• 6 Money Lessons during Covid-19

    1. Having an emergency fund

    Most people who lost their jobs or their monthly income was impacted because of Covid-19, have realized the importance of having an emergency fund.  These would be anywhere ranging from 3 months of living expenses to 12 months of living expenses depending on the number of earning members and type of source of income.


    2. We can save more than we think

    We realized that we can save more than before due to a tremendous drop in online and offline expenses. As avenues for spending money were limited to grocery shopping and on essentials, luxury items purchases were kept at bay. The shopping was confined to needs and wants only, resulting in a higher savings rate.


    3. Goal-based investment

    Hence the most important lesson we all learned that do not invest without a goal in mind. People who exited the stock market in the month of March 2020, have lost a significant amount of money and people who started their investment journey during Covid-19 have made huge profits. However, the new investor needs to realize that the stock market doesn’t go in one direction, and a correction is due sometime in the future. No one can predict that with precision, and hence invest the surpluses with a goal in mind for the exit. The money which you require for your short term needs must be kept in liquid assets. 


    4. Investing in learning new skills

    As most people had time in their hands, they spent it on learning new skills. People have attended webinars, paid for new courses, listened to podcasts, have taken exams for getting certifications to enhance their knowledge. Even the world-famous investor Warren Buffet mentioned once in an interview with Forbes  ” Nobody can take away what you’ve got in yourself, and everybody has potential they haven’t used yet.”  Many people have started their investment journey in direct equities, without understanding their risk appetite. One must use this opportunity to get rid of junk stocks otherwise a big loss awaits around the corner, without appropriate knowledge.

    5. Portfolio diversification

    Those who are heavily invested in equities and real estate had faced a lot of liquidity issues during the onset of the Covid-19 crises. Though the equity market has recovered and is hitting fresh highs every day, there is a lot of uncertainty involved. Gold which was supposed to be a dead investment has given historical returns. Portfolio diversification across various asset classes gives a lot of comfort during such stressful times. Investments go through their own cycle – highs and lows, we must be focussed on staying afloat and do not get carried away when the tide has turned.


    6. Budget and track expenses

    Budgeting and tracking one’s expenses has gained importance, as people had time in hand and have experienced a higher savings rate, they realized that budgeting would help them to keep their finances on track and be better prepared for such uncertainties in the future. People have also gone away with unnecessary expenses that they weren’t mindful of earlier such as unused subscriptions, excessive eating out and parties, entertainments, etc.

    Do you agree, would like to know what money lesson you learned during the Covid-19 pandemic

  • 10 Most Powerful Abundance Affirmations that work

    Abundance Affirmations are the most powerful tools to attract wealth and prosperity in your life. Get out of the scarcity mindset and tune in to the wealthy mindset by consistently repeating these affirmations daily. You got to say this with conviction and without a doubt.

    10 Most Powerful Abundance Affirmations that work

    I release all the blocks to attract abundance.

    The first and foremost thing is to release all the mental blocks you may have which deter attracting the abundance in your life. Once these blocks are released you will notice the inflow of money into your life easily. Releasing those blocks consciously and subconsciously is very important to clear the roadblocks to abundance.

    I am financially abundant & money comes to me easily.

    Many people have this belief that money is hard to make and that money doesn’t stay with them. Have an abundant money mindset and see how money gets attracted to you. You would notice that you are automatically meet the right people at the right time. Abundance affirmations are the best way to attract wealth.

    I am worthy of having more wealth.

    If you think you are worthy you certainly are because it’s all in the mind. Positive thoughts create actions and those actions will create wealth for you.

    I am financially free.

    Financial freedom gives you the ability to decide the life which you want to live on your own terms. You can choose to work or choose to devote your time for causes which you care about or travel or stay in the mountains. When your finances are sorted then major portion of your worries are sorted. Money cannot buy everything but buys most of the things that could make you happy.

    I am attracting endless abundance by keeping a gratitude mindset.

    Affirmations with a gratitude mindset have a multiplier effect. Gratitude acts as insurance for that abundance to continue. It works because when you express gratitude for what you already have then you attract more of those things. The law of attraction starts working at an accelerated speed.

    I earn a fortune in ethical, honest and helpful ways.

    Many people are conditioned to think that rich people are bad and they have all the vices. But actually, it’s not true, money brings the personality which you are. If you are generous then you would give more money to charity and if you are a miser then even when you have more money you would not be a spendthrift. So decondition your mind and say money is rooted in good and it brings a peaceful life. Honestly is the best policy.

    Money flows to me in abundance.

    The things which we consider important are the ones which we choose that stay in our lives. Money also deserves that importance for it to stay with you. Have that money mindset with these 10 powerful money affirmations that will pave a way for money in your life.

    I am grateful for the abundance that I have and the abundance on its way.

    We attract and manifest things in our life, our thoughts create the circumstances and we see them happening in our lives. This is true for attracting money too, have a positive money mindset and see the abundance flowing into your life, and the gratitude, makes that money stay in your life.

    I am ready to receive all the abundance, prosperity, and wealth which the universe is willing to bless me with it.

