Dussehra – mark of a new financial page

The ongoing celebration of Navratri festival lasting 10 days and 9 nights is dedicated to the worship of Devi Durga. The festival is celebrated by varied names and through different rituals and traditions across India. Durga Pooja is widely celebrated on a grand scale in West Bengal.
The symbolic significance of the worship of Goddess Laxmi can also not be undermined during Navratri. People mostly relate Goddess Laxmi to material wealth.
However, she is also the giver of spiritual wealth. If a person doesn't have the inner wealth of right virtues, he will not be able to preserve his material wealth. This essentially implies having the self-discipline and control to manage personal finances.
Money can be easily frittered away in the absence of the right wisdom. Here is how you can ward off your unhealthy financial habits this festive season:

Not saving enough:
This is one cardinal sin whose effect is pervasive on all other areas of your financial life, including achieving goals, debt management, handling emergencies like medical situation, job loss, etc. Resist the impulse to spend, especially online.
Today, online retailers come out with regular sale & discount offers on a variety of products. The convenience of online shopping and the routine browsing has culminated into an addictive shopping habit for many. Though it is easy to get carried away especially in the festive season, going overboard on mindless purchases is likely to affect your finances in the long run.
The first thing you need to do becomes aware of where your money is going. Plan a budget and demarcate your income into fixed expenses, discretionary spending and savings. Monitor your spending for a few months. Make a list of things you do not have and plan to buy, then stick to the budget.
In the case of online deals, turn off the notifications on your mobile apps and stop adding items to your cart list which you do not want. Once this becomes a habit, you will inevitably find a lot more savings in your bank account than it used to be.

Piling credit card debt:
If you are not saving enough or even spending more than you save, you inevitably rely on loans which trap you into debt. A credit card is the easiest and most tempting mode of use to spend as you are not required to cough out money immediately.
The usual tendency then is to pay the minimum amount and roll over the balance every month. The next thing you know is you have piled up a mountain of debt, the costliest ever, which would take quite a while to get out of. And, in due process, your savings, investing for the future is compromised.
Make judicious use of credit cards for smart use of float, reward points and even paying medical bills. Track your billing cycle regularly and pay in full. If you are sure that you can pay for the purchases, then only use credit cards. Otherwise, avoid them to buy stuff which you cannot afford.
To inculcate financial discipline, use cash or debit cards as much as possible for transactions to stick to your budget while shopping this festive season.

Not investing regularly:
What good are your savings if they lay idle in a bank account and aren't channelized properly? You need to make your money work harder for you.
Invest first and then spend the balance rather than the other way around. Automate your investments and link them to your savings account. It could be recurring deposits, flexi fixed deposits, postal saving schemes, sips in mutual funds, etc.
Just as you follow certain religious customs every festive season, make it a ritual to start an investment or at least increase the contribution to your existing investments at the onset of festive season. Imagine the kind of wealth being built over the long run through the discipline of regular investing every single month.
Festive seasons are not just the time to socialize and spend. They mark the beginning of a new chapter. And it just does not mean buying a new house, car, etc. Or doing away with old stuff to make room for more positive energy. It implies purifying your minds and adopting a more spiritual approach towards money. So, this festive season, try to break through the shackles of unhealthy money habits and take charge of your financial future.
Courtesy: FPG

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