I have written most of my posts on saving money. Largest being a compilation of 101 ways to save money. But that was a list of too many things. Here I’d tell you about some of the strategies that we follow. Off course the biggest of all is to extend no-spend days for weeks. But, that’s not always possible. We have one big advantage of growing in a developing country, many things that seem natural to a native American are luxury to us and we don’t usually spend money on them. Having lunch outside is one of those.
SMB, my wife, and I are fairly frugal. I am a bit more and she is less. We take the developing world approach to spending where we try and classify our needs and wishes. That’s why a Correl dinnerware set took 7 years to finally arrive at our home. It was our saving-first nature that allowed us to use one car, that too a pre-owned 2002 Hyundai Elantra.
Setting aside as much as 50% of our income in investment/savings account has worked really well for us. The rest of the money is used to pay bills and other expenses, including discretionary spending, entertainment, etc. When we save more than 50% of our income (we are really one income family) we set it aside for next vacation.
Now, let’s play a trivia and see how frugal you are compared to us. In a way you may get exposed to a new way of saving money, depending on your habits.
Check my answers with yours and comment below the post.
1. Do you buy a new car every 3 years?
- Does anyone really need to buy a new car every 3 years? Off course there is, that’s why I saw so many 2011 model cars on sell when I went to buy our car last week. They were dumped by their previous owners. We did buy a brand new Toyota Camry in 2011 and since then I bought two cars and both were pre-owned. The latest one is a 2009 model. I can drive it for another 5 years easily. And our Toyota Camry is expected to live for 10 more years. Buying a new car every 3-4 years can cost you 100’s of thousands of money.
2. Do you have a basic cable or full functional cable television?
- Our housing association covers the basic television channel cost. Although the money is included in our rent check, since there is no separate line item I do feel that cable television is free for us. We do not have Dish and direct TV and we haven’t subscribed to a paid channel.
3. How often you buy new clothes and what’s your annual budget on clothes?
- We buy new clothes once or twice a year. This year we bought a pair of new clothes in April. Our main shopping time is now (we celebrate Autumn festival, called Durga Puja). So We are buying a few new clothes these days. On any other time of the year, we don’t even go to mall for days, reducing the chance of impulse purchase.
4. Do you party every weekend? Do you drink?
- Parties where alcohol is involved is expensive. We don’t even go to clubs and bars. We do take alcohol, occasionally while dining out. but, we do take in moderate quantity, mostly 1 serving. I never had problem driving back after dinner. Average American spend $50 a party night. We save all of it!
5. Do you buy coffee/tea at a coffee shop, or, you make your own at home?
- Even $1.50 per day on coffee can be $500 a year on coffee! Not considering the side kicks, like bagels and muffins. I get home-made tea, when I don’t I use the free vending machine at work. Yes, I am fortunate to work in an office where they serve free coffee/tea. But, even my morning beverage is home-made.
6. Do you go out for dinner frequently? Or can you cook most meals at home?
- SMB loves to cook and I am more on a veggie side, as a result, we go out to eat on special occasions and once a week (mostly one of the weekend nights). Most of the time we just cook at home. Cooking at home is cheaper and healthier. Also, the quality of Indian food (our staple diet) that SMB prepares is much better than what our local Indian restaurants serve. It’s win-win for us on home cooking front. (hey you’re welcome to taste Indian food at our home, just give a shout out when you’re in south Florida 🙂 )
- Our monthly dining out cost comes out to be $250 on average.
7. Do you go to the movie theaters to watch the latest blockbuster? Or can you wait for the DVD?
- SMB loves to watch movies, I too but, not such lover like her. We go to theater rarely, perhaps 4-5 times a year. We don’t even rent our movies, SMB gets them from library, free of cost! Very rarely we do buy Bollywood movies at $1 a piece. In a year we spend perhaps ~$200 on movies.
8. Do you brown bag your lunch or you eat out?
- I always pack my lunch for work. When I skip brown bagging is when there’s working lunch arranged or it’s sponsored by my employer. Almost never do I go out for lunch. My lunch cost a mere $2 – $3 a day, or even lesser.
9. How many monthly subscription you have?
- We have none, no magazine, no club and no gym membership fee to pay. We don’t even have Netflix. Check your credit card statement today to find out the monthly subscription costs that you are paying from your pocket. Have a discussion within your family to check if you can stop any such subscription.
How did you fare? That’s just a few ways of saving money in your day-to-day life. Since we live our life this way, most importantly we don’t complain about our frugal lifestyle. So, I think many of you also can cut back on some of the spending I mentioned above.
Do let us know how your spending is compared to ours and I am interested to know if you’re more frugal than us!