    When you affirm something, you ask from the universe and the universe makes sure that you get it. . When you feel low, unproductive and totally out of the place. Positive mindset and acceptance along with the affirmations, can lift you up.

    I am abundant in all areas of my life.

    Abundance in all areas of life means total bliss. Great relationships, good work, excellent health, and abundant inflow of money makes your life complete. Affirm for that blissful life.

    Ms Wise (financial Coach)

    Ms Wise is a financial coach. She is a content writer for a personal finance blog. She is a chartered accountant with 15+ years of experience in the financial services industry. She loves to share her experiences with money management and personal finance. She shares great tips on saving, investing, and spending money wisely which would assist you in achieving financial freedom.

    Download her 30-Day Effective Money Management Challenge With A Daily Planner Template Freebie to elevate your financial health.

    You can reach her via email mswise@beingfinancialsavvy.com

  • 30 Most popular Warren Buffet’s quotes about Investing

    Warren Buffet needs no introduction. Warren Edward Buffett, aged 90, is an American investor, business tycoon, philanthropist, and the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. Berkshire Hathaway’s fundamental strategy has been to identify valuable companies and then acquire increasingly large portions of them. Warren Buffett’s Letters to Berkshire Shareholders are read over the last 40 years, across the investing world since they assist in providing insights of Warren Buffet and his team for the investment strategies, stock ownership, value investing, company culture, etc. Warren Buffett is also known as “Oracle of Omaha”. He is one of the most successful and wealthy investors in the world. Let’s explore these 30 popular Warren Buffet’s quotes about investing, life, success, and much more. These will definitely assist you to gain loads of information and help you to devise your investment strategies which would help you to create wealth without taking a high risk.

    Warren Buffet
    Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway
    30 MOST POPULAR wARREN BUFFETT'S QUOTES ON INVESTING
    30 MOST POPULAR WARREN BUFFETT’S QUOTES ON INVESTING

    “Rule No. 1: Never lose money. Rule No 2: Never forget Rule No. 1.”

    The first and the foremost rule for investing according to Warren Buffet is that you should never lose your money in investing and that we should never forget this, is the rule no. 2. Most people enter stock market and lose money for various reasons. It could be not knowing the businesses, expensive valuation, buying without research, penny stocks, etc. According to him, one can invest in low-cost index funds without taking the risk and still get good returns from that passive investing.

    “I will tell you the secret of getting rich on Wall Street. You try to be greedy when others are fearful, and try to be fearful when others are greedy.”

    The fundamental investment principle is to buy low and sell high. But people generally do the opposite and hence they lose money. If we follow this rule and invest when others are fearful and de-invest when others are entering the market at high valuations, then we can make huge profits.

    “Money is not everything. Make sure you earn a lot before speaking such nonsense.”

    Money isn’t important is the statement which you hear from people who don’t have it. Rich people always value money. When people love is more important than money, then its the wrong comparison they are making. Can you choose between your two kids? No right, so money and love do not stand at opposite sides. You can have both in your life, in abundance.

    “I always knew I was going to be rich. I don’t think I ever doubted it for a minute.”

    The law of attraction and manifestation works. The beliefs which you hold, become part of your sub-conscience mind and they lead to making the choices. That’s why no matter how much financial knowledge you get, if your money blueprints or beliefs are limited, then you might end making wrong choices. Hence along with the financial knowledge, the belief that you would achieve success and prosperity would play a bigger role in making you rich.

    “If you don’t find a way to earn money while you sleep, then you will work until you die.”

    Passive income is necessary to reduce dependency on one primary of income like salary income or business income. The money saved, must bWell e invested appropriately to create passive investment income to begin with and then explore options to hustle based on your skillset.

    “If you cannot control your emotions, you cannot control your money.”

    Well, this statement however daunting is true, most of the time it matters of the heart that rules the head. We end up making investment decisions which we regret later. Having a high emotional quotient is very important to make sound financial decisions.

    “Price is what you pay, value is what you get.”

    When one is investing in the blue-chip company then the pricing factor should not be the primary aspect of decision making. If the company is providing value to the shareholders even if the price is expensive it doesn’t matter.

    “In the business world, the rear view mirror is always clearer that the windshield.”

    With hindsight, we would all do things differently.With hindsight, we would all do things differently. Experience is the best teacher, it teaches us valuable lessons through mistakes.

    “Never depend on single income, make investment to create second income.”

    This is so true in today’s times when jobs are uncertain and businesses are hit due to the Covid-19 lockdown situation. Some say the worst is yet to come. Let’s gear up to the challenges ahead by creating sufficient liquid funds and alternate sources of income to support our families in these tough times.

    “Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving.”

    Pay yourself first and then to others. That’s called financial discipline. This step helps you to create huge investment corpus and helps to keep the lifestyle creeps at bay. It also helps to give frugally and mindfully which is the important trait of most of the self made billionaires in the world.

    “Rich comes from not knowing what you’re doing.”

    When you know things, there is comfort. When you don’t know things, then there is anxiety. Always know where your money goes. Whether it gets lost to make you broke or grows to make your life rich and comfortable. You must take steps to align your finances to help you get that peace of mind

    “The stock market is a device for transferring money from the impatient to patient.”

