One of the reasons for the lack of money management skill is that we simply don’t like thinking about it. Managing money is indeed stressful when you know the smallest of mistakes can result in total breakdown of a weekly or monthly budget.
Amongst us, there are many who are, politely put ,horrible with money management! They don’t know how to earn it, use it,save it- in all, managing money is not on their repertoire!
But don’t worry, here’s a few ways how you can manage your money when you hate thinking about it!
Take help of apps
Indians are good with their money,that’s a fact! But there are some amongst us who don’t know how to keep a tally for their spending. For some, the epithet ‘Paise Toh Haathon Ka Dhool Hain’ has become a way of life! They just can’t keep a check on their money manually.
For these poor souls, hope is not lost! Gone are the days that you have to do everything manually when it comes to handling money! There are apps on both Android and iOS that can help you carefully chart out all your monetary spending and cuts so that you can keep a track of where your money is going.
We Indians are extremely careful about giving our bank details to anyone else much else an app. We need to be vigilant about online scams as well. So never give your banking details to an app if it’s not the official bank affiliated or government mandated like BHIM. Good news? Money manager apps don’t require banking details at all! You can either enter the expenses incurred in each category whether EMI, travels, loans, food and dining or give it special access to your messages so that the app can get a hold of your expenses list itself!
Because each and every aspect of your finance is kept track of, you can easily pick out where extra expenses are incurring and cut off back on that to save more. Often during times of festivals, especially the big ones like Diwali,Christmas and New Years- with so many gift giving rituals and shopping splurges we lose track of the amount of money spent,so apps like these become a savior so that you stay informed about where exactly the majority of that fat cheque of Diwali Bonus is going to!
The advantage of using such apps other than basic money management is the umpteen number of notifications and alarms you get about when a a bill is due for payment. Whether it’s the internet bill or electricity bill, this is certainly better than your mom reminding you how much of nalayak you are for not doing anything on time!
Managing a schedule
India is a land of traditions and customs and we Indians take every ritual of ours seriously! You can call us creatures of habit when it comes to matters close to the heart. Money obviously features on the list and if we consider managing money like one of these mandatory rituals,then we put ourselves on a schedule and that takes care of our worries!
So just like that weekly visit to the temple on Saturdays to seek blessings and get brownie points from nanis and dadis or attending our churches or Gurudwaras on Sundays, if you pick out one day of the week to check your finances and evaluate where and how you are spending your bucks,then it is possible to manage money without excessively worrying about it!
On months when the bills have not stacked up much,you can relax and check on things twice a week (biweekly) or just the end of the month(monthly). It is of course important to be consistent with this routine and not leave everything to last minute checks as any error can cause massive miscalculation of finances and you will be stuck with less money, a tighter budget and a lot of headache to fix it!
Just use cash
We all remember that one episode from How I Met Your Mother where Lily just shops with her credit card..again and again and again till she goes bankrupt,right? Most often than not, the concept of racking up credit card debt is lost on most of us. Because we don’t really see the money please us physically, it affects us less when its gone! It is the classic case of out of sight and out of mind!
In this era of mind boggling holiday deals and online shopping events like the Big Billion Day ( Flipkart) and The Great Indian Shopping Festival (Amazon) it is really hard to resist putting things we know we don’t really need in that cart! As much as we try to whine and rant about capitalist society and its many banes, it is really your fault if you want to live like Sonam Kapoor without really having the Kapoor name or bank balance!
So use all out cash and no cards and the next time you want to order yet another overpriced lipstick from Nykaa, the thought of money leaving your hands would literally guilt you into logging out! Good riddance!
Listen to your parents’ advice
India is quite the fascinating amalgamation of old school joint families and newly minted nuclear ones. It is also a part of our culture as a whole to respect and take care of our parents and most of the time let them take life changing decisions for us- whether it is a career or marriage- we Indians depend on our parents right from the start. And in most cases, they struggle and work so hard to give us a better life.
But taking care of our every need growing up requires rigorous planning and ample dedication. As they went through the different phases of their lives,they learnt various financial lessons and it is from them and their mistakes that we can learn unendingly! So if you are bad at managing money, ask your parents their advice and what tiny or big mistakes they had made in the journey of life! Even though generations and eras have changed,the basics of handling money will never change and who better to take pointers from than our experienced parents!
Compartmentalize the areas
You know when you venture into khao gali for your favorite street food you magically develop separate spaces in your stomach for golgappas,then chaat, then Kulfi,then rasmalai and so on? Or how you go to a restaurant and have starters first,then the mains and finally desert- all this while your stomach just knows how to compartmentalize the food you are gorging on! Yes, that got us hungry too but that is not the point! The point is if you know how to compartmentalize the different financial areas properly you won’t hate the sight of money.
Most financial advisors talk of the 50/20/30 rule where you spend 50 percent of your income after all tax deductions on the most important things : rent of your home,water-electricity bills, 20 percent on lessening the burden of finances in the future as in savings or paying off EMIs and other debt and finally the rest of the money,the 30 percent of it on what you require on a day to day basis- what fuels your lifestyle- could be shopping,eating out or any form of entertainment.
Save a specific percentage every month or week
We Indians are master bargainers. From New Market or Gariahat in Kolkata to Sarojini in Delhi, the great tales of bargaining Indians are known to all! One of the major reasons for us always haggling for a less priced piece is the fact that we know the importance of ek ek kaudi.
Because of this,savings comes easy to us too. If you don’t like thinking about money too much because it makes you anxious one good way to keep future anxiety at bay is saving. If one maintains a certain percentage savings each month, not only would it inculcate a good savings habit but also will become your go-to during rainy days.
Saving a specific amount of money also gives you the mental satisfaction that you are indeed maintaining your overall financial plan and you are ready for any unexpected life emergencies. If you routinely do this you can save enough for your own house or that new car you’ve been eyeing since your neighbour Sharmaji bought one for himself!
Hire a financial advisor
If you have tried all of the above steps and are still horrible at keeping your money in line,do the next best thing and hire a financial advisor or planner!
For most Indians, hiring someone to manage your money by spending more money seems like a futile exercise but if you are suffering losses every year and your financial reports are in red, you need a professional to fix your mistakes and mend your ways! It is like going to a doctor for fever after days of self medicating like most Indians do with doses of paracetamol. We all act as self proclaimed doctors and would not go to a real one till the last minute! But don’t take such a risk with your money. If you have the means to change the course of your financial well being take a chance and make the best use of the opportunity!
Just like Deepika Padukone exclaimed the now iconic ‘Ek Chhutki Sindoor ki keemat tum kya jano Ramesh Babu!’ in Om Shanti Om,we say to every terrible-with-money-management soul out there ‘ Ek Ek Kaudi ki keemat tum kya jano’! Let this be your wake-up call so that during this auspicious Diwali week you can turn your money management skills around with blessings from Maa Lakshmi herself! Divine Intervention at its finest!