15 Frugal Tips To Save A Lot Of Money

A frugal lifestyle is often confused with a life that sacrifices on quality. This is because the term frugal is, more often than not, misconstrued as a negative one. If done the right way, choosing to be frugal can actually add more value to your life. Do you agree? 

The art of frugal living

A lifestyle where you are very intentional with your spending is a frugal lifestyle. It is about prioritizing your money on things that truly matter, and cutting out all the frills that don’t. If you choose to only look at the sacrifices you make, it is bound to get difficult to stay on this path. However, if you look on the bright side, these sacrifices add to larger benefits down the road. 

Why is frugal living a great idea?

The benefits that come with choosing a frugal lifestyle are multifold. 

  • It puts you on the path to financial freedom by accelerating how quickly you achieve your personal financial goals.
  • It allows for a cause-and-effect reality to take hold in terms of finances.
  • You get to decide where you spend your hard-earned money. 

How does one live a frugal lifestyle?

If you’ve tried to lead a frugal lifestyle over the years but have fallen off the wagon, it’s okay. If you are new to this life, then it may seem difficult at first. That is also okay. We’ve been there. We are all for that frugal lifestyle, and over the years we have found tips and tricks that really lower expenses and help us save a lot of money. 

We’ve put together some of our favorite tips for you to save money while living your best life. When we say this, we understand that a frugal lifestyle means different things to different people. We just want to help you live a life that aligns with your goals. 

  1. Start budgeting your finances 

Your first tool towards a frugal lifestyle and your financial success is creating and sticking to a budget. It helps you prioritize things that are important and cut out the ones that are not. There are many tools available to help you plan your budget. You can start by maintaining either a weekly or monthly budget, whatever works for you. 

  1. Take stock of your pantry 

If you ever walk into your pantry and take stock of the food available, you’ll be surprised. In today’s digital world, ordering food at the click of a button has spoiled us rotten. Instead, get into the habit of making meals at home with what is available. The fact that it is healthier than take-out food is an added bonus. Of course, you can indulge in food from your restaurant; you just don’t need to do it four times a week. 

  1. Sell the things you don’t need 

If you look around, there’ll be five things in your direct line of vision that you can do without. Set a day aside, look around the house and put aside things that you have outgrown. With a little bit of effort, this clutter can be cashed through different platforms such as Facebook and eBay, to name a few. 

  1. Start thrifting 

Local thrift stores and online marketplaces can really surprise you with the things on sale and the prices they are available at! Apart from saving up tons of money, you’ll also be saving the planet. A win-win situation, we say. 

  1. Upcycle your wardrobe 

Have you ever considered shopping in your closet? Yes, it’s true. If you look into the deep corners of your closet, you’ll unearth clothes and shoes that are begging for your attention. Sew some patchwork on that jacket or cut your denim and turn them into shorts. You can be fashionable, even on a budget!

  1. Walk or bike whenever you can 

We’re all guilty of taking the car to the nearby grocery shop that is within walking distance. Next time, ditch the car and walk instead. Not only will you save on a lot of petrol money, you’ll also end up burning some calories in the process. 

  1. Workout at home 

A membership at a good gym can really burn a hole in your pocket. Instead, join an online workout class that is relatively cheaper and also lets you work out at ease. Or you can ditch a membership altogether and pull out a video from YouTube instead.

  1. Automate your savings and investments 

It is easy to fall into the habit of overspending when your savings and investments are not automated. Get a financial advisor on board and figure out places where you can invest in and automate them. Also, go through your expenses and set up automatic payments wherever possible. 

  1. Evaluate your subscriptions 

Do you really need subscriptions to six OTT platforms? You’ll be surprised at the amount you pay on an annual basis just to watch one movie from that one platform. Keep the ones that are worth keeping and cancel the rest. 

  1. Get a side gig 

The gig economy is booming in the country and all over the world. Pick up a part-time job near your house or even one that requires you to work from home. There are tons of exciting options available.

  1. Shop in bulk 

You’ll be surprised at the amount you save when you buy certain things like toilet paper, soap, paper napkins, among others, in bulk. The price per unit is low when you purchase large quantities. Make a list of items that you use daily, and next time you go grocery shopping, buy them in bulk and keep them. 

  1. Plan your travels better 

Travelling does not have to be an expensive affair if you plan it well. Try to plan your travels during the ‘off-season’ as everything is relatively cheaper. Ditch the expensive hotels and opt for a beautiful Airbnb instead. Also, avoid the tourist traps and eat where the locals eat, instead. Not only will you save up on cash, but you’ll also get to eat some of the best food!

  1. Make gifts instead of buying 

There is a certain emotion associated with gifts that are handmade instead of store-bought. Gifting during the holiday season can be expensive. You can check out videos on YouTube for some great gift making ideas!

