Lockdown lessons: A penny saved is a penny earned
For Bindu Vinith (45), a travel industry professional from Visakhapatnam, things have completely turned around due to the pandemic. Fun-loving by nature, she would look forward to weekend outings with her friends, where they would go about town trying new restaurants. Today, she still catches up with friends virtually, minus the food.
“These days, I work from home and stay at home. I always thought I couldn’t do without those outings, but here I am. While I miss catching up with my friends physically, I don’t really think I am missing out on dining out. I don’t think it was ever about the food, now that I look back now. Also, I am an impulsive shopper, be it online or otherwise. All that has completely changed in the current scenario and life goes on. Realization has dawned that I never needed many of the things that I bought, including the fancy footwear that I kept saving for special occasions. Maybe I should wear them at home now,” says Bindu.
There are many like Bindu, who have completely recalibrated themselves during this lockdown, and don’t seem to mind it at all. Each experience brings along a new set of learnings, and that’s exactly what people are observing. A shift in circumstances has taught most people an important thing, which is the difference between needs and wants.
Making way for good habits
Staying indoors has helped us inculcate new habits, from both a health and financial point of view. Previously, people would order in meals that could easily be prepared at home. Not only was there a risk of overspending, but binging on unhealthy food was also a norm. Thankfully, that has changed during the lockdown, thereby helping people to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
Madhu Sachdev (59), an educationist, has realised that one can do without frequent trips to the salon. “I think this has helped me save money, and come to think of it, it’s a huge chunk. Going once in a while is fine, but the lockdown has made me realise that frequent trips to the salon is a waste of money.”
There’s another lesson that she has learnt during the lockdown. Like most people today, she has always been heavily dependent on helpers and maids for every little thing. Today, she is self-sufficient and likes that feeling. “To be honest, it did trouble me a lot initially; after all, we were all used to house maids. This lockdown has made me realise that there are certain things one can do by themselves. Of course, it helps in saving money as well,” says Madhu.
Getting smarter with money
The lockdown has certainly made us rethink our lifestyle, including how we managed our finances before the pandemic struck.
Preeta Ganguli (30), a mental health professional from Gurgaon, believes that the lockdown has drastically changed her perspective towards money - from financial insecurity and anxiety, to being amazed by the amount she has ended up saving this month!
“We have been saving more since we are not going out or even ordering in. The money spent on commuting is also being saved now,” says Preeta.
It has also reassured her that it is possible to control wants and make these a conscious part of our lifestyle. “I feel if we have done it for this long without any planning, we certainly can if we make a conscious effort to change our spending patterns. This way, we will use money more effectively,” she says.
As of now, make sure that you ‘Stay Indoors Please (SIP)’! And, as you gain savings during the lockdown, how about putting the same to good use? Yes, this is the right time to invest your money, and if you already invest, ensure you continue to stay in it.
Most people might not consider this time favourable for investment, but some modes like SIPs in equity funds are still relevant for long-term goals like retirement, kids’ welfare or wealth creation. This mode of investment is designed to withstand even the sharpest corrections in the market. Therefore, you can even consider increasing the amount of your investment.
The lockdown is teaching some important lessons with regard to our finances - let’s apply them even after life returns to ‘normal’.