Archive for the ‘Money Saving’ Category
#1. Evaluate phone charges.
Thanks to the perpetually skyrocketing roaming call and data charges, one of the most exorbitant bills you pay after a business trip is your phone bill. An intelligent way to tackle this problem is to buy a local SIM card every time you visit a new place where you are likely to spend a substantial amount of time. By cutting down on roaming charges, you’ll save a LOT of money by paying for only local outgoing call charges. As far as internet data charges are concerned, the best advice I can give you is to use Wi-Fi. Mostly all airports and hotels now offer free Wi-Fi services, so this shouldn’t be a problem. Finish as much work as possible using the Wi-Fi connections at these places; it’ll drastically reduce your costs later on.
#2. Carry enough reading material.
This may look like a weird, quite unconventional a tip that may not really be of any help, but before you jump the gun, hold your horses. Think about it, don’t we usually end up buying a magazine or a book at the airport in order to keep ourselves entertained throughout the journey? While working on the flight is a good option to finish pending work, sometimes you only want to unwind. Instead of spending a few dollars here on reading material at the airport, load a few articles, books, and even movies on your cell phone. This way, you won’t add to your luggage and your expenses.
#3. Say yes to public transport.
By using the public transport in any city, you can further reduce your business travel expense exponentially. How does this work? Seek details of the area of your travel for the day from the hotel reception. Ask them to provide commutation details, such as modes, alternative routes, and approximate charges. This way, you can cut back on almost 80% of your commutation costs when compared to the amount you would have to shell out for a cab. If the hotel doesn’t have these details, use Google Maps. It’s one of the best apps for such kind of information. You might pay for Internet data charges, but they’ll still be lesser than the cab fare you would be required to pay.
#4. Lookout for deals.
There are a million travel deals you can tap and cash in on if you keep an eye out for them. The best and most profitable of the lot is the frequent-flyer program (FFP). Almost every airline, old and new, offers this loyalty program. Under this, you become entitled to several discounts, privileges, and offers, especially if you fly quite often. The best places to find these deals are airline magazines. Always go through these magazines, usually kept in the seat pocket in front of you, and you’ll be surprised to find some of the best deals you’ve ever come across. Apart from this, you can also apply for a debit/credit card that has a tie-up with an airline.
#5. Never fall prey to luggage fees.
The most unforgivable mistake you can make is to create situations to pay luggage fees. It’s not always possible to weigh your luggage at the last minute, but it’s always possible to save a lot of money in this area by being a smart packer. Business trips don’t need much luggage and there are a few tips you can follow to reduce your luggage just in case you’re combining meetings or planning on a long trip. You already know how you need to replace magazines and books with eMagazines and eBooks. In a similar way, cut down on multiple gadgets and instead carry one that functions as an all-in-one cell phone, music player, tablet, camera, and laptop. Apart from these, don’t carry too many clothes, food items, and/or stationery. Calculate the number of days you are going to spend at a place and pack the exact number of clothes in keeping with your itinerary. Fill the empty spaces inside your shoes with jewelry, socks, handkerchiefs to save on space. Keep things as minimal and compact as possible.
#6. Go for rooms with kitchens, not minibars.
Though a business trip may not give you time to cook, it’s advised that you pick hotels that have rooms with kitchens. This way, you can cook your own meals even if you choose to make just an omelet. Minibars seem tempting; all you have to do is open the door and serve yourself. However, bills that come with the usage of minibars are usually far from attractive and highly inflated. Items available at a minibar are always charged at a higher price, sometimes as much as 30% more. A room with a kitchen will also enable you to save the money you would otherwise spend on eating out. By choosing this option, you can work, eat, and rest in just one place.
#7. Befriend locals.
The best people to help you when visiting another city are not guides or agencies, but locals. They know the city the best and have no hidden motives; they don’t gain or lose anything by cheating you. They’re the best people to approach when you need help with directions, prices, or suggestions. Just by asking a local for something as simple as directions, you save on Internet charges by not using apps, on money you may end up spending while commuting via wrong or longer routes, and in the end, time – the most crucial element while on a business trip. They also come to your aid when you’re looking for inexpensive places to eat, relax, or work.