  1. Grow your vegetables 

If you are blessed to have a small open patch in your house where you can grow a vegetable garden, do it! Apart from being fun and inexpensive, there is also a sense of great satisfaction associated with it. 

  1. Ditch the expensive coffee 

We’ve all been there and done that. Try ditching that expensive cup from Starbucks and instead start brewing your coffee at home. There are some top-notch home-grown brands that source the best coffee from all over the country. Your wallet and taste buds will thank you.

As you can see from the tips above, a frugal lifestyle does not ask you to give up your favorite cereal brand or stay at home instead of going on a vacation. Also, don’t cut back on too many things too fast, as it is bound to backfire. It all comes down to the strategy and approach you choose for yourself. If you get addicted to this lifestyle, we completely and happily accept all the blame!

Feelings & Finances – the domino effect

Women, emotions and the impact of that on the relationship with money.

The Law of Attraction is the ability to attract into our lives whatever we are focusing on. It is believed that this law uses the power of the mind to translate whatever is in our thoughts and materialize that into reality. In basic terms, all thoughts turn into things eventually. If you focus on negative doom and gloom you will remain under that cloud. If you focus on positive thoughts and have goals that you aim to achieve, you will find a way to achieve them with massive action. The Law of Attraction dictates that whatever can be imagined and held in the mind’s eye is achievable if you take action on a plan to get to where you want to be.

So how does any of this relate to money? Simply put, money is not about finances but all about emotions. And our emotions are largely driven by how we think. Women are generally known to be  the more emotional gender and therefore, led by it. A study done by the National Center for Women and Retirement Research (NCWRR) showed a direct correlation between a woman’s personality characteristics and her financial habits. Assertiveness, openness to change and an optimistic outlook are the qualities that tend to lead to smart money choices.

But somehow, as a financial advisor I have often found the topic of financial management to be a stumbling block among women. Well, to a large extent it’s ignorance about long-term money management techniques that still prevails among them. A big part of this can also be attributed to negative emotions like fear, shame and anger which lead to knowledge gaps and anxiety. Looking at these closely, here are some of my observations.

  1. Loss of confidence – if women are not earning members or the breadwinner of their families, there’s a high probability of feeling low on confidence when it comes to making decisions about investments. There’s a self-imposed restriction of feeling that they don’t have enough of a say in larger and more important financial decisions that concern the future.
  2. Fear & anxiety – these are the big bad wolves of money emotions, and they come in different guises, often both together. Being afraid of making mistakes while trying to invest and hence, letting someone else (read the husband in most cases) handle it, is a sign of succumbing to these emotions. In such situations, when faced with money problems women tend to feel powerless and anxious of dealing with the problem.
  3. Shame & confusion – Financial illiteracy being the root cause of such emotions, women are often embarrassed to even admit if they don’t know something or feel confused about whatever little they know in parts. Owing to this, women relinquish all money matters to their husbands as if it’s part of the division of labor.  

These emotions can often deter women to overcome their confidence gap (the measure of women’s confidence in their ability to attain their financial goals or simply to have sound financial knowledge). Added to that is the lack of any form of financial education in schools. As a result of this, it’s commonly observed that women still throw their hands up when it comes to making long-term financial decisions about savings and investments.

The truth about money is determined by how we approach it, how we think about it and how we handle it. Going back to the Law of Attraction, if people constantly think negatively about money, they are bound to be plagued by money problems their whole life. But people who feel like money is something that’s within their control, they are more likely to become successful and create more wealth for themselves. Those are the people who instead of complaining about their lack of money, educate themselves about money. Financial intelligence is the basis for growing wealth.

As rightly put by Benjamin Franklin, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” This would be the very basis to conquering the mental block arising out of all the negative emotions for anyone, but more so for women. A change in our financial situation starts with a change in how we think about money and that can easily be achieved if we arm ourselves with financial literacy. Understanding the basics of savings & investments (that go much beyond just FDs or LIC savings), by getting familiar with financial products and industry jargon, by talking to financial advisors to widen that knowledge base and learning how to use online money management tools are all the steps that can help women to have a view on long-term financial planning and also contribute towards making sound decisions about their future.

This financial education also eventually empowers women and teaches them not to necessarily rely on the male figure in the family for financial security. The empowerment also lends itself to having conversations around larger financial goals, establishing an emergency fund, techniques of handling the repayment of loans and so many of such important decisions. Using that knowledge to improve the current financial situation and not letting emotions come in the way is also a critical thing to note.