    Wealth accumulation takes time. Time demands patience. Patience demands perseverance and perseverance demands commitment. Commitment demands will power and will power demands focus. Focus demands determination and determination demands goal setting. So if your goal is wealth accumulation then practice the above traits.

    “Our favorite period for holding is forever.”

    Long term investment must be made with the money which you don’t require for decades. This is sure shot way to build capital and reduce taxes, as you do not churn your portfolio.

    “Diversification is a protection against ignorance. It makes little sense for those who know what they’re doing.”

    When you know the businesses and the investments are made in your circle of influence then it makes little sense to diversify. You can make huge bets on it nad take advantage of the growing company and heap the benefits.

    “Sound investing can make you very wealthy, if you’re not in too big a hurry.”

    Do not invest in penny stocks if you haven’t done your research well and it is within the circle of competence. There is euphoria in the market, as we just witnessed the best investing quarter (Apr-Jun 20) in the last 11 years for both Sensex and Nifty and due to which even penny stocks are running at 52 weeks high. But not all penny stocks are here to stay, only the brokers get rich from your trading. You lose on the transaction costs, brokerage, and taxes too which many don’t calculate. This could be very detrimental to your finances. Think twice about it.

    “The best investment you can make, is an investment in yourself. The more you learn, the more you’ll earn.”

    Invest in self, because who else would have best interests other than you yourself. Strive for excellence and success would be yours.
    Successful people are exceptionally wealthy.

    Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

    “Only invest in simple businesses’ that you understand.”

    When we invest in something which we do not understand, then we are not sure and we can make mistakes. We invest our hard-earned money to make a better fortune and not to lose it. Hence it’s important that we know and are 100% sure that we don’t put our money in businesses, stocks, financial products which we don’t understand. Have you invested in complex financial products and are wondering what when wrong. Don’t wonder be sure and invest and then sit tight.

    “The happiest people do not necessarily have the best things. They simply appreciate the things they have.”

    Life is making the best use of what you have. If you always keep chasing for what you want rather than taking some time to enjoy what you already have, then you might be unhappy. Choose happiness by being grateful for the things you have, then pull up the horses to follow your dreams. This is true for money also. No matter how much money you have. Enjoy it and be grateful and then aspire for more. Manage the money you already have to create the money mindset for creating more.

    “Decide a business is worth investing in because it will last, not because it’s doing well right now.”

    When the markets are soaring and everyone is talking about the tips to invest in stocks, do not buy on recommendations, study before investing, research well, and only invest in businesses you understand and do not get into momentum stocks.

    “Much success is attributed to inactivity. Most investors cannot resist the temptation to constantly buy and sell.”

    The most successful investors are ones who buy thinking long term and just forget about it. Just by buying and holding blue chip companies like Apple, Facebook, Reliance, HDFC Bank, TCS, etc. for the next 10 years has the potential to give you handsome returns or if you are risk averse just invest in the index fund and continue holding it. Do not invest in stock market for speculation.

    “If a business does well, the stock market is bound to follow”

    The most successful investors are ones who buy thinking long term and just forget about it. Just by buying and holding blue chip companies like Reliance, HDFC Bank, TCS, etc. for the next 10 years has the potential to give you handsome returns or if you are risk averse just invest in the index fund and continue holding it. Do not invest in stock market for speculation.

    “Chains of habit are too light to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken”

    Chains of habits are too difficult to break, especially procrastination. It robs the time and we are left with nothing much on hand. Are you struggling to save atleast 10-15% of income per month or say to yourself that you will starting budgeting next month, or still thinking of reading a book on personal finance, then evaluate the habit of putting things to tomorrow and start today.

    “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago”

    That’s the power of compounding, just as a seed has a potential of growing into fruit bearing tree, which csn be enjoyed for generations, similarly long term systemic investments can lead to generational wealth. Think about it.

    “The difference between successful and really successful people, is that really successful people almost say no to almost everything.”

    Really successful people know that the resources are limited, especially time, and hence they value their time, and say almost no to everything.

    “The most important quality of an investor is temperament not intellect”

    The retail psychology is that buy when the market is up and sell when the market is tanking. Actually the reverse i. e. Buy when the market is low and sell when the market is on all-time high, makes you more money, and helps you accumulate wealth. Separate yourself from the tribe mentality and get the right temperament. The best time to make an investment is now.

    “The investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

    Invest in learning and learn to make your own investment decisions, without the help or tips of friends, relatives, sales agent, advisors, brokers, media, print, etc. Be self-reliant.

    “It’s better to hang out with people who are better than you. Pick out associates whose behavior is better than yours and you’ll drift in that direction.”

    It’s said that you are the average of the top 5 people you interact with or spend the most time. Couldn’t agree more with this quote. Up the curve. Get more from life.

    “Opportunities come infrequently. When it rains gold, put out the bucket, not the thimble.

    Opportunities once identified should be seized in. When the stock market is bleeding in red, that’s the time to put your money into good quality stocks which are fundamentally strong and in the businesses you understand and reap the profits when the tide turns its way.

