In the first post of this series, Personal finance: A topic for all, I enlisted the normal scenario for all the households – salary comes in and flows out faster than you can order books online…
Do you also have these feelings……I did :
- Where does my salary goes?
- Where did my Rs 20,000 per month increment disappears?
- Last month I got a bonus of Rs 50,000 — where did that disappear?
- Even a monthly salary of Rs 2,00,000 is not enough to live aaram se?
- Today is 24th….. 5/6/7 days more to go for the salary?
- Looking at leftover salary with disdain….. Rs 10,000 left from a salary of Rs 1,50,000 per month?
- Always looking for investment with returns and not having time and/or money for it?
Does any of the above or all sound like the situation you find yourself in? I experienced one or the other, at different stages of life – student, bachelor and then as a married guy. It is especially tough for those with kids and parent’s responsibility. I have the utmost respect for such people….but, if you are financially exposed, how can you do your best for your loved ones?
So, what did I do?
I calmed down and made a list of the following :
- Essentials expenses : All I need to live on a daily basis :
Rent, electricity, water, groceries, society maintenance, watchman, domestic help, cook, driver etc….,
- Not so necessary expenses : Good to have, may or may not improve my quality of life (personal choices) :
Netflix, Airtel DTH packages, Amazon prime subscription, cable, gym membership (if not regular), Newspapers and magazine subscriptions etc
> I have not read a newspaper in about 5 years – not to save money, but because I like to start my day on a positive note. I do not want to see another fraud, rape, politician news first thing in the morning.
- Luxuries : Any expense which did not pass the need vs want test :
Latest iPhone or other brand: Before i start, I use an iPhone… with a twist. My last iPhone lasted me for 4 years, the “new” one has been with me for 1.5 years already.
- Do I really need to buy a Rs 50,000 phone every 8-10 months?
- Interesting fact : Apple really likes you if you do. You see, customers like you helped Apple have a CASH balance of $285,000,000,000 (that’s $280 Billion CASH… Apple’s cash balance)
Car expense : road tax and fuel costs, insurance costs, driving and parking pains, maintenance costs (I personally prefer any car <Rs 5,00,000…. anything over is a luxury and for show off and ego satisfaction…..that too on Indian roads!!!!)
Branded clothes : Working for Flipkart and Amazon, in their Fashion business, I realized what a fool I was. I was paying Rs 2,500 for clothes, which do not even cost Rs 100 to produce. Worst thing, its the branding companies which make money, not those workers!!!!
Shopping on “Deal days” : Do you really need that phone or is the marketing ads making you buy things you do not need? For this step, I just remember what Warren Buffet says : “If you buy things you do not need, you will be selling things you need” – Link for Forbes, if you are interested.
Parties, Pubs or Discs, Sports Bars, Casual dining places, Coffee joints : I was amazed at how much I was spending going to these places without even thinking about it. What I got in return was :
- Over priced food,
- One time experience,
- Facebook/Instagram check in,
- Service – varies from place to place,
- Service charges, taxes, GST of various forms and types,
- Questionable quality time with friends/ family/ relatives,
- EGO boost (this is what it was for honestly!!).
Movies : I am super hesitant to go to a movie theater unless it is an exceptional movie (subjective definition). The total cost of a movie viewing could easily be my grocery bill for a 1-2 weeks…….. 4-5 weeks if the movie was in IMAX!!
This is not an exhaustive list. It was relevant for me, your’s might be very different.
Just knowing these numbers was a big wake up call for me. It made me realize – I was not earning less, I was spending way too much than I “needed” to.
What did you do this weekend?
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