Emotions often work to sabotage the rationale. It’s obvious that having a lot of money can make one feel good about themself. But that feeling is fleeting. That high can lead to unnecessary and excessive spending. Instead of seeking that feeling through spending money, it’s far more important to realize that spending less on what’s not needed is the secret to creating wealth. And that realization can only come when you know at least the basics to wealth creation. Most importantly, this knowledge can remove fears, of losing money, of failure, or whatever is holding you back from making a financial plan and investing.

Emotions among many other things shape our personalities. In a critical aspect like financial planning, it’s important that women are in check with their emotions and get down to the simple basics of understanding the do’s and dont’s of it. Knowledge always helps to overcome the most negative feelings. So never shy away from stepping out of your comfort zone and learning more about what you don’t know enough of. It’s a simple logic. You’re accountable for your own financial future. Take ownership.

All in a pot of tea.

Anamika Singh is a second generation tea sommelier who has been learning, absorbing, experiencing, creating and spreading the good word of tea for the past 30 years. She has lived her life largely in the mountains of Darjeeling & Dharamsala. Around 6 years ago, after working for a considerable amount of time with her father, Abhai Singh in the estate and exporting their teas to Europe and Asia, she decided to introduce India to fine, boutique, niche teas and thus, Anandini Himalaya Tea was born. Anandini means where the earth and the sky meet and something that gives you happiness. After two years, her brother, Kunal Singh joined the business and now they have grown as a brand.

They started with 7 blends, the tea sourced from their own estate where they worked closely with farmers and got the purest of flowers and herbs from the Himalayan region of India. They now have close to 150 different teas that include handmade teas, infusions, and tisanes and are very happy working with the hospitality industry as well as the wellness industry. They curate events and workshops based on tea and are also working with the Indian Hospitality Management institutes to teach the students about the beverage of the nation, so that each one of them can become brand ambassadors of tea.

Anamika believes that it was the obstacles in her life that inspired her to become an entrepreneur and she is glad to have chosen the path less traveled. She quotes that, “Working with my father was one thing but starting a business on my own was another ball game altogether. There was a phase in my life around 9 years ago that actually made me question my abilities, my thought process, me as a person and my responsibilities towards others who surrounded me. I had to snap out of it which I did with the support and love of my family and close friends. I just decided that I have to work harder, create something of my own, catch hold of that silver lining and begin with courage and hope and prove first to myself and then the rest, that I believed in myself, my abilities, my skills and that if the mind can conceive it, there is no way that one cannot achieve it.”

As with anyone starting out on their own, Anamika too had her fears. Her main concern was being one of the very few women in a male dominated industry and therefore, the apprehension of not being taken seriously in the business. She learnt the nuances of tea in their tea estate under the astute guidance of her father who has been her biggest inspiration, her guru and someone who always led the way for her to follow. After learning everything from scratch under him, she set up Anandini Himalaya Tea where she suspected again if the Food & Beverage industry would give her a chance as a tea sommelier and listen to her. In her opinion, tea has never been given the kind of significance it deserves and there’s very limited knowledge that people have about the different kinds of blends. This was a challenge for her as she wondered if she’d be able to hold the attention of people during meetings in the F&B industry. And this of course had a direct co-relation to how it would impact her business. Anamika quotes, “Their normal remark would be, ‘Tea is just Tea, how is yours any different?. People in India just didn’t understand the importance or the relevance of Single origin or Single estate teas. They still don’t. So it is an everyday challenge, but I love it. It keeps me going, changing one cup at a time.”

From her years of experience as an entrepreneur, Anamika shares her approach of starting a new business. She states that it’s crucial to have a business plan in place especially if you intend to create a brand. It is important to connect with financial planning organisations or government bodies that can help you register and further help you to figure out the way forward as far as finances are concerned.

She states that today it’s a huge advantage that we have accessibility to financial planning advisors, to discuss and figure out financial strategies as compared to earlier. Anamika quotes, “I think our biggest fear is of being seen as one who doesn’t know, hence we find it difficult to ask for help. But with all the infrastructure available to us today on how to take it forward, now is the best time to create your path.”

Anamika started off by putting her personal savings to establish Anandini Himalaya Tea. After a year, when she got an understanding of the market, she initiated the second phase where fresh funds were invested with the help of her family and friends to open a tea boutique and expand the market. This increased her outflow in a span of three years and as the founder/director of the business, she did not use any of the new funds for her personal use. When funds were required for expansion, marketing and new projects, they were again gathered from family and friends. She explains that they have not taken any debt from the market and Anandini Himalaya Tea is still a close family owned business. It was only since the fourth year of the business when she and Kunal have been able to take a salary. She mentions that all other profits are re-invested back into the company. They had consciously decided to not involve investing companies for further financing to keep their brand value intact.

