Here are a handful of household hints which might seem to originate from the 80s but hold a lot of value even today.
1. Dont pay for the packaging: Buying half a kilo of curd costs double the cost of buying milk and setting the curd. In Indian weather curd sets overnight make sense to buy milk.
2. Milk in tetrapacks is much more expensive than the milk you get in sachets. Tetrapacks work when your only use for milk is to whiten your tea.
3. Buy seasonal: Vegetables like peas are almost four times more expensive when they are bought off season. In India you have veggies for different seasons.
4. Avoid juices/aerated drinks: You may not realise it now but the sugared fruit juices with preservatives and aerated drinks are doing more damage to you than you imagine. Lemonade, green tea and chaas are good for the wallet and the budget.
5. Cross cultures: The advantage of living in a city is that you can pick the best from different cultures when it comes to food. Procesed food and ordered meals may seem convenient but are not really. Considering buying idli dosa batter, khakras or theplas for reduced effort in cooking. They are healthier and easier on your wallet.
6. Clothes: Buy good quality but never pay full price. You will always get an option to buy them at half the rack rates. But you need to recognise a genuine sale as against a clearance of useless stuff. Also buy clothes that you can be machine washed.
7. Mobile phones: Go for a pre-paid plan. Pre-paid plans are easier to design on your own. You can buy an sms pack and an annual data pack that will allow you to do everything that you want on your phone for less than Rs 500 a month.
8. Television: Can appreciate opting for data plan. But television is still the cheapest and most dependable form of entertainment. Prices of televisions have really come down and one year DTH packs are available at really low costs. Watching TV is more social than watching the computer.
9. Environment friendly: Whether it comes to carrying a bag for groceries and vegetables or carrying a water bottle you are doing a lot to save the environment.
10. Repair v/s replace: This does not hold true for electronics. But for most other things this holds true. If you buy something make sure you either use it up fully, wear it out completely, make it do, or do without. In India you will find people who can repair most things or fabricate broken parts.
11. Online: There are some utilities which give a discount if you pay bills online. Register yourself with bill aggregators like Visa Bill Pay India using your visa debit card to pay all bills with one click. You will get email reminders and will never have to pay a penalty on a delayed bill.
12. Make lists: Keep a to do/ purchase list stuck to the kitchen refrigerator with a magnet. This will help you do your weekly purchase and combine activities so that you save on time.
13: Travel plans: If it is just the two of you travelling, you can make the best of discounts by travelling immediately after vacations end or by travelling off season. Decide at the beginning of the year whether you would like to travel and make elaborate plans so that you can do it on a shoe string budget. More fun that way when you are young.
14: Nurture your interests: If you love reading books or listening to good music develop your interests. This is what will give you the greatest joy when you find that you have time for yourself. You not need to buy a lot of books or purchase an expensive music system. You can hook your computer to low-cost ampli speakers. These days there are many low-cost options available for books as well.
Finally, savings do not automatically translate into wealth. You need to put the money you set aside into a good systematic investment plan with a mutual fund to ensure that you do not lose money to inflation. Also when you are young your focus needs to be on advancing your career rather than settling down in a job. The future is bright and you will have a lot of opportunities coming your way. All the best.