    Hope you enjoyed reading this, let me know in the comments what you you think about this. Hit the subscribe button to read more of such articles.

    Ms Wise (financial Coach)

    Ms Wise is a financial coach. She is a content writer for a personal finance blog. She is a chartered accountant with 15+ years of experience in the financial services industry. She loves to share her experiences with money management and personal finance. She shares great tips on saving, investing, and spending money wisely which would assist you in achieving financial freedom.

    Download her 30-Day Effective Money Management Challenge With A Daily Planner Template Freebie to elevate your financial health.

    You can reach her via email mswise@beingfinancialsavvy.com

  • 10 Powerful Money affirmations

    Have you ever tried doing affirmations. They actually work. 

    Try out yourself to believe it. They are the best way to attract wealth. Affirmations with a gratitude mindset will create a multiplier effect. They are instrumental in receiving abundance in your life.  Try out these 10 Powerful Money Affirmations everyday to create a positive money mindset and attract wealth in your life. Never ever live paycheck to paycheck. Release your financial worries. Elevate your financial health.

     

     

     

    Why Affirmations are powerful?

    Money affirmations work because when you say it in your mind and create a positive thought about money, your thoughts sink in and you subconsciously attract the people and do the necessary actions to make it work. Money affirmations change your money mindset. It transforms from a scarcity mindset to a wealth creation mindset. They help to let go of your limiting beliefs and believe you can have abundance in every aspect of your life, including money. The things which you consider important are the ones which you choose that stay in our lives. Money also deserves that importance for it to stay with you. Have a money mindset. Practice this and in no time receive a fat credit in your account. Make an affirmation that everything you ever spend comes back to you multiplied. You are the owner and money listens to you.

    Money affirmations for everyday

    1. I am a money magnet
    2. I will receive a big amount of money this month
    3. I always have more than enough money for all that I ever need or desire
    4. Every penny that I spend comes back to me multiplied.
    5. Everyday in every way, I receive more & more money.
    6. I love money and money loves me.
    7. I am attracting all the money I need to live my life to the fullest.
    8. My bank account is overflowing with money.
    9. Money is rooted in good and leads to a peaceful life.
    10. Money and spirituality can co-exist.

    Suggested Readings for creating money mindset

    The law of attraction works. Have you read the worldwide bestseller book ‘The Secret‘ by Rhonda Byrne. The book “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind: Mastering the Inner Game of Wealth” by T. Harv. Eker. 

    You can hear it on audible too for free, because listening is the new reading. 

    If you are not into hearing books yet, then read it on Kindle which is easily available on Amazon site using this link.

  • American Express Platinum Charge Card review – India

    I got this PREMIUM METAL card in January 2020 and since it has been 6 months, I thought of reviewing it.

    MUST HAVE PREMIUM CARD – AMERICAN EXPRESS PLATINUM CHARGE CARD

    Brief background

    Why this card?

    American Express Cards are the best cards in recent times, they have rolled so many offers in times where other premium cards have devalued their points or limited their offers. It is a must-have if you are good at handling plastic money. I always say this as the disclaimer – use credit cards only if you are savvy with your finances and pay all the dues in full. Even if you default once, then the benefits diminish. However, if you manage to pay that part, you cannot imagine the amount of savings the card can offer.

    Before telling that, I want to tell you that a charge card is different from credit card in many ways like you don’t get a predefined limit on your card, you have to pay the outstanding amount in full each month, usually has annual fees, etc.

    The annual fees of this card are Rs. 60000+GST which comes with the welcome gift of 1,00,000 membership reward points or Rs. 40,000 Taj vouchers. This card is for the higher-income bracket of the self-employed and salaried class.

    Since I had an American Express Platinum Travel card and they had rolled an offer for upgrade, which made me eligible for 1,25,000 sign up bonus points which accrued after the spend of Rs. 90000 in first 90 days. Now, because of the Covid-19 situation, they had extended this period by 3 more months, but I had already completed my eligible spending.

    Quick update: The spending criteria are Rs. 50,000 now. Best time to upgrade.

    I took 2 supplementary cards along with this card and extended the higher tier benefits to them too.

    The sign-up bonus could be used for my travel hacking to airline or hotel partners. Also It gives me flexibility to have greater spends and access to premium benefits.

    Exclusive Offers in last 6 months

    Insurance Offer

    Get 5000 bonus points on spends of insurance of above Rs. 50000

    Double the points. Double the value offer

    Double Rewards: 2X on eligible spends and 6X for international spends.

    Everyday Spend offer

    For everyday purchases, get 100% cashback upto Rs. 18000 of spends.

    Supplementary Card

    Amazon Gift Voucher worth ₹1500, for 4 cards

    Utilities Offer

    Pay your utilities bills and earn up to Rs.15,000 bonus points per month

    5X Rewards Multiplier Offer

    Earn on Fashion, Essentials, Electronics and Beauty & Wellness categories for select partners.

    Other offers

    Flat 5% instant discount* at Croma every Wednesday.

