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  Taxation Tips - budgeting tips & tricks



Money can be a tricky issue especially for people who are starting off with their first jobs or business. However it is not rocket science. Here are five rules you could live by to manage your finances effectively.

1. Follow a budgeting formula
Divide your income according to your expenses. Allocate your income according to expenses such as House rent, Laundry bill, Travelling expenses, food etc. Make sure you save at least 10 percent of your income as a security fund or to buy something big. It is very important to tally your budget at the end of every month.

2. Buy and hold
The volatility of the stock market might tempt you to invest and sell stocks to capitalize the market upswing. However, most experts say that wisdom lies in holding your buys for longer periods of time which provides for better and bigger returns. Factually the stocks have risen 10 percent every year which means that staying in the game has a better return than trying to predict the big dip or rise in the market.

3. Diversify
The key mantra for safe investments is to diversify them. Instead of putting all your eggs in one basket, spread your investments across various options available. Try out stocks, bonds, mutual funds etc. this would ensure optimum returns as well a safe bet compared to investing in only one option.

4. Manage your debts
Managing debts is important. There is no doubt that dealing with debts is crucial. Make sure your debts are no more than 20% of your take home pay. Try to sort out your debt and keep them at a consistent repayable level.

5. Differentiate between needs and wants
This is the most crucial point to be considered while making a purchase or investment. Needs are something you need to have and wants are something you want. It is very important to prioritize your needs and wants. Always remember that Needs would come first and Wants later.


by Rachel Fernandes

How many times have you chalked out a budget for the month, but have gone over it? Do you keep digging into your savings every month as a result of crossing your budget? If yes, you might be repeating these much avoidable budgeting blunders:

1. Paying penalties on late payment
Though it may seem like you are paying a small additional penalty payment after the due date, in the long run it could add up to quite a bit. Pay bills or EMIís on time, so that you do not have to pay an extra fine. Adopting quarterly or six month schemes may help you save 2-3 % of your actual amount.

2. Ineffective medical insurance
Everyone falls ill at some point or the other, so make sure that your company provides effective medical insurance. It is also advisable to avail of a medical policy that covers major illnesses and emergencies that cost a huge amount. In case you fall ill, you do not have to dig into your savings, but your medical insurance will cover such expenses.

3. Unexpected vacations
Going on sudden, unplanned vacations will send your budget helter skelter; hence it is important to plan your vacations a few months in advance and start saving up for them. Do not cross your budget while on vacation. And to begin with, always choose a mode of transport and a destination well within your decided budget.

4. Buying expensive gifts
Make a budget and stick to it when buying gifts. You can also buy gifts during sales and discounts, a few months prior to birthdays and occasions.

5. Living above your means
Overspending on food, clothing and other luxury items is another budgeting blunder that we often indulge in. And we often make use of our credit cards for such overspending. This only leads us to eventually bail our selves out by digging into savings or going into further debt. Though it may be difficult to live within your budget, discipline yourself to do it.

If you are able to curb these five budgeting blunders, you will not have to dig into your savings and you will also slowly and steadily build your savings.



by Rachel Fernandes

Telephones and cell phones have made communication easier and faster, but when the digits on your telephone bills seem to rise at the speed of lightning, you know that you are paying a high price for technology. However, with a little discipline and effort, you can curb those excess telephone bills. Here is how:

1. Review schemes of different companies
Today there are several telephone as well as cell phone services to choose from. Review which one best suit's your needs and will provide you maximum usage with minimum costs. Get regular updates about low cost schemes.

2. Opt for prepaid cards for long distance calls
Use fixed amount prepaid calling cards to make your long distance calls as this will curb those pointless excessive chats, keeping the bill in check.