#8. Club trips to save thousands.
Most of the time, an executive travels to a specific place to work with a specific set of clients. In such cases, it is always advised to combine trips. For example, if you’re meeting a client in Italy, you might as well make arrangements to meet another one in Spain right after your schedule in Italy. Imagine the amount of money you will be shelling out if you go to Italy, come back to your original country of work, and then fly out to Spain again! You can actually save yourself a lot of money by avoiding at least two extra to and fro trips by planning your travel smartly. This not only applies to places that are located in the same geographical area but also to places that are halfway around one potential business area. For example, if you have to travel from India to France, you might as well also plan meetings in New York and finish it off at one go. This way, you can save thousands. By planning multiple meetings in the same city, you save on both traveling and staying costs. The basic tip is to get maximum work done in one single trip in order to economically use financial resources in the best possible manner. Of course, it is not always possible to club your trips because the schedule of different clients may not always match. The point is to try and schedule trips in such a manner as frequently as practicable.
#9. Understand taxes and use them to your benefit.
Taxes levied on income from any source are waived off to a specified extent when certain stipulated types of investments/expenditure made can be shown. Travel expenses are one of them. Though only a portion is eligible to be waived off, the sum still amounts to quite a lot. So, educating yourself about how these benefits can be reaped optimally can result in saving money in the long run. Similarly, a lot of things come with additional taxes while an individual is traveling. These include food at the airport (sometimes), items at the minibar, services like laundry in a hotel, etc. Though a person learns more about these from experience, it’s good to at least know the basics in theory.
#10. Look out for opportunities to make multiple bookings together.
Always remember that there are certain advantages and incentives of booking more than one ticket, especially in flights. It is always better to book tickets together in order to avail group discounts. This way, your company poses as a potential customer to the airline – a reason why they’ll always offer you certain privileges that they won’t offer other passengers. A company is a more respected entity with a higher brand value and credibility score than an individual in the eyes of airlines, hotels, and other business houses. A company is always more trustworthy than an individual. Also, in many ways, having your company as a client works in the favor of these houses when it comes to building their own brand value.
It’s very easy to save money while traveling for business. Think twice before you spend. It is a common observation that we tend to shell out a lot of extra cash when traveling primarily because there is no time to evaluate and understand how little things can contribute to unnecessary expenditure. Sometimes, we also opt for convenience by throwing money at a problem instead of racking our brains over tiny little details due to lack of time. These tips for saving money on business travel and a little prior planning will not only reduce your overall expenses but also help you to travel smarter in future. Believe it or not, a few smart choices in the beginning will lead to your paying fewer bills later on.
– Expenses: The money we spend on things we need
– Necessities: Things that we absolutely cannot live without [the bare minimum include food, clothing, shelter (and today, the Internet)]
– Luxuries: Things we can or cannot afford, but still end up spending on, simply because we have the means – plastic money
– Debt: What we find ourselves in because we cannot (or do not want to) decipher the difference between necessities and luxuries
– Financial Crisis: What happens when our debts continue to mount due to excessive spending on luxuries
– Breakdown (Financial, Emotional and possibly Physical): The result of ever-increasing debt and no means to repay it
This is the probable series of events that you may find yourself in if you’re among the millions who have the question, “Where did all the money go?” on their minds at the end of the month, or use “What are credit cards for!” as a retort when asked why they want to buy that unnecessary scarf or golf club. It may seem very harsh and insensitive to say it, but the truth is that most of us avoid facing the reality of the dire straits that our financial lives are in. We want to seem like we have it all figured out, but the truth is that we’re in denial. We deny that we have a spending problem. We deny that we don’t like to plan our finances. We deny that we buy stuff we don’t really need. We also deny that we need help. All that ends today! Thanks to the Envelope System that’s been brought into the spotlight by Dave Ramsey, you can learn to have your finances control you rather than you letting them flow down the drain (read: swiping that piece of plastic ever so frequently). Here are the simple steps that you need to follow for a frugal, yet fruitful living. You’ll need:
– Envelopes (number depends on items mentioned in step 1)
– Pen or pencil
Fix a Budget
The word ‘budget’ has come to have such negative connotations that people simply don’t want to use it anymore. A budget is “the money that is available to a person … and a plan of how it will be spent over a period of time”, as per the Oxford Dictionary. It’s a seemingly harmless, yet extremely loaded word. The first step towards managing your spending is having a plan of how much money you have and how you need to spend it, not intend to spend it. How to do this? First, in the notepad, make a note of the amount of money that is due to come in. Using this as a base, make a list of all the assured expenses you have until the next inflow of money. For instance, your income is USD XYZ. From this XYZ, subtract fixed expenses, like mortgage/rent, food, cable, fees, phone, and other bills, etc. If these figures are not fixed, take an upper limit and write it against the item.
