Living a fun-filled and comfortable life during recession may sound unfeasible, but there are a few small things which I have done to live with ease, without compromising on the comforts.
When I was an intern earning a handful sum, I felt far more powerful than what I feel today when my pay cheques have prospered. Simply because I had no fear of tomorrow and I could spend the entire sum the way I wanted. Well cocooned in the comfort of living with my family, I didn’t have to bother about any rents and bills to be paid. The world seemed to be a better place. Indeed, it was, considering where I am standing today – on a crumbling economy. And I have to pay all my bills and rents and also somehow maintain the lifestyle I have got used to. It sounds a bit unfeasible, but there are a few small things which I have done to live with ease in these times of ever swelling recession, without compromising on the comforts.
I am currently living in Mumbai which is one of the most expensive cities to live in this country. So, my experiences and the parameters I have set to follow for myself during this difficult economic period will be useful for you, whether you are residing in this city or elsewhere in the country.
- Maintain a diary of daily finances: I had never done it before because there wasn’t any need. But now that I do, I realise that I had completely no idea about where my money used to fly. And towards the end of the month when I used to draw the last 1000 bucks from the ATM, all I did was to cringe, “yaar… pata nahi kahan chali jati hai salary.” So, even if you are buying a cigarette, write it down in your diary. At the end of every day, you will be able to chalk out all the unnecessary expenditure.
- Get up half an hour before your usual time: Seriously, in the last five years in Mumbai, I can count on my fingers how many times I have taken a local to reach office, when every single night I used to pledge that I will get up early and take a train to work. Public transport in all the major cities in this country is quite reliable. So, get up slightly before your usual time and instead of taking a cab or an auto, go for an AC bus or metro or train, if this is cheaper than driving your own vehicle. Metros and locals will also save a lot of your time.
- Eat breakfast at home: It all starts with waking a tad earlier than your usual getting up time. Don’t rush to work or college with an empty stomach and grab any junk on your way. Not only will you end up spending more, but your stomach will be hollering not-so-pleasant words at you. Even if you are one of those super-busy people, you can still manage a glass of milk or juice, some butter on bread, or fruits on the go.
- If you are a fashion-conscious person, go for sales or cheaper brands or fakes: Really, recession is not the time when any sane person would go for a wardrobe intervention. Still, if you want to buy new clothes and accessories, look at those online shopping portals with nicer, cheaper clothes, or wait for the sales, or go street shopping. Even I love buying clothes. But currently, I am not even looking at high street brands. I scout Colaba Causeway and Hill Road and Linking Road markets in Bandra to take my picks. Or, make-do with those fake Mango’s and Zara’s.
- Don’t cut on fun; have house parties: No matter how much I love spending my evenings in Blue Frog, Woodside Inn and Cafe Zoe, I need to find an alternative to fun. So, I call my friends over to my house, play our favourite numbers, cook some scrumptious food, buy booze from a local wine shop – and we are all set to rock the night. It is even better if you have one group with which you always hangout. Keep rotating the venue amongst the friends and party to your heart’s content.