    Get 15%* off on celebrity nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar’s consultation

    Exclusive wellbeing and healthcare need related offers

    Exclusive discounts of up to ₹10,000 on OnePlus

    35000 Bonus points on booking at The Postcard Hotels in Goa

    Bonus points on purchase at Bestcollegeart.com

    25% discount while ordering Taj delicacies on QMIN

    Save ₹50,000 on the joining fee at The Quorum

    Get upto Rs 2.5 lacs off on Audi

    Get up to 15% off every time you fly Vistara

    Get up to 45% off on health check ups and consultations

    Complementary Unlimited Access To Lounges

    Like any premium card you get complimentary unlimited access to domestic Lounges, exclusive entry to Amex Lounges, Priority Pass Lounges (yourself and one supplementary cardholder), and Delta lounges.

    Complimentary Golf Course Access & Lessons

    Enjoy premium access to leading golf courses across multiple cities for open golf courses. You and your Supplementary Cardmembers can access professional golf lessons at various courses

    Get fast-tracked to the higher tiers of Marriott Bonvoy, Taj InnerCircle..

    I used this and got upgraded to

    • <strong>Taj InnerCirle Gold</strong>
    • <strong>Marriott Bonvoy Gold</strong>
    • <strong>Hilton Honours Gold</strong>
    • <strong>Radisson Rewards Gold</strong>
    • <strong>Shangri-la Golden Circle Jade Tier</strong>

    These benefits are applicable for supplementary card holders as well. Isn’t it awesome?

    Other Exclusive benefits

    Eligible for customized Term Life Insurance Solution Future Generali India Life Insurance and customized personal accident policy for self and family (which I purchased).

    Exclusive use of their concierge services which offers list of unique & exclusive services on Platinum Charge Card which caters to Lifestyle services, Home Services (India), Medical services (worldwide), and auto assistance (metro cities India). They have tie-ups with fine dining restaurants.

    Invitation for concert tickets to sporting events tickets and even meet and greet with celebrities.

    Complimentary EAZYDINER PRIME membership which entitles to 25% to 50% off at over 500+ Premium Restaurants.

    Zero lost Card liability internationally.

    Free for life, American Express Travel card as a companion card as long as I hold this card. 

    Recommendation

    To summarise this is a lifestyle card. It demands higher fees but the benefits can recover the fees maybe 2X or 3X times depending on your usage and from the value, you derive from the card. This is the only card that gives sign-up bonuses in India unlike aboard where they use it extensively for travel hacking. These points can be transferred to airline and hotel partners to avail of luxurious travel.

    Use this link to get additional 10,000 bonus points for your platinum charge card and unlock the world of luxurious lifestyle now.

    Blogging is difficult. I am learning how to grow my blog with Neha from bloggingmadeeasier.com. In case if you are interested – learn how to grow your blog. Join this amazing challenge here.

    Ms Wise (financial Coach)

    Ms Wise is a financial coach. She is a content writer for a personal finance blog. She is a chartered accountant with 15+ years of experience in the financial services industry. She loves to share her experiences with money management and personal finance. She shares great tips on saving, investing, and spending money wisely which would assist you in achieving financial freedom.

    Download her 30-Day Effective Money Management Challenge With A Daily Planner Template Freebie to elevate your financial health.

    You can reach her via email mswise@beingfinancialsavvy.com

  • 15 ways to increase savings with young kids

    Having a child is one of the most life-changing events in one’s life, saying this would not be an understatement. It has an impact on the decisions related to home, its decor, travel, career, and most importantly on finances. As parents, we want to give our children the best start in life, and the best is usually in most cases assumed as new things. One could go overboard with buying the cradle, cot bed, stroller, lots of toys, soft toys, different feeding bottles, sippy-cups, play gyms, and much other fancy stuff. Many items are known only when we become parents, even our parents had not heard of them.

    Most parents notice a decrease in the savings, as the expenses shoot up drastically and for few others, it is a wakeup call to align their finances. Savings with kids can be challenging but with mindful spending and intentional living, it’s not difficult. Let’s explore some of the ways to increase savings with kids aged 0 to 5 years to stay on the path to financial independence and early retirement (FIRE).