Make Envelopes for Each (Fixed) Item
Once you have the breakdown of the expenses, you have to physically divide the money into different sections. Then pick out an envelope for each item. Write the name of the item on the back of the envelope along with the amount of money you’re putting in it. Put only the allotted money into the envelope. Repeat for all items on the list and keep these aside.
Make One for Emergencies and Contingencies
Your son hurts himself and you have to rush to the ER; your car breaks down and you need to have it towed―you can never predict when such things will happen. Hence, it is important to keep some money aside for them. So, mark another envelope for emergencies, and put the assigned amount into it.
Keep Some Fun Money Aside
After deducting the amount assigned to emergencies, whatever money remains, you take a call on how much you want to keep aside for yourself, just for fun. You may find your dream purse or the perfect tool kit on sale! Don’t let a money management plan get in your way. Keep an amount aside for such opportunities right at the start, so you know that you can afford it, thus, avoiding the guilt that accompanies impulse shopping. What if the amount assigned is insufficient for this dream purchase? Simple, don’t buy it!
The success of the Envelope System is solely in your hands. The key to making it work is resisting the temptation to overspend. The whole point of assigning an amount to every single thing that you could possibly spend on is to make sure that you don’t overshoot that amount. So, once an envelope is empty, you know that you cannot afford to spend more money on that particular item. If the money’s gone, it’s gone. Do NOT steal from another envelope, not even the emergencies and contingencies one (unless the situation you’re in fits your description of an emergency or contingency).
Make Way for Savings
If you do abide by all the steps given above, chances that you’ll have some money to spare are more than high. How? Well, let’s see:
✔ When you allot a budget to yourself, you’re making a promise to yourself that you won’t spend more than that much on an item.
✔ As a result, you begin to pay more attention to whether you actually need the item.
✔ If yes, the next thing you look for is whether there are inexpensive alternatives available.
✔ If yes, then great! If no, then you’ll begin to look for items that you’ve included in the list, but can be postponed for the time being.
✔ Thus, you have already budgeted that amount to the item for the next cycle (so don’t forget to add this amount there).
When you do this for everything, you’ll realize how much extra money you spend on things that you think you need, but don’t.
Be honest with yourself when using this system and you’ll see that its effectiveness lies in its freakish simplicity. You allot money to an item, you use it on that item, you keep some aside for a rainy day, and have fun with some. That’s all there is to it. Don’t be discouraged if this stringent method doesn’t work its magic instantly. Give it a couple of months, and you’ll surely reap its rewards!
As you can see, a budget traveler’s demands clearly are quite budgeted. He doesn’t yearn for a seven course meal at Maxim’s, neither does he think of staying at The Dorchester. If you’re thinking along the same lines, we’ve got you a set of tips that will help you enjoy Europe in all its glory, at a fraction of the cost.
5 Ideas to Save Money on Your European Vacation
Time Your Trip Well
– Give the summer a miss.
You actually imagine yourself spending a gorgeous summer in Europe, with the sun shining down, and the perfect weather. Unfortunately, so does the rest of the world, which is why it is rather costly to be on this continent from June to September. As far as air travel is concerned, you might mistakenly assume that booking on a weekday will always come at a cheaper fare. The cost of your plane ticket depends not only on the day you travel, but also the time of your flight, the layover time (if applicable), and your carrier. Therefore, pay close attention to all these factors while booking your ticket. For all you know, you may get an excellent deal over the weekend as well. Another misconception goes that travel agents can get you lower rates owing to the fact that they book in bulk. But frankly, they earn their profits from commissions paid by you, when you book through them to avail “discounts”. Your best bet, therefore, remains to contact the airlines and the hostels/hotels directly.
