In our wired world, we are slaves to convenience and comfort even in our every-day tasks.
1. We get thirsty during grocery shopping; we reach out for a chilled can of juice.
Price of sudden thirst: Rs 30-50
2. Online or application based booking of movie tickets is quick and fast. We pay a convenience charge and we skip the queues.
Price of speed: Rs 160 (4 members)
3. Grabbing an idli sambhar or a sandwich at the airport is quicker than packing up a fruit or home-made sandwich for an early morning flight.
Price for convenience: Anywhere above Rs 150.
4. We rarely use old electronic appliances like toasters, phones, as they are difficult to get repaired.
Price of saving time: We buy a new one and old one goes in junk.
Thanks to the ad nauseam advertising by the marketers, instant convenience is just a click or swipe away. I have been through this slavery too.
It was way too easy to reach out for the wallet than to remember carrying my water bottle or switching off the mobile data while being out for the day. It was the price for a convenient life. I often forgot to carry the cloth bag for grocery shopping.
These costs slowly messed up my monthly budgets, something I had got around to do after a long time.
When I started to understand “Penny-Pinchers”
A slow change came about. People whom I thought were penny-pinchers became my role models:-
The spouse who I thought cribbed about my grilling a piece of chicken, didn’t like being a slave to high electricity bills. A friend always switched off her mobile data while she was on the move. She didn’t want to be a slave to the WhatsApp nuisance we get. Another group of friends often told stories about how they recycled old stuff in the house from time to time.
Small changes – That’s how you build a habit
All I needed to do was to plan and think ahead of time. If I stepped out for a day, I switch off mobile data. A cloth bag resides in my bag or car always. It became a habit to carry a cloth bag, to carry my water even for a ten minute visit to the super store.
Indeed this planning hasn’t swelled up my bank account, nor do I expect it to help me in my retirement. What it does give me is an immense satisfaction knowing that I can control the little spending urges if I plan ahead. Nothing else has changed. I still undertake leisurely weekend breaks or just drive around all the way to town for a sea breeze or spend on birthday parties.
Think about the price of convenience you pay in your daily life? Is there a way you can avoid being a slave to these little charges or expenses you incur?
Just like our fitness trainer or dietician tells us to have a healthy diet every day and a cheat day for mindless eating, follow the same for spending too. The result will be visible not just on your waist but on your wallet too.
About the Author: Rachna Monga Koppikar is the founder of thegreatgruhini.com, India’s first personal finance website that helps women navigate through the money maze.
Having swam and mastered the treacherous waters of corporate and personal finance writing, she is now on a mission through her blog to make every Indian woman a Money Savvy Woman and a Money Savvy Mom!