    1. Modern Cloth diapering – While traditional langots are used as cloth diapers but now most new parents have switched to disposable diapers. These synthetic diapers though convenient are quite heavy on pockets and are not eco-friendly. Now modern cloth diapers (MCD) are wash and wear diapers that have less harmful chemicals, make it easier to potty train, and helps you to save a significant amount of money. There are many types of MCDs such as pre-folds, flats, fitted, covers, pockets, all in one (AIO), all in twos, training pants, bamboo, microfiber, hemp & charcoal inserts amongst others. Indian brands include Bumpadum, Superbottoms, Mummamia, Easy Feel, Bumberry, etc. and international brands include Alva, Thirties, Blueberry, Grovia, Bambino, BumGenuis, etc.
    2. Breastfeeding and pumping milk – World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) recommend early initiation of breastfeeding within 1 hour of birth. They recommend exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months of life and continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age and beyond. There are natural ways to increase breast milk supply. Many new moms don’t know this resulting in stopping breastfeeding and switching to powdered milk. These powdered milk are quite expensive and less nutritious compared to breast milk. Breast milk is known as liquid gold and it’s free, moreover, the composition of the breast milk changes as per the child’s age and needs. When the child is sick, the breast produces antibodies to help fight infection. Cosleep with your baby to breastfeed easily. Mothers can pump milk and store it for more than 6 months in the freezer, if they need to return to work or while they are away for a brief period. Popular electric breast pumps include Medela, Spectra, and Lansinoh.
    3. Babywearing – You need not spend on strollers and buggy, as babywearing carriers are the best way to keep your baby with you and also helps in keeping your hands free. You can wear your baby for daily walks, travel, parks, gardens, and even do yoga and exercise (under expert supervision) while wearing your baby. Many types of carriers are available like ring slings, pouch, soft structured carriers, mehdai, toddler carriers, compact, onbu, grow with me, etc. Always buy ergonomic carriers that suits your needs. Indian brands include Anmol Baby Carriers, Soul Slings, Easyfeel, and international brands Tula, Boba among others.
    4. Baby-led weaning – You just need a booster seat or high chair, to begin with, infants start eating finger foods and pre-loaded spoons on their own with little encouragement. Even water can be given in steel, silver, or copper utensils. You don’t need to spend on baby food processors, BPA free bottles & containers, sippy cups, fancy cutlery, processed baby foods, etc. Buy organic wherever possible and give only homemade stuff without mashing.
    5. Avoid packaged baby food – Many advertisements make you feel that your growing child require packaged food right from the time when they are introduced solids. Later, they make you believe that protein and calcium drinks are very essential for their growing years but it’s not true, just look up the proportion of sugar in the ingredients list and you will understand that they do more harm than good. Processed sugars in a high proportion (30-50%) are not healthy for anyone, forget about young kids.
    6. Buy open-ended and wooden toys – To ensure the child brain development, you should invest in open-ended toys, as these enhance creativity and encourage eye-hand coordination and gross motor skills, which is highly essential for the brain development of the child. In battery-operated toys, plastic and musical toys, there isn’t much for the kids to do. Open-ended toys include Lego toys, magnetic tiles, Jenga blocks and other wooden toys easily available on Amazon, Flipkart, Firstcry, etc. These open-ended toys last long and can be passed on as preloved.
    7. Buy or use preloved stuff – Earlier families used to keep the clothes and give it the newborns of siblings, not because they couldn’t afford it, but because the used cloth is soft on the baby’s skin. From car seats to books, you can get good stuff at reasonable prices on WhatsApp group, second hand and preloved Facebook groups for all ages. Many times new or sparingly used clothes, toys, etc. are available at attractive prices as their babies have outgrown. You too can sell your unused toys, books, babywearing carriers stuff, and save some money in exchange.
    8. Low key birthday parties – Birthday parties need not be extravagant. Nowadays new parents spend a bomb on theme-based parties, beaches parties, McDonald’s parties, etc. You could plan for a simple celebration with few friends and relatives at home with polite messages to guests to not get any gifts. Nowadays kids have too many toys, colors, books, etc. and somewhere the value of things is disappearing. You too, might not like to encourage the concept of giving return gifts. The focus on creating memories, and having a great time is more valuable. You can use the money saved for traveling or investing.
    9. Traveling with kids – Kids are very flexible, hence traveling while they are young helps them to explore the various cultures, cuisines and meet different people. Airlines charge only 10% for infants below 2 years, with no extra seat. Besides, till about 12 years, you don’t need to pay extra charges for separate beds in hotels, as they are provided free of cost. The tickets to the attractions, amusement parks are less expensive or free for kids.
    10. Doing activities at home – Kids do not always need expensive toys to play.  You can search for DIY activities and games for toddlers and preschoolers that can be done at home to keep the kids occupied. You can also get fun engaging and educational worksheets for kids. They are happy to do simple activities at home like transferring items from one container to another, newspaper arts, playing with kitchen utensils, scissor activities, and you too can enjoy activity time.
    11. Playing games – Taking kids to malls, shopping centers would increase expenses on gaming, amusement activities, and shopping. These give momentary happiness and increase unnecessary consumption. Kids should have less screen time and play indoor games such as ludo, snakes and ladders, junior monopoly to understand money at an early age, etc. and outdoor games like football, basketball, cricket, sand games at beaches, parks, open places, etc. Most of these activities are less expensive and enhance the concentration and gross motor skills of kids.
    12. Education and Learning – Many parents want to put their kids in the most expensive school just to fit in with peers and society. Do not get in that pressure, do your research and then send to the school whose fees and curriculum suits your future aspirations for your kids and not to show off. Also, there is no rush to put your kid in playschool when the kid is barely 18 months old. Every day and in every way the kid is constantly learning, so don’t think that only that school or its methods are the best. Many parents are now open to the concept of homeschooling their children. Be flexible and open to new ideas.
    13. Green Parenting – One must plant your own fresh and organic micro-greens and vegetables by making your own compost at home. This helps to save on groceries, our kids eat lesser toxins, get good health, and learn about nature, waste management early on. There is excitement to see the new bud or even a leaf. One must try to become a home gardener and/or home harvester in a small way.
    14. Adopt frugality and minimalism – If you already have lots of stuff around then frugality and minimalism is an excellent solution for saving money. You would not need that extra cupboard or extra room to store unnecessary items. Fewer things mean less stress. Decluttering helps to save money, creates more space, increases creativity, and imaginative power. Kids learn to make the best use of what’s available. Buy only essential items Do not make an impulse purchase based on any recommendation, research, and then buy keeping in mind the need and longevity of that item.
    15. Make kids financially savvy – Talk about money, budgeting, saving, investing with kids right when they are young to make them savvy with finances as personal finance is not taught in schools. When they understand the value of money then, they would not make unnecessary demands and save money themselves and invest it for their future.

