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Home-makers tighten family belts

If you are a homemaker, the possibility is that you are a worried with commodity prices touching new highs, thanks to inflation that has reached a three-year high.

business Updated: Apr 15, 2008 01:11 IST
Ruchi Haleja

Hey Mr President
All your Congressmen, too
You got me frustrated
And I don’t know what to do
I’m trying to make a living

I can’t save a cent
It takes all of my money
Just to eat and pay my rent
I got the blues
Got those inflation blues

You may have never heard of BB King, the American blues singer and guitarist who sang “Inflation Blues,” but his wise lyrics seem to match the current mood among many housewives and commoners feeling the pinch of inflation.

If you are a homemaker, the possibility is that you are a worried with commodity prices touching new highs, thanks to inflation that has reached a three-year high of 7.4 per cent. Inflation is the term for a general increase in the prices of products. We are living in times where cheese costs more than chicken. Tomatoes that not so long ago used to cost Rs 10 to Rs 12 per kg now cost Rs 20. The case is no different with basic grocery items such as pulses, rice and edible oils—in general the price hike has been steep.

Sixty-three year old housewife Prabha Dubey who resides in the Dilshad Garden area of New Delhi is extremely worried about the price increase. She has radically altered her consumption patterns to keep up with inflation within the monthly pension she gets. “I used to make extra dal earlier but now it is becoming a luxury,” she said. She has stopped consuming juices totally and has started skipping fruits that she used to love earlier. When it comes to rice, Dubey has shifted to Basmati Tukda, a more affordable variation of the Basmati rice.

“The biggest change has been in the prices of rice. What used to cost Rs 28 to 30 in the market earlier now costs twice as much,” said Meenakshi Agarwal, a homemaker from Vasudhara in Ghaziabad. Agarwal now gets Basmati Tukda for her family’s daily consumption.

Even working women – whose families enjoy double incomes – feel hit.

“My monthly grocery bill has gone up by about Rs 500 to Rs 600 and the rising prices are pinching. We cannot cut down on daily consumption, which is a way of life but will have to definitely cut down on extra expenses such as eating out,” said Monila Sircar, a teacher from Noida.

Rajeeta Hemwani, a 32-year-old homemaker residing at Mumbai’s Bandra, said it would make sense for people to save on electricity by running appliances less.

“One should spend more wisely on entertainment. Careful budgeting of expenses that go towards entertainment will pay off in such times,” she said.

(With inputs from Saurabh Turakhia in Mumbai)