5 Budgeting Tips from a Budget-Savvy Gruhini

In this article, I wrote about how Women today find it difficult to keep a tab on their expenses. Being one of them, I looked for inspiration to curb my spending urges. I came across a post where Bhuvanaa Shreeram talked about her 13-year-old son managing his sporting equipment budget on his own!

Once upon a time, Bhuvanaa’s spending habits were just like most of us—spend recklessly and feel guilty at the end of the month. She didn’t even know how much she was spending in a month. Saving happened sometimes. Credit cards were used as and when needed. Expenses got stretched in some months.

But now things are different because she has A Spending Plan and she sticks to it.

“Budgeting empowers us and gives us a sense of control over our money” asserts Bhuvanaa who has got her son, her mother-in-law, and her husband actively involved in spending decisions.

In a freewheeling conversation with me, Bhuvanaa, founder and chief executive officer of Plan2Prosper, a wealth advisory firm and a disciplined budgeter shares actionable budgeting tips.

Budget hack #1 Visualise your goals or dreams

Decide a purpose for saving money. It could be a personal or a family goal. Place it as a screen saver on your phone, laptop, workstation or fridge, so you can see it every day. Let your family members know or involve them.

Goal setting gives a meaningful reason for us to stick to a budget, says Bhuvanaa.

A goal can be..

Save Rs 50,000 for a high-end Fridge (or Air Conditioner or any consumer good) in 2 months.

Rs 10000 for an upcoming big birthday celebration

Rs 70000 for a short family holiday,

Upgrading to a new car or new furniture for home

 Budget hack #2: Prioritise your Spending

Expenditure on home, groceries utility bills is unavoidable but travel is a discretionary spend. Allocate money towards necessary expenses first and keep the rest of the amount for discretionary spending.

Budget hack #3: New budget for a new month

Every month will bring in a different kind of spend–insurance premiums, anniversary or birthday in the family, or a sudden travel plan. Bhuvanaa believes in allocating fresh resources to various expenses head every month.

Budget hack #4 Make a Spending schedule

Pay monthly bills on the first Sunday of the month. Designate days in the week for grocery and vegetable purchases.  A habit of spending on specified days will deter us from unnecessary expenditure.

 Budget hack #5 Modify modes of payment for different expenses.

A card swipe or scanning QR code makes shopping easier and it reduces our pain of paying.  If we use cash, we actually experience the pain of parting with our money, which further reduces our impulsiveness to shop.

Bhuvanaa uses a cash envelop system for her grocery shopping and other expenses. For non-cash payments, she recommends using digital wallets whereby only the budgeted amount is loaded into the wallet. “Loading wallet frequently will make us go through the pain of paying as against other digital modes where money gets debited from our account and we don’t really feel the pinch,” she says.

I hope Bhuvanaa’s journey from a being a Spender to a Saver motivates you to have a Spending Plan as well.

If you get stuck in making or sticking to the plan, write to us at thegreatgruhini@gmail.com.

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Rachna Monga Koppikar, is an AMFI Registered Mutual Fund Distributor and founder of this blog. She is on a mission to help Women create and preserve wealth through mutual fund investing.