+ Choose to go off-season instead.
Planning the holiday during the off season, say early winter or spring does have a lot more perks than you’d imagine. First, it’s obviously cheap. Second, you won’t encounter the jostling crowds. Third, you’ll welcome the slight nip in the air, as the European summer gets sweltering each year. Fourth, airlines give you humble fares and upgrades. Fifth, rooms are available at throwaway prices. Are you getting the drift?
Plan with Precision
– Resist the lazing.
You’re tempted to go with the flow and explore Europe at a languid pace. It sure sounds nice when you have a wad of cash stashed in your pocket. But if you’re looking to save money, you will have to give a miss to the aimless wandering.
+ Go for efficiency.
You’d rather plan, as this will allow you to fix an itinerary, and make use of the wonder that is Eurail. They offer some amazing deals on the cheap, so you don’t have to be constantly worrying about how you’re going to travel on the continent. Also, try to book night journeys for long distances, as it will save you time, and cut down on the staying expense. Many of you trying to save money may also consider hitchhiking as an option. Though quite unreliable, it will take you from one place to the other at a minimal cost. Keep in mind that when you’re hitchhiking, you can’t afford to have a fixed itinerary in place. Always remember not to be very rigid with your itinerary, as you will find cheaper options to travel within the continent as you go along.
Save on the Stay
– Chain hotels are getting cheaper, you know!
Sure, they are. But what they cut on rates, they add in taxes, so the best thing would be to avoid them. You don’t really need to pay USD 50 a night to get a mint chocolate on your pillow, do you?
+ Think B&Bs, house sitting, YMCA, hostels, and the lot.
The best thing about Europe is the sheer number of staying options it has for budget conscious travelers. Family-run hotels are quite cozy and clean, and they come with the added advantage of interacting with the locals, who will be quite willing to offer more tips on saving money. If you choose to shack at any of the hostels, ensure that you book in advance, and be sure of the facilities before you land there. Talk to someone who’s lived there before, to get an accurate idea of the living conditions.
Know About the Freebies
– Freebies are only aimed at students.
True, a lot of them are indeed for students. For instance, students can avail passes which lets them get inside museums and attraction for almost nothing. But that’s not to say that there isn’t anything for the slightly older ones.
+ We’re talking city cards, bus passes, and more!
Europe thrives on tourism, so it is only fair that they discount it a bit. Several of Europe’s biggest attractions including London, Paris, Rome, Berlin, and Madrid offer passes that let you travel on the cheap using public transport. They also have city cards that give you discounts on entrance fees at monuments and museums. Some even offer discounted meal tickets. Check the tourism websites for individual cities to know more about such offers.
Go for Cheap Chow
– So much to see, and so much to eat!
Both of which can be quite expensive. Being a tourist, you’re bound to hover in the touristy areas, and you’d obviously be tempted to grab a bite at the fancy places that surround you. But don’t.
+ You can revel in the deliciousness for less.
Most European towns have market places that sell fresh produce like fruit, breads, and even roasted meats. Of course, these won’t cost you a fortune. It also lets you savor the region’s cuisine and flavors to your heart’s content. Quaint little restaurants and cafes situated away from busy areas also offer a homely experience. And before I forget, European chocolatiers are quite generous as well, so enjoy the sampling before you make your purchase.
Saving money on your European vacation involves doing stuff that takes a detour from all things conventional, but is worth it. But don’t be so hung up on saving money, that you compromise on having a fabulous trip in Europe. Don’t forget to have a great time while you’re there.
It is simple logic! Cut down all the unnecessary expenses and soon, you will be saving much more money. A good idea to do this is to prepare a list of items that you need before you set out shopping and then stick to the list! If you are staying at a bigger flat, consider renting a smaller one. Likewise, cut on your telephone bill, entertainment expenses, give up any membership of a club or a gym that you have but not used for ages, keep only one credit card, etc.
