges. 

84. Learn to negotiate

From fruits and vegetables to electronics, you can save on a lot of products and services with some good negotiating skills. 

85. Plant a small garden

Grow vegetables and herbs in your balcony or window to save money. It will also make your space appear lively. 

86. Practice gratitude

Once you realise you have a lot to be thankful for, you will be less inclined to spend money on unnecessary things.

87. Keep a tab on free events in your city

Check your local paper for any free events that you might be interested in instead of paying to enter. 

88. Avoid travelling during peak-season

You can save on your travel plans by travelling off-season. You will find that local prices are lower, apart from cheaper ticket prices and hotel rooms.

89. Plan vacations early

Last-minute fares are usually high, so make bookings well in advance. Planning early will also give you time to save enough money to fund your holiday. 

90. Explore nearby places

Instead of spending a lot of money on long-distance travel, explore places in your area that can be easily accessed by road or a short train ride. It can be incredibly cheap, but just as enjoyable. 

91. Visit neighbourhood parks

Parks are a great place to enjoy nature. Pack a picnic lunch, bike around, go for a hike, or camp out with your friends and family and make a fun day of it without spending much. 

92. Cut down on your meat consumption

Since meat tends to cost more than vegetarian options, you can save a lot of money by reducing the number of days on which you consume meat.

93. Redeem parking receipts wherever possible

A lot of malls and department stores let you redeem your car parking charges against your purchases. These small savings can add up. 

94. Carry your own shopping bags

Bring your own shopping bag, so you don’t have to pay for them at stores. It might not save a lot, but every little bit counts when finances are tight. 

95. Do your household chores

Household chores like cleaning the house, scrubbing toilets, and doing the dishes may require you to spend some time but can save you money that you might otherwise pay to professional cleaners.

96. Don’t overspend on hygiene products 

When it comes to soaps, toothpaste, detergents, etc., inexpensive brands may work just as well as the more expensive ones if you use them regularly and correctly.

97. Help your friends and neighbours 

Whether it’s fixing something, gardening, or even babysitting, helping your neighbours will encourage them to help you if you’re in a tight spot.

98. Avail employee benefits

Check with your company for any perks attached to your job. You could get free access to events, educational classes, and an optional employee match on some retirement funds to maximise your money. 

99. Ask; don’t assume

While we assume that a lot of fees and charges are non-negotiable, they are not. Sometimes, the simple act of asking for a reduction or waiver can work!

100. Don’t beat yourself up

You’re only human. Don’t beat yourself up if you make a poor financial choice. Learn from your mistake and keep moving ahead.

 

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