Running a household could easily be among one of the most difficult jobs. And off late the difficulty quotient has only increased.
“I’ve been running the kitchen on the same allowance from my husband for the past 4 years. Till just a few months ago, I was able to manage without upsetting my budget,” said Bhuma Sachdeva (44).
A homemaker and mother of two sons, Sachdeva has always made sure that her family of four eats well. However, with prices of essential commodities spiralling, things seem to have turned awry.
“I’ve had to make a lot of adjustments on the dinner table. First, vegetables got expensive, so I substituted them with pulses. Now that even dal prices are soaring, I’m having a tough time managing the kitchen,” she said.
Interestingly, while newspapers have been quoting government data that inflation is on the wane, she said prices at the shops have been soaring for quite sometime.
Prices of pulses have more than doubled. The popular arhar variety has seen an increase of almost 80% with a kilogram costing Rs. 43 (July ‘08 price was Rs. 54/kg and July ‘09 price is Rs. 97/kg) more than it did last year.
The price of Urad has seen an increase of Rs. 31 and that of Moong has increased by Rs. 36 (an increase of 62% and 65% per kilo, respectively). No wonder the Sachdevas’ monthly budget exceeds by Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 4,000 beyond the allocated amount.
“Arhar is my favourite and I used to ask mom to cook it thrice a week. But it has gotten so expensive all of a sudden that I ask her to make it just once a week,” said Pranav Sachdeva, her younger son.
The housewife, who has been purchasing pulses from a retail shop in North Delhi for as long as she can remember, finds the slight discount the shopkeeper offers her of no use anymore.
“There are always little expenses that need to be taken care of around the house. Whatever little I saved on the discount I used to get per kilogram on pulses was utilised for something or the other. But now even that doesn’t help.”
An increase of roughly 38 per cent in price of edible oils has added to her woes.
“The price of my preferred sunflower oil has increased from Rs. 65/kg till a few months ago to Rs. 90/kg. I had no alternative but to change my choice and choose another, less expensive brand,” she said.
“One has to make these little adjustments to manage things,” she added.
* Prices sourced from retail markets in North and Central Delhi.