Inculcate the habit of making a budget every month, listing all your expenses and incomes. During budgeting, ensure that you save at least fifteen percent of all your income. This way, you will know that you have only an X amount of money to spend, as the rest has to be saved for the future.
If plastic money has made shopping convenient and safe, its biggest drawback is that we do not think twice before buying something which is way beyond our means. To save more money, it is suggested that you make most of your payments through cash. This will ensure that you do not buy something for which you don’t have immediate cash available, thus saving a lot of money for you, which you would have otherwise paid as interest on credit card installments.
Cook at Home
One of the ways to save extra money is to cook and eat food at home. If you ever calculate the amount that you spend on eating out, you will be amazed that collectively it runs in thousands of dollars per month. So one of the tips for saving money and also for a healthier and hygienic diet, start cooking on your own at home!
Another money saving tip is to shop from places where you get discounts and good deals. You can buy grocery in bulk and look out for discounts when you buy clothes. You can even get good deals in thrift stores, yard sales, stock clearance, garage sales, second-hand goods shops, end-of-season sales. Websites such as e-bay offer a cheaper and convenient alternative for buying stuff. Also, stop impulsive shopping; do not buy stuff you want but don’t need.
Save on Electricity
By conserving energy, you are cutting your expenses and at the same time contributing to save the environment from global warming. Make sure you switch off the lights, fans, TV and all other electric appliances when not in use. Buy energy efficient electrical appliances, use devices which operate on solar energy, lower the thermostat in your house by two degrees during winter season, and raise it by two degrees during the summer season.
Use Public Transport
A good idea is to travel by public transport. If the distance to be covered is less, you can even walk down, instead of spending money on filling gas in your vehicle.
If you feel that you need to save much more than what you are doing right now, supplement your current income by taking a part-time job. You can even think of making more money by starting your own home based business.
Investing wisely is very important so that the money does not lie wasted in bank accounts. Cut down on your expenses and increase your avenues of income generation, and invest wisely in real estate and long-term schemes for a safer future.
You must be having some common or different goals which both of you would like to materialize. Then, be it getting married (if you’re not already), possessing a house, bearing kids, or doing a Master’s degree in any particular field. Share these individual or joint goals with each other, fix a time frame for each goal, and plan accordingly to know how much money you need to save.
Maintain a catalog of your daily expenses and keep track of it for over a month. Then compare your total expenditure with your total income, and verify whether you’re living according to your means. By maintaining an open communication, this strategy will help you to come up with a cost saving plan, by cutting off unnecessary expenses, thus retaining savings for the future.
Avoid falling in a debt trap, and if you’re already in it, make sure your topmost priority is to repay the debt(s). It may not be possible always, but it will help in the long run if you save enough cash to buy something expensive, rather than buying it on credit or through a loan.
So what if you’re not old enough! If you want to continue your lifestyle the way it is now, you’re going to have to consider how to pay for it when you retire. A pension plan serves as a medium to fiscal stability after retirement. The earlier you start, the better it is for your retirement.
Use energy efficient light bulbs like CFL or LED. They last for many years and consume less amount of electricity. Unplug your appliances (TV, washing machine) when not in use to avoid vampire power usage. To protect your electronic appliances from a power surge, keep them plugged into a surge protector.
In this digital age, most of us like to chat. In addition to chatting, smartphone Apps such as WhatsApp, Viber, or Skype allow a cheap or free calling facility, provided the person you want to talk to is also online. This helps in cutting down on those telephone bills. But do mind your Internet data allowance first.
A host of websites help in switching your old items, like a mobile, camcorder, or TV for cash. You can sell your old item for a certain price online, which acts as a marketplace for used goods, ranging from furniture to electronic items. This option also assists in releasing the pressure off your mind in cleaning out your closet of old or unused items.
While it may look tempting to go to that fancy restaurant or movie at the mall, they can also pinch your savings. Look for cost affordable options instead, like hiking or picnicking at a nearby scenic location, planning a dinner, movie night, or a game night (cards, Scrabble); the choices are limitless.
