Yeh jo thode se hai Paise, kharch tum par karu kaise?
Jugal Hansraj crooned this when I was in my teens. And the lines are as evergreen as they can get! Ever since I was a kid, I dreamt of being employed. To get salary on payday! So I could stash my refrigerator with chocolates and soft drinks. Have a room dedicated for doll house. Order exquisite food at restaurants, even if I couldn’t pronounce their names from menu card. Travel to Cambodia, Coorg or wherever my heart desired. I was enough of a dreamer and didn’t really feel need of some other factors trying to work up my imagination. And I was happy. This is my childhood story.
Now, I wake up and turn on the radio. Expecting music to drive away the stupor. And energize me for the tough day ahead. FM doesn’t play the first song until I have brushed teeth and boiled water is poured into coffee mug. Where’s the music?? Mobile Phone Protection. Buy shops and get guaranteed monthly returns. Mediclaim for as less as 50/- Rupees per day. The bombardment of subconscious continues until I pick up the newspaper. 18. 18 our of 48 pages are covered with advertisements. Where’s the News?? I pay my bills on Netbanking. The logout screen offers personal loan for cutting a vacation. Seriously?? I drive past DND and on either sides, the gigantic hoarding of New Civic make me wary of safety. My Brio has no airbags, EBD, ABS?? What kind of self-love is this?? I wonder. Well, by the time I retire to bed, I realize I have hardly lived any life amidst advertisements. My last call of the day is usually to my Mom. She was quite excited about a new phone she has bought. “Aai, don’t forget for mobile screen protection! It is mandatory!!”. Al Habibi, hear myself speak!! This is my grown up story.
Why do we all work? Full Time, Part Time, Freelance, WfH. In any format!! For money, right? Of course, I am not denying the non-quantifiable returns like satisfaction, sense of achievement, making my place in the system relevant etc. No matter how many hours you put in your job or business, and you are surely doing hard work, it is your hard-earned money. But don’t you feel the happiness of receiving the message ‘salary of xxxxxx has been credited’ stays for less than 24 hours. You might have already planned finances or will be doing it. Then begins EMI, have plans of buying new things, cost of running the home and it takes away what you waited for the entire month.
Honestly, I worked 30 days for that one day- the Payday! I am sure most of the working women would agree, that all the walk on tight rope seems justified on just one day. Then when I work for myself, why my money doesn’t stay with me? I mean forget the month end, it almost disappears within a week of coming to me. Memes about salary are not new and yes, they are true in their sarcastic elements too. Have you ever thought that there is always someone eyeing our pocket? Do we really need the things we buy or its just falling prey to the marketing gimmicks? Banks create the demand and then generate the supply. All for a meagre fee! Every time someone asks my husband who does he work for, he replies SBI. For, all that we virtually own are in reality owned by the biggest bank of India.
Take an example of a kid who wants to study and is committed can achieve great rank from a regular school too. Then, what is that little extra that we are searching from a fully AC, International school? Does the child need it or it’s just us falling prey to societal pressure? Kids are the weakest spot for us parents. Whenever we go to a super market for grocery shopping and take that big cart, by the time we reach the billing counter, we realize most of the things are added by kids or for the kids. Our shopping is so influenced by them, that the same emotion is captured well by the media and marketing industry. Right now, from washing powder to deodorant, every commercial has kids in them. How cool is it