It’s pretty common for a lot of young working individuals to live alone these days, and this often adds to a lot of outflow and too little savings. Here are ways in which you can save while living alone in India.
With unconventional jobs and a lot of business hubs developing in certain parts of the country, a lot of young professionals travel to different cities and stay there due to employment opportunities. This often leads to bad money management and bad savings habits, which in turn defeats the purpose of living alone for your job in the first place. A major reason why someone opts for living alone in another city is that they have a well paying job and it’s a compromise they make to live alone and make money for themselves and for their families. But what is the use if this leaves you broke at the end of the month? If you really want to justify living alone, make sure you have some savings that are with you even when you have met your monthly expenses and sent some money back home etc.
I often come across people at my workplace and otherwise who live alone, enjoy life to the fullest, and are broke at the end of the month and go bankrupt if the salary is deposited late to their account due to some bank holiday or other reason. I then wonder why these guys don’t save on the most obvious things when they know they are alone. While it is tough to live alone and curb all your expenses as you are the one to pay for your own things, unlike when you live with your family where the expenses are shared by different family members, there are still things you can do to save money while living alone in India.
10 Tips to save money when living alone:
1. Save, Send, Invest then Spend: As with all other savings tips, even while living alone, save first, then send some money back home if they need the cash it will be handy for them to meet their monthly expenses. Even in case your family is well off and does not need your money for now, still send it and tell them to invest it for you. This way you save here, as well as save it back home. This dual savings should be periodically invested and forgotten about. This can very well be your contingency fund for emergencies or just a foundation of a good financial life. So do this as a first step. Save, Send, Invest and with the remainder spend.
2. Save on rent and get roommates: This is the most obvious one. When you are alone, single and away from family, you do not need a house big enough to accommodate your entire family. Look out for paying guest options if available, this way you can save on a lot of utilities as the house where you stay in will have utilities and you need to just pay a rent which will be definitely be lower than if you had rented a flat. Sometimes this will also cover the food expenses as they may provide you with food.
If you are someone who values privacy and can’t get into a paying guest deal, fair enough. Get a room with some of your office colleagues and share the rent. You do not need a large home, instead just large enough to accommodate you and your roommates, have hygienic living conditions and as closer to work as possible. This way you share the rent and also save money on travel.
3. Curb eating out and cook for yourself: Living alone would mean you also have to manage your own food and the simplest option a lot of young professionals take is to order restaurant food or go out and eat. Even if your tummy is able to tolerate the excess baking soda and sodium quantities in the outside food on a daily basis, the rising inflation will make it hard on your pocket eventually. Instead of restaurant food, check some local tiffin service that gives you a home-made wholesome meal at lower prices than the restaurants and is lighter on your pocket as well as tummy. Also learn some basic cooking and prepare food yourself. In case you have roommates, you can share the cooking duties and not necessarily make complete meals. Just make the vegetables and order chapattis from outside. This will again significantly reduce the cash flow towards eating.
4. Don’t waste food or groceries you bought: A lot of people get into the habit of ordering excess food and end up wasting it. Also when they cook for themselves often they cook more than that is required or a lot of the groceries simply go bad due to carelessness and improper storage. Make sure the food you keep is stored well and used optimally. Also order only the amount of food you can eat and avoid paying excess to the restaurants, example if you can do with a medium pizza why order a large pizza and throw away the extra slices when you can’t eat them and still pay 15-20% extra to the pizza place?
5. Save on daily travel: As mentioned before, firstly get a room closer to work. This will curb your traveling to a great extent and in turn save money too. In case you cannot get a closer place to stay and have to commute, consider trains and public transport that does not include auto-rickshaws and taxis. This will save a great deal on your day to day expenses and leave you feeling less broke.
6. Control entertainment expenses: When you are alone it is natural to feel bored and need to go out and get a break from your monotonous life. This often leads to partying, movies in multiplexes and impulse shopping. All this is expensive. Enjoy while you should and you can, but avoid shopping just for the heck of it. Also movies can be seen on rented DVD as well. If you have to catch up on a latest blockbuster, go on a weekday or early morning on a weekend, tickets are much cheaper then and you can save some money this way too.
7. Curb luxuries: Branded clothes, accessories etc. are all for you if you can really afford them after you have met your monthly expenses and saved for the month. After deducting your monthly expenses and savings, the left over money (only after savings) should be used once in a while to indulge in such luxuries. You are alone, single, need to save for the future; remember that and follow it.
8. Save on electricity: Electricity is an essential resource and while global warming is a problem in itself, for a person living alone, electricity bills can also be a headache. Save on this. Make sure the lights and fans are off when you leave for work. Switch off that plug when you aren’t charging your laptop or phones. Do not leave stuff to charge overnight it can damage the batteries and result in unnecessary electricity bills.
9. Take affordable tariff plans: Go for prepaid plans and since you live alone, remember to activate some offer for STD calling and SMS pack and thus save on unwanted bills. Internet is another thing we need and can’t live without. See if you really need 3G in your Smartphone or 2G plans will suffice. Also if you have multiple devices at home opt for a Wi-Fi internet as you would then be able to use one connection to all devices, however if you travel a lot get a USB internet dongle if your devices support that. But have one of them and not all, either Wi-Fi, USB dongle or 3G.
10. Pre plan your visit to home: This one always baffles me. People living alone and far away from home always plan their visits home at the last moment and believe it or not, they always spend a large chunk of money on last moment airfares, tatkal charges, paying travel agents for arranging some tickets at the last moment and then literally very vocally announce in the office, they are broke, so much expensive to go home and all. But they never ever think of one simple thing. Why the heck, can’t you just pre-plan your visits home? Most of the offices will have a fixed list of holidays for the year so you can very well plan a few months ahead and get cheaper air fares or get tickets without tatkal etc. Also if they argue that they have to go during some festival or functions, then in that case too, you know when is Diwali, when is Holi, when is Durga Puja, when is Eid etc. You can always plan it before hand and apply for a leave in advance book tickets before hand and save money.
A lot of the above is pretty obvious, but not often followed by people living alone. Just simple things can save a significant amount of money and surprisingly these things are ignored by a lot of people living alone as they feel it’s cool to live king size, but then they are always cribbing about how broke they are when they actually realize it’s time to settle down in life. Don’t become one of those.