    Blogging is difficult. I am learning how to grow my blog with Neha from bloggingmadeeasier.com. In case if you are interested – learn how to grow your blog. Join this amazing challenge here.

  • 7 must read personal finance books

    Financial Literacy is the starting point for wealth creation

    Financial literacy is not taught in schools and colleges however it is vital as sustenance. In these tough times because of Covid-19 pandemic, where there is lot of insecurity about jobs, many people have loans to repay, businesses are suffering and the entire model of work is changing, it is one most essential skill to learn. Money management is everyone’s business, as income is not equal to wealth. One may earn a lot of money but saving and investing it rightly requires financial know-how. One has to self-reliant and do not depend on advisors, agents, bankers, friends etc. to tell them where to invest money and manage it. I have listed seven must read personal financial books, which enhanced my financial knowledge and I am sure it will enhance your knowledge and ignite your passion for learning more.

    1. Rich Dad Poor Dad – This book by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter, changed my perspective about personal finance. I was following a social norm – study hard, go to college, find a job, keep the job and retire. But this book has changed by vision. When you read it, you will understand why I can’t recommend enough. You can get the book here or https://amzn.to/30UEW57
    2. Your money or your life – This book by Joseph R. Dominguez, Monique Tilford, and Vicki Robin, teaches us about Nine Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence. It gives lot of perspective for people aspiring to achieve FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early). Well who wants to retire at 60, the new retirement age is 40. You can get the book here or https://amzn.to/37KVKgu
    3. Let’s talk money: You’ve Worked Hard for It, Now Make It Work for You – This book by Monika Halan, talks about personal finance from an Indian perspective. As the title suggests, we have worked hard for money, now make it work for you. This is very important aspect of personal finance as there is a limit to work hard, smart work is the thing. This book also highlights the common mistakes people make in handling money. You can get the book here or https://amzn.to/2YNCfQ3
    4. I will teach you to be rich – This book by Ramit Sethi, is written by an Indian who is based in United States, however his concepts from personal finance perspective are amazing. According to him, people try to save penny but do not concentrate on big wins which can save thousands perhaps lakhs of dollars. His scripts provide a ready reference material which provide instant gains in various financial areas. I have benefited from this book. This book is for keeps. You can get the book here or https://amzn.to/2NcRv3A
    5. The Intelligent Investor – This book by Benjamin Graham, is the bible for investors, how much I say is less for this book. It is the most widely acclaimed book on value investing. Those who follow Warren Buffet, the billionaire and legendary investor, would know that Benjamin Graham was his mentor. You teaches you framework for sound investments keeping emotions at bay. You can get the book here or https://amzn.to/3dhT9vo
    6. Quit like a millionaire : No Gimmicks, Luck, Or Trust Fund Required – This book by Bryce Leung and Kristy Shen, is most recommended for FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) enthusiasts. Initial few pages might look like a drag but it shows that how coming from a humble background how one can retire early and pursue travelling dreams. Sounds unreal, well read the book here or https://amzn.to/2UTkY6Y
    7. Secrets of the Millionaire mindset: Mastering the Inner Game of Wealth – This book by T. Harv Eker, talks about money mindset as no matter how knowledgeable you are about personal finance; it won’t work for you unless your money blueprints are clear. It explains why some people attract money and others struggle with money, and through some effort you can consciously change your money blueprint. I recently finished this book and would definitely recommend for reading it at least once. You can get it here or https://amzn.to/2YMo2D7

    I hope that the post is helpful to kickstart and accelerate your financial freedom and wealth creation journey.

    Disclaimer – I would be getting a small amount as commission if any book purchase is made using the links above.

    Blogging is difficult. I am learning how to grow my blog with Neha from bloggingmadeeasier.com . In case if you are interested – learn how to grow your blog. Join this amazing challenge here.

