You have started preparing the technical budget and you should do that too

Before going to bed for one night last month, I got a text message: “I spent 459 rupees on my Amazon debit card.” I read the letter and fell asleep. Later, in the morning, when I woke up, I read the message again and wondered why Rs 459 was charged to my debit card. Then I checked the Amazon app and realized I had forgotten to turn off auto-renewal. 459 rupees is not a huge amount, but it hit me a lot when money was deducted from my account for a service that I no longer use. That day I realized I needed to take a little better understanding of my monthly expenses, especially how much is being spent on services and apps. I am not trying to be a personal financial expert but I want to share my experience and some tips you can apply to better manage your tech budget.

Understand where your money goes

Whether you are a student or a professional, start paying attention to the basic core components of financial literacy. No one will tell you which is more important: Have a coffee at the coffee shop or pay the EMI for your smartphone ahead of time? The goal is to understand the benefits of financial literacy so you know where your money is going. Every penny counts. A few months ago, I was randomly buying old gadgets on OLX and because of that, I messed up my money. I still buy old gadgets but now I look at my bank balance and review my spending before buying anything new.

Disney Hotstar Plus offers three levels and each plan costs more than the next. (Image credit: Disney)

Allocate a monthly budget for broadcast services

About a month ago, I logged into my savings account and started counting the money I spent on subscriptions. Simply put, it was a shock, especially the fact that there were so many monthly subscriptions that I forgot. It’s easy to sign up for subscription services, but it’s hard to keep using them or keep a tab on what you spend on those services.

First, let me tell you how many subscription services I have subscribed to:

Apple Music

Netflix

Amazon Prime

PlayStation Plus

google doc

Alt Balaji

Zee5

Xbox Game Pass

Disney Hotstar Plus

Apple TV Plus

Here’s what I did to cut my expenses on streaming and subscription services.

Select the services you can cancel

Sit back for the weekend and figure out which services to keep and which ones to cancel. For example, if you signed up for Netflix and haven’t recently watched any shows you like, just unsubscribe. It may save you 499 rupees per month. Instead, save money for another important financial goal, such as travel or paying EMI for the laptop you just bought. The good thing about these services is that you can come back at any time and resume whenever there is an upcoming show that is interesting enough.

It’s easy to sign up for subscription services, but it’s hard to keep using them or keep a tab on what you spend on those services. (Image credit: Netflix website)

Choose the basic subscription category

I know people whose only mode of entertainment is access to Netflix or Amazon Prime because there is no cable at home. I’ll tell them to choose the basic non-premium subscription tier and save some cash. Netflix, for example, costs Rs 149 for the mobile only plan. Choosing this plan makes financial sense if the offering is limited to mobile. Before signing up for any service, ask yourself if you really need the premium subscription plan. Like, Disney Hotstar Plus offers three levels and each plan costs more than the other. Its annual plan of Rs 1,499 is pointless if you don’t have a 4K TV at home but up to four people can sign in with the same account and enjoy ad-free content.

The Apple One bundle combines Apple’s premium service offerings, such as Apple Music and Apple Arcade, at a reduced price. (Image credit: Apple)

Looking for a bundle plan

Instead of subscribing to individual services, opt for the package that offers a lot of services under one umbrella. I don’t know if you’ve heard of the Apple One, it’s a bundle of services that combine Apple’s premium service offerings, like Apple Music and Apple Arcade, at a discount. I recently subscribed to the Apple One Single plan, where I got access to Apple Music, Apple TV Plus, Apple Arcade, and 50GB of iCloud Storage, all for 195 rupees a month. Previously, I used to pay individually for Apple Music and Apple Arcade, and both services cost over Rs 200 a month. Another reason to choose the Apple One bundle is to cut On Apple TV Plus, which is a show I’m currently hooked on.

important point: Make sure you are aware of the mobile data plans that come with free access to popular streaming services. Reliance Jio, Airtel, and Vi (formerly Vodafone) have both prepaid and postpaid plans with a free subscription to streaming services.

Set aside a monthly budget

This is perhaps the biggest lesson I’ve learned about money in the past decade. Not only does a budget help you reach your financial goals if you stick to it, but documenting every expense incurred in a month is a smarter move in the long run. Heres how to do it.

Fixed amount for broadcast services: Stick to a budget that you need to spend on streaming and subscription services. A simple way to break it down is by using the 50/20/30 budget rule. Basically, you divide your income into three parts: 50% of your income goes to basic needs (house rent, groceries, etc.), 20% goes to savings (and paying off debt), and 30% goes to spending on personal use (eating out, streaming services). , etc.). If successful, the monthly budget will provide a great deal of flexibility. In my case, I figure out what services I want to use and accordingly allocate a monthly budget. For me, the biggest challenge is getting used to knowing how much I have to spend each month.

Keep track of where your money goesWrite it down on paper, keep a spreadsheet or use budgeting apps, and jot down all your expenses for a month. The ability to make better financial decisions is what you need to learn very quickly.

Try to use budget apps to keep track of all your streaming services and apps on the go. (Image credit: Billbot / screenshot)

Sort your expenses by type: I might pay a little more on PlayStation Plus but I don’t have to pay bank or credit card companies for the new iPhone 13 in monthly installments. I’m free to cancel the PlayStation Plus subscription any day, but you don’t have the option to skip the monthly installment and pay it later.

Leave room for flexibility in your budget: I have seen people who budget monthly with great enthusiasm but are unable to stick to the budget when their income is precarious. This is the hard truth. Budgeting can be very challenging when your income is unstable or your spending is steady. You know you are planning a trip to Dharamshala, so your tech budget should be set accordingly. Can I downsize my three-month Spotify premium subscription and put that money aside to rent a bike instead? Understand that your income or spending varies on a monthly basis. You don’t have to scale back everything; It’s all about priorities in life.

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