3. Scrutinise your telephone bill
It is necessary to fine comb your telephone bill for any extra additional charges. Extensively go through your bill and use the toll free number of service providers to question any extra surplus charges. Also, service providers often levy additional charges for voice mail, caller id, roaming etc. If you don't use these facilities, drop them to save costs. You could also opt to on and off use these facilities. For instance, activate roaming only when you are travelling and remember to deactivate it after coming back to avoid paying continued roaming fees while in town.

4. Get certain numbers free
Several telephone/cell phone service providers offer a scheme wherein you can select 2- 3 numbers on which you can talk limitless for zero fees. If you have a couple of people like your partner or your parents that you regularly call, it might be a good idea to opt for this scheme.

5. Switch to VOIP
The fast catching on VOIP service is a money wise option you must consider. VOIP service uses the internet to make and receive calls and is a latest trend that works out much cheaper.

Remember, it's your hard earned money. So, you must use it wisely. Go ahead and plan a little to get maximum out of your moolah.


Festivals bring endless joy and happiness. But often due to over indulgence, our budgets tend to go haywire, thus inducing tension and confusion in these festive times. Follow these simple tips to curb over spending this festive season.

1. Use non electrical and energy saving decorations
This festive season, do away with all those high voltage electrical lights around your home. Instead, you can opt for beautiful hand painted, colourful diyas or various shaped candles. Place them all over your home for a warm festive feel. This will help you save on those high electricity bills and celebrate in an eco friendly way as well.

2. Opt for Homemade Sweets
Instead of buying fattening, expensive sweets for family and friends, opt for homemade sweets. Get all the women in the family to help out. This way, you will not only save money but also bond while making these healthy, fresh sweets.

3. Buy Gifts at wholesale shops or Do it yourself
It is cheaper to make a list of all your gift items and then head to a wholesale or a discount store and pick up all the gifts that you want. Another option, if you are creative enough, is to personally make specialised gifts for your friends and family. Remember to recycle old gift wrapping paper while packing the gifts, only if they are in a presentable state of course.

4. Shop at least a month in advance
If you need to buy gold jewelry, clothes, shoes etc, it is better to do so at least one month prior to festivals as you will surely get it at cheaper rates then. During festivals, prices of all the items increase enormously.

5. Have a pool-in party at home
Instead of spending money on dinners at extravagant and over crowded restaurants, opt for pot luck parties at home, where everyone brings along one dish. Work out in advance who brings what, so that no item is repeated. This way you can save money, chill out with friends for longer and have a variety of food to indulge in.

Remember, grand and special celebrations do not necessarily mean a lot of expenditure. It means the right spirit and a bit of planning. So, go ahead and indulge and yet stay in your budget!



You have always dreamt of a fabulous house with a blend of style and comfort to live in. But you want to achieve all of this within a budget. For this, your approach to doing up your dream home needs to be well planned, thoroughly detailed and carefully strategized. Here is some help:

1) Fix a budget and get into the finer details

The first step while deciding to do up your home is to fix an approximate budget. While doing up your home there are bound to be unexpected financial demands, so always keep a margin. Work out all the minute details in advance. Designing style, Furniture, Techniques, Paints, Wood Finishes, Enamels and the like, everything should be planned in advance.

2) Compare before you commit

Take different estimates from varied contractors and go with the best estimate given to you. You can also approach labourers directly and pay them a daily wage which will save on the contractor's fees. You can save a significant amount by purchasing the raw material in bulk yourself as many contractors tend to add more to the original amount. However, ensure that you are not sacrificing on quality.

3) Opt for pleasant and functional utilities

While doing up windows, doors or even bathrooms, it is fine to go in for utilities that look good but they should also have effective functioning. Opting for garage sales or wholesale markets for cost-effective furniture and utilities will help save costs.

4) Do it yourself

If you have a relatively frugal budget, you can opt for doing certain things yourself - like painting or wall papering the house yourself, painting cartons to create colourful storage space for your kidís room, drawing cartoons on their walls and so on.