  • 20 ways in which salaried class employees loses money

    1. Claiming company allowances and compensatory leave – Many employees do not read the fine print of the HR policies where the details of eligibility of claiming the allowances is given. Company allowances could be for travel allowance, cash allowance, meal allowance, stay allowance, per diems, compensatory off etc.
    2. Not claiming for Income tax rebates and tax allowances – Especially freshers do not understand the eligible contributions for 80C, 80D and other allowances under section 10. These directly assist in reducing the taxable income, and one must max all the possible sections to reduce the taxable salary and taxes.
    3. Charity – Most companies come up with the charity & other schemes where they ask employees to raise funds, many times they don’t provide tax certificate u/s 80G. If you have contributed, then you should get the tax certificate to claim tax deduction or else contribute to charity of your choice at individual level where you can get tax benefit.
    4. Attendance regularization – Many times employees forget to regularize their attendance, resulting in the loss of payment or reduction in leaves and entitled leave encashments.
    5. Salary slip reconciliation – Sometimes there can be some errors in salary credits, deductions, taxes etc. Check your salary payslip every month.
    6. Reimbursement claims – Many times, employees go out of office on tours, conferences, trips etc. on personal expenses and then forget to claim the reimbursement of those expenses and end up hurting their pockets.
    7. Not contributing to retirement – Especially young employees, wish to have more in hand salary component and hence do not opt for Employee Provident Fund (EPF) scheme and Employee’s Pension Scheme (EPS) contribution. More salary component means more expenditure in most of the cases in form of more taxes and lifestyle expenses.
    8. Health insurance – Most employers provide health insurance for your immediate family and also competitive rates for your parents without waiting period. If your parents do not have their insurance then it is best to enroll with such schemes, however read the fine print as there could be co-pay clause.
    9. Preventive health check-ups – Employees do not opt for health check-ups regularly due to procrastination and timely detection of lifestyle diseases such as diabetics, hypertension etc. goes unnoticed.
    10. Subscriptions & tie-ups – Some employers have tie-ups with certain retail chain shops, gyms, hotels, etc. Many employees do not smartly utilize this benefits to gain discounts, etc.
    11. Cheaper loans and competitive interest rates – Banks and other financial services employees get benefit of subsided home loans and competitive interest rates sometimes as low as 1- 3.5% against the market rate of 8.5%. Most employees do not use that benefit for fear of lock-in period.
    12. Advance salary – Some employees do not avail the benefit of advance salary when in need, they take personal loan which is at higher interest rate, thereby losing money on interest costs.
    13. Salary accounts – Many companies have salary accounts with top banks such as HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Citibank etc. which provide many benefits for corporate customers, many employees do not leverage that relationship and go for costlier options.
    14. Salary structure – Before signing the acceptance letter, one should study the salary structure and do the tax planning in the form of car lease, food coupons, etc. to get maximum benefit. Some employers allow employees to choose their salary structure once Cost to the Company (CTC) is fixed. There are other insurance which employers provide like disability, accident and loss of pay which differ from organization to organization.
    15. Negotiation – Most of the employees and largely women employees, fear to ask for a raise or negotiate the salary when the offer is made or during appraisals. Some lose out of joining bonus, buy out the notice period, some on designation and certain perks associated with it like company car, driver allowance, car lease etc. which could assist in reducing taxes. Make a strong case and negotiate while on job or seeking the job.
    16. Gratuity – Gratuity is tax free component of salary which is received once you complete 5 years of service. But did you know that if the employee completes 4 years 240 days, then too, they are eligible for that payout. Read your HR policies for further details.
    17. Resignation – Some employees do not negotiate the joining period and buy out by the new employer and also do not negotiate to waive off the notice period or salary recovery from the old employer, ending up paying for notice period shortfall.
    18. Severance packages – Most employees do not negotiate for severance packages if the terms with company gets bitter and they are asked to go. You have nothing to lose, once you are out of job, understand that.
    19. Transfer of EPF, Pension accounts – Many employees do not transfer the PF once they leave the organization, as the result lakhs of rupees are gone unclaimed. Also the interest on PF stops crediting in your account after 3 years if there is no credit by your employer. Many do not know this fact. In case something happens to them, their family is deprived of their hard earned money.
    20. Retirement benefits – Some employees do not claim their retirement benefits like insurance or medical facilities, superannuation, pension, gratuity, etc.

    Hope these pointers were helpful. Since you might have received your salary credit, this may assist you to make better decisions. Let me know your feedback.

  • American Express Travel Platinum Card Review

    As I love travelling and good hotel experience, I added this card in my portfolio of various credit cards.

    Product Features:

    Milestone:

    Spend Rs. 1,90,000 in a year and get Travel Vouchers worth more than Rs. 7,700
    Spend Rs. 4,00,000 in a year and additionally get Travel Vouchers worth more than Rs. 11,800. Get a Taj Experiences E-Gift Card worth Rs. 10,000 from the Taj, SeleQtions and Vivanta Hotels

    Annual Fee:

    First Year fee: Rs. 3,500 plus taxes NIL, if you apply using this link
    Second Year onwards : Rs. 5,000 plus taxes

    Key Benefits:

    2 Supplementary Cards at no additional cost
    24/7 Card Related Assistance
    Zero Lost Card Liability

    Highlights:

    • Enjoy 4 complimentary visits per year (limited to one complimentary visit per quarter) to airport lounges across India.
    • Enjoy complimentary membership to Priority Pass, with the US$ 99 annual membership fee waived off exclusively for you.

    Overall this card is excellent.

    Pro-tip: Use this card till the target of Rs. 4,00,000 is met.

    As per my experience, the points earned in this card cannot be merged with American express rewards card platinum charge card, as its a different category of card.

    American express gives a very good user experience and excellent customer support service and you should have this card if you love travelling.

    What are you waiting for.

    Apply here.