However, she also highlights a few things that one should be cautious of while starting out on your own. She emphasizes that once you’ve established clearly what you want to do, which direction you want to take and who you want to partner with, it’s possible that somewhere along this journey you get influenced wrongly and get deviated from your core values that your brand talks about. This may all be in an attempt to reach your goals faster and in ways that might bring in the limelight quicker than expected. She mentions that it is absolutely crucial to keep going back to the drawing board and figure out where you started and how you started. She states, “Stick to the values and principles, choose your clients wisely. Be careful of how you put across your brand on social media. The world is watching. And if you are an entrepreneur, remember you reflect your brand and vice versa. Hence, with the powerful tool that the social media is, remember to keep yourself linked to the brand and see how you can reflect the best rather than give any negative impact to what you are trying so hard to build.”. Anamika personally has a checklist that she goes back to off and on. Additionally, she maintains a daily diary of her expenses and has a personal CA who helps her with her investments and to keep a reality check on her personal finances as well as that of the business.

When asked about her success mantra, Anamika generously shares her thoughts with us. “Believe in yourself. Remain true to yourself and be you… Bravely! You are responsible for creating your path the way you want it. Listen to your heart and follow your dreams. There is no way that they will not manifest! Do not rush into anything without having done your homework. And in this entire process, do not forget yourself and the time you need to give to yourself. If you grow, your mind breathes and then your brand grows. Take out ‘me time’ always even if it is for just 30 minutes in a day. Spend time in solitude. It has helped me so many times when I was caught in a road block. Build a network of people who support you and believe in your dreams and last but not the least, stay away from negativity. Your time is precious. Respect it. Life is beautiful, we just have to learn to savour it sip by sip.”









There’s a new Spice Girl on the block

This one is not to be confused with the famous girl band from the 90s. Singapore-based Namita Moolani Mehra is a mom of two and is the founder of Indian Spicebox. Her brand is about enabling families to eat more wholesome home-cooked meals, including healthier versions of restaurant favourites. Simple recipes are packaged with wonderful organic spices that provide not just amazing flavour, but great health benefits as well. The best part is that for each Spicebox Kit she sells, 10 street children in India are fed a hot meal. Namita states, “We have funded over 60,000 hot meals and our goal is to provide 1 million meals by 2025.”

Namita is also a writer and has published two cookbooks out of which one is a children’s book published by Scholastic. She also writes for several online publications including Sassy Mama. She founded Indian Spicebox a few years ago after spending 15 years in the corporate world, primarily working as a digital strategist at ad agencies in New York after which she spent five years at Facebook in both New York and Singapore. Indian Spicebox was born as an idea in 2004 when she was living in New York and surrounded by friends asking her for recipes and information about spices. It wasn’t till a decade later that she quit the corporate world and founded it as a business.

Namita’s drive to make a difference was her main inspiration to become an entrepreneur. She wanted to give back and do something with meaning and purpose. Therefore, by creating something of her own that would be purpose-driven and make her feel excited about getting out of bed, she wanted to put her strengths in service of something meaningful. After working at one of the world’s best companies (Facebook) with the most incredibly talented people, and supported by tremendous resources, she was afraid of going off on her own. She was worried about not having the teams and resources to keep her motivated and productive.

A year before starting her own business, Namita worked for a VC (Venture Capital) firm which was an eye-opening experience for her to a great experience. It gave her a good understanding of the start-up world and financing better. “Frankly, I had no clue about funding businesses and there are a lot of different routes and options out there for founders and small business owners. It is really important to know your options, network with other business owners and founders, attend start-up conferences/events, read the blogs, soak up as much information as you can and also consult financial planning advisors to get a clear understanding of that part too.” says Namita. She invested her own savings from her previous jobs and advocates engaging financial advisors and companies who can help to manage money and investments for you on the personal front and for the business.

There are several things one should be aware of while starting on their own. Namita shares a few from her experience, right from being prepared to feel alone, to being constantly in battle mode to ensuring that you hire and delegate early-on. Hire interns and invest in a good
website developer and designer. She also emphasizes to take the time to create and build a solid brand right at the onset (as all touchpoints matter) and most importantly, investing in quality.

Amongst other things, Namita also highlights that it’s important to surround yourself with people you trust. She states, “If you find good partners, vendors, interns, freelancers—hold on to them and keep investing in good people. Also, build a solid brand upfront. Invest in good designers, brand building experts and digital experts who know how to present your brand and offering via critical touchpoints. Have several mentors or your own personal board of advisors – the people you can trust and use as soundboards. Work with a professional coach. I’ve been working with a coach for over five years now and she anchors me tremendously behind the scenes. As I’ve mentioned earlier, engaging financial advisors to keep you on track with your money management is also crucial. Remember, you can’t succeed alone. So, the people you surround yourself with, are the ones who will ultimately determine your success.”