Recently, I got a chance to talk with a lady from a small town of Rajasthan. She was in her mid fifties from an average Indian family. During discussions, we introduced each-other; she was a house-wife and her children were studying in school and colleges, and husband had a ready-made cloth shop in same town.
I asked her how’s life in small towns and how they are fighting inflation. She answered, after thinking for awhile. We have learnt how to live in adverse situations. She said that an ideal house-wife is the best example of a good fund manager. I asked her, how?
She smiled and said, many times in life, she has faced situations when she was left with lesser money than her monthly home budget. In such situation, she has to take care of the needs of her children, their education, her husband and other daily needs along with food, gas and medical expenses. Her children being her first priority,she has to manage their other expenses as well. She has come out of many difficult situations.
She told me that she gets Rs 12,000 every month from her husband for home expenses. Out of this she spends Rs 7,000 for grocery items, Rs 2,000 for children fees, Rs 1,000 for gas laundry, etc. and Rs 2,000, she keeps for daily expenses like vegetables and medicines, etc.
How Inflation is Troubling Her?
She told me that 2-3 years back, Rs 10,000 was sufficient for a month, and many times she even saved some amount out these. However, with Rs 12,000 it is getting very difficult day by day. Grocery items are very expensive, vegetable's prices are skyrocketing, gas, medical, travelling and all day to day expenses are costlier. Apart from other expenses now she has to pay for Mobile bills and Dish Tv also.
How is She tackling the Inflation
“It’s a grand mother’s trick” she told me winking at her eyes. She said, earlier she used to buy vegetables at once for four days now she goes to market everyday and buy fresh vegetables, doing so also ensures variety in items and helps to reduce wastages due to prolonged storage. She purchases grocery items for 20-22 days. She said that by cutting ration for 10 days she’s able to keep some money in hand. She doesn't spend this money, but it gives her some flexibility in planning her budget. When the ration is about to finish, she uses that money to buy things from nearby small grocery shops, and hence it enables her to stretch the ration for one full month. I asked her, that she is managing 20 day rations for one-month requirement, isn't she is undercutting food in dining table? She laughed and said no son whatever I am saying, is the story of every home, ask your mother about it, and you’ll get the same answer. Earlier, I used to buy expensive non seasonal vegetables and fruits, now I have curtailed it, and this doesn’t mean I have compromised with quality or quantity. It is pure management! If I can serve more tasty and nutrition food, than pizzas at half its price, why not I should save money? If potato or tomato can be cooked for more variety of delicious and nutritious food, why should I buy more of beans?
We were now about to reach our destination, but i was amazed to see the managerial quality of a house wife. At last, she said bye to me, and we were on our way. I reached home and told the whole story to my wife. She laughed and said that’s a part of our daily life, we have to manage a lot more than that but all are not to disclose. She smiled and left the room to the kitchen. I thanked God that we don’t have to manage home budgets, and we have got a better manager at our home!
About the author:
Amit Sethi is an MBA (Fin) graduate. He has spent 8 years in Equity research and Stock broking sector. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org