5) Be a creative minimalist

Instead of going for an expensive sofa, opt for mattresses on the floor, cover it up with a lively bedcover and throw lots of cushions and a matching rug around. Instead of a table, use an old trunk and cover it with a decorative table cloth. Donít clutter the drawing room with too many decorative pieces but just place an elegant lamp in one corner for creating a pleasant ambience. Make colourful bead curtains and use them as room dividers to add colour and charm. Flaunt minimalism, itís classy and itís in!

Remember, nothing, definitely not money, can chain your dreams. Go ahead and plan to achieve the maximum in the money you have.



India's annual inflation rate has touched a 13-year high of 11.05 percent, raising the prices of food grains, vegetables, petrol, gas and more, thereby affecting all of us. To help you retain your lifestyle and to survive these inflation ridden times with a smile, here are a few time-tested tips:

1. Divide and rule
Plan a budget by dividing your earnings into specific amounts for all essentials like food, rent/house maintenance, daily commuting, entertainment etc. Try to divide your earnings in such a way that you are left with some extra money every month, which should be deposited in a savings account to serve as your contingency fund.

2. Shop smart
While shopping for grocery, first buy all the essential items like food grains, vegetables, fruits, oil etc and then if your budget allows, go ahead and buy those indulgent food items like cheese, exotic dressings, snacks, ice-cream etc. Also, always keep you eyes open for smart package deals, one day discount deals and festive offers.

3. Curb wastage
Do not waste food, gas, oil and electricity. Cook food in only the required quantities. Donít leave food, milk or water to boil endlessly to avoid wastage of gas. Save electricity by switching off lights, fans, computer, TV and air conditioner when not in use, at home as well as at work.

4. Opt for public transport or car pool
Keeping in mind the steep hike in petrol, public transport rather than your mode of transport, makes more sense. You can also opt for car pool with your neighbours while sending your kids off to school, going to the market, commuting for work, etc. Also, make it a habit never to unnecessarily leave the carĎs ignition on.

5. Creatively modify your lifestyle
Instead of spending money on the gym, go for a run in the evening after the sun dips. Instead of going to a theatre to watch a movie, rent a DVD and watch it in the comfort of your home. Instead of going to expensive clubs or pubs, have a chilled out pot-luck dinner at home. Get creative. Dim the lights, play music, arrange for yummy bites and there is nothing you will miss.

Set limits and curb your spending fantasies and you will be able to survive inflation.



So you've checked out the best value for money vacation hot spots, booked the best economical hotel rooms available and planned a budget for this vacation. But while most of us meticulously plan out a budget for our vacations, few of us bother about saving up on travel tickets or transport. Saving up on travel tickets could mean that you get to spend more on your precious vacation. So here are a few tips to help you do just the same:

1. Check out different websites
Doing a bit of research on the net for the cheapest airfares may help you save hundreds or even thousands of rupees. Check out 'different airline's websites', their 'special offers' and even 'discounted travel websites' to compare prices as these can help you avail some of the cheapest airfares.

2. Book in advance
Booking travel tickets in advance will provide you with wider and better opportunities as you may be able to get special travel vouchers or discounted tickets. Settle for only the best. But do remember to read the fine print.

3. Be a bit flexible
Many of the websites have special offers only on particular dates, so be willing to alter the date of your arrival or departure if you can, as this may help you save on costs. Also check out airfares to smaller airports as these are often cheaper than landing at major international airports.

4. Consider the option of connecting flights
Taking connecting flights may seem annoying, but this can immensely help in cutting travel costs. So do check out this option, especially if you are planning an international vacation.

5. Vacation Packages with travel costs
Most tourist packages include the cost of travel. Some times the travel agencies are able to get you better deals on tickets as they indulge in bulk booking. Be sure to check with the travel agency on how much of your money goes towards travel tickets. For all you know, you might be saving big bucks travelling with them.

So this vacation be smart and avail the best and cheapest travel tickets so that you can splurge more on your actual vacation. Happy vacationing!
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