Saving money has gained importance in today's recession-hit economy. Recession has struck almost all walks of life. Though most of the industries have fought the recession and brought back the economy on track, this has created a need to be more aware about your own money and how can you survive turbulent times ahead in life. There are a number of ways to save money. Here I present top 20 of them. The active ways of saving are:

1. Provident Fund. This is probably the safest and easiest way to save money. Most of the companies and countries provide various options to invest in provident fund. Some of the companies even offer 50% sharing of the premium amount. And by far, this is the only option which will continue at its same interest rates consistently. As people are involved, the interest rates are largely governed by appeasement policies. Hence it will never come down. And its savings will earn a lot of returns after considerable time. It is safe and reliable. One should consistently invest /save using this option even if your premium is small.

2. Insurance. This is another great way of saving money. However, the insurance policies must be chosen having investment portfolio. Your saving element should not go only to pay insurance premium. It should be parted equivalently to investment element. This will give a long term return. And it will give adequate insurance cover to your family in case of any eventuality. Most of the insurance companies now provide insurance cover for your property and other assets. This can be gainfully used as saving element over a longer period of time against natural calamities / disasters or untoward incidents.

3. Mutual Funds. Asset Management Companies have worked out various models to invest in stock markets. These companies are researching enough so that they can provide a consistent return to the individual who invests with them. Using this option you can avoid the dangers in exposing yourself to stock market and at the same time extract the benefits out of it to have a formidable saving element. Now a days, these companies even provide flexible systematic investment plans for individuals. These are again great saving option as the returns are consistent which was visible even in the recession times.

4. Government Bonds / Infrastructure Bonds. These are the instruments of saving created by Governments to sustain various welfare schemes and infrastructural development. Since Government is involved, it is quite reliable. It also provides tax rebates in various schemes, which becomes a saving element. Even at the cost of rising cost of living, Government will maintain these schemes. This was very evident in recent recession times, when Government provided stimulus packages to bail out Government schemes or projects.

5. Recurring Deposits. These are another great saving instruments provided by financial institutions like banks, postal departments etc. You have to regularly deposit pre-decided amount as per your convenience. After a stipulated time period, you get your money back with good interest. This can be automated with your salary. It is a great way to save for a limited time period as unlike other options enumerated above, the lock in period for your money is flexible.

The passive ways of saving are:

6. Planned shopping. You need to plan your shopping. Avoid going to supermarkets without a plan. You tend to over-purchase after going through lucrative options in the markets. Also, plan a bulk shopping. This may be the grocery requirement or office requirement. When you buy in bulk, you get discounts and your shopping expenses are reduced thereby resulting in saving. Try to stick to certain shops, which may provide discounts for your regular shopping. In a long run, it will definitely save money.

7. Avoid Credit Card. Credit cards are easy to use and you don't feel the cash crunch. This results in overspending. Even if you claim to review your credit card spending, you can not control it. And subsequently you get into a debt trap which eats away your saving element. If you avoid credit card, you become fully aware of the spending and you become conscious about saving. Use a debit card instead. Now a days, many financial institutions are providing rewards for using debit cards. This can again become your saving element.

8. Travel Booking. There are number of occasions when you have to travel either for family commitment or for business trips. A lot of money is spent on travel. If these travel schedules are fixed and planned, you can book the tickets in advance at much cheaper rates. This will not only save your money but also relieve you of the immense stress.

9. Fuel Costs. You can cut down on fuel costs by using public transport wherever possible. This will not only save money for you but also avoid congestion on roads. This will create safer and greener environment and a lot of money can further be saved from trying to waste money on congestion or bad environment related issues. If your office is close to your home, use cycles or just walk down. This can be a great exercise as well and can further save money on health products.

10. Use Computers. A large number of documents are printed, copied and stored thereby consuming not only space but also valuable money. If you organise these documents and make use of advanced computer technologies, it will save a lot of money. All the financial transactions / legal transactions can be done on computer. This will save a lot of money. Also, it will avoid tree cutting thereby creating green environment. You can store your documents, bills, contracts, agreements, articles etc in soft copies keeping adequate backup.

11. Electricity. Electricity forms an unavoidable part of everyone's life. Now a days a lot of gadgets are electricity hungry. You have to choose equipments and gadgets keeping an eye on electricity. The first and the foremost saving idea is to replace all normal bulbs / lights with CFL bulbs. This not only saves energy but also provide great light. Switch off television, other gadgets when not in use. When we use remote to switch off these equipments, they still consume some electricity. Switch off mobile chargers, laptops when not in use. As far as possible, use solar energy or other alternative energy which saves a lot of money.

12. Water. Most of us pay for the water we use, but are never aware about the water usage. You can cut down on water usage and effect savings. As far as possible, use alternative sources like rain water harvesting, bore wells, etc. This will also reduce the burden on public distribution system and effectively save a lot of money and efforts.

13. Phone. With lots of advancements, almost everyone has started using telephones. One has to really control the spending on telephones. It is alright that it is an effective communication tool. But its use can be restricted and used judiciously. Like public transport, public utilities like internet, social networking can be effectively utilised to cut down the telephone spending and effect considerable saving.

14. Eat at Home. Try and eat at home on most occasions. The food bills can be exorbitant. It's always good to change taste and break the routine. But it can be restricted. This will further regulate your eating habits and keep you healthy. A lot of saving can be accumulated when you are healthy.

15. Think before buying. Always think before you buy anything. Critically analyse whether the goods or services are really required. How often you use them? How frequently will you use them in future. Carefully considering the need, you can save a lot of money.

16. Hobbies. Cultivate good habits. With these habits, your time is spent creatively rather than wasting in some money intensive acts like drinking or smoking. This will be a great source of your mind occupation.

17. Natural Cares. Prevention is always better than cure. Use all the steps like exercising, meditation etc to keep yourself healthy. When you are healthy, you cut down on lots of medicines. Further, there are lots of natural cares available in the house or surrounding itself. These needs be acknowledged and used effectively under supervision. This will save a lot of money especially for elders.

18. Share. A lot of resources can be shared amongst peers, neighbours or communities. Sharing will create a great bonding and save on lots of money.

19. Dispose of garbage. Regularly dispose of unwanted materials in the house. We use newspapers, magazines. These once used, can be recycled. Similarly, other plastic, steel cartons or containers can be sold off for worthwhile value. This can be a good way of clearing your house and effecting saving.

20. Work from Home. Work from home either part time or full time. This will create a source of income which can go into saving element after your regular income is used for day-to-day needs. There are lots of opportunities on internet to earn money online or offline. A lot of them can be explored simultaneously to aid savings.