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Young, single, cautious

Change is in the air. It’s apparent on her face as Bhavna Moorjani (25) surveys the suburban skyline from her Jogeshwari office.

india Updated: Sep 07, 2009 03:04 IST
Saurabh Turakhia

Change is in the air. It’s apparent on her face as Bhavna Moorjani (25) surveys the suburban skyline from her Jogeshwari office.

Moorjani, who moved to Mumbai from Shillong two and a half years ago, is no longer the self-indulgent single. There is a marked change in the lifestyle that was once peppered with parties and holidays. Savings, which were never top of mind, are now a definite concern.

Clearly, the assistant account executive in an advertising agency (she requested that the name be withheld) has discovered financial wisdom.

Easy come, easy go

Moorjani, like many singles riding the economic boom, used to shop extensively, buy the latest gizmos and pursued a lifestyle that was far from modest.

But the boom was followed by the slowdown and employers were forced to review costs. So were employees like Moorjani.

The carefree approach has now been replaced by caution and discretion. Moorjani, who works in the agency’s activation department, saw it coming but said she wasn’t prepared for what followed — no increment, no appraisal, no job-hopping.

“Things were fine till December. But in a subsequent annual general meeting, the spotlight was turned on [higher returns] on investments. That meant more checks, greater cost consciousness, a sense of caution,” Moorjani recalled.

More bang for the buck

With a cut in advertising budgets, agencies like the one Moorjani works for were badly hit.

Clients became wary of advertising and those who continued doing so demanded better results. “Now, returns on clients’ investment have become a must-include factor in presentations,” she said.

No wonder her shopping is no longer impulse-driven. Earlier, she wouldn’t give a second thought to buying a branded pair of Levi’s jeans. Now she thinks twice before doing so. “My monthly shopping spend has fallen from Rs 3,000 to Rs 1,500,” she said.

Cost cuts in office have directly affected Moorjani’s lifestyle. Allowances for night travel — given when employees stay back after 9 pm — were scrapped. This means Moorjani travels a lot more by train. “Earlier, I would take a cab home at least thrice a week,” she said. Now, she’s managed to rein in her monthly commuting expenditure to Rs 1,500 from the earlier Rs 3,000.

As if all this wasn’t enough, her landlord has asked for a safety deposit of Rs 4,000.

So, chilling out no longer means parties at pricey restaurants. She and her friends meet up at one of their houses instead.

Think before you spend

And no more holidays abroad either. “Last year, I went to Singapore and Bangkok for a two-week trip. Now, it’s unthinkable,” she said. She may now ask her father to sponsor a cheaper trip.

Moorjani has also decided against purchasing a new cellphone, saving another Rs 15,000.

As for savings, she has none. But she realises that was a mistake. Now, with a more sober lifestyle, she hopes to start saving.

Moorjani said things are getting better, but it’s time people adapt and get used to the changed scenario.