A joint account can make finance handling easier and also fortifies trust in a partnership. You can make the most of your money by consolidating expenses. Talk about it at length and make certain that both of you are comfortable with this option.
Relationships are fragile no matter how much effort you invest in them, and when money comes into picture, it does some irreparable damage for sure. You’d rather preserve your friendship and family ties and go in for a bank loan.
“You only live once” is a motto that’s very popular among the young generation. The motto means enjoy every day of your life, even if it demands taking huge risks. However, when it comes to expenditure, be strict with yourself because wrong decisions made during your twenties can ruin everything for you. As you sail from your 20s to your 30s, you want to look back with pride for saving on some money. So what if you have to be foresighted early on and be more conscientious? You’ll realize the benefits of it all only afterwards. So, take our word as we roll out some major money mistakes to avoid in your 20s.
Many youngsters enter college just because they have to! What’s more, many are already weighed down by massive student loans that have to be carried forward for god knows how long. Sometimes, you may tend to choose the wrong field and waste all the money.
➨ Do this instead: If you are confused over your future educational course of action, may be take the year off by doing a job, and during that time, do the much-needed thinking. You’d rather want to take a decision while making some money for yourself, rather than wasting more money on your college education and classes that you really aren’t even interested in. Also, you could check some options for scholarships or grants rather than being in the burden of the loan.
Well guys, this one’s straight and simple: unnecessary usage of credit cards for all your purchases can soon lead to debts. We understand that there’s this constant urge to spend on clothes, cars, or even partying. But, this is the real test for you, so save it.
➨ Do this instead: Limit yourself to one credit card and make use of its cash rewards. Pay for only what can be afforded at the moment and make timely credit card payments. You can enjoy but put an end to useless spending. Just buy what you need, and not what you want!
Fail to set a monthly budget for your expenses and you soon could be spiraling down, heading towards debt, or maybe living paycheck to paycheck.
Just because you are in your twenties you don’t need a fancy car. C’mon! What’s the point in showing off your wealth by driving a car and later being burdened by the car insurance and the interest rate on the car loan? Your happiness of owning a car may just be short-lived.
➨ Do this instead: If you have planned your expenses well, and have saved some money regularly, it’s okay to afford a car. But don’t invest in a lavish one because along with the car comes the maintenance, plus you have the insurance and loan that comes in the whole package. If you think wisely, urban areas are not short of van pools and decent bus services. Use these services until the time is right to buy a new car.
This is the worst mistake you can commit, fellas. Period.
➨ Do this instead: We know, it is pretty early for twenty-somethings to plan for retirement, but eyeing an early investment in the form of Roth IRA is always a wise thing to do. Plus, the money you save, big or small, may later be beneficial when you need it the most. So, curtailing certain expenses can come to your rescue sooner than you know. You could begin with an emergency fund too. It’s simple. Set aside USD 1,000 to begin with every month; this goes into the emergency fund. Do this for 3 to 6 months after which you can raise the bar depending on your expenses/loans. It’ll help you navigate through rough weather.
Marrying too early when you aren’t even sensible enough to save up on money can set a couple reeling under huge expenses instead of leading a life of harmony. And if you have a child too soon, child-rearing costs are gonna make you spend sleepless nights. Oh, well, another damaging mistake people commit is going in for an expensive wedding.
➨ Do this instead: We know, you may be head over heels and dying to settle down. But hastily making such a decision can lead you into trouble. Don’t let your heart rule over your head. Wait for a bit before you take the plunge. Debt from a wedding is that last thing you have on mind; you’d rather soak in wedded bliss. An expensive wedding is not equivalent to a successful marriage, so you can curtail expenses and still make it a memorable one.
You are a life after all, and moreover, not unshakable, mind you. Not insuring yourself or your property might make you repent for it later on.
➨ Do this instead: You may come across situations that are uncalled-for, such as surgery or any other medical emergency, ambulance fee, replacing personal items following a break-in, etc. We never know what might befall us. Look around for competitive rates, then check your budget, and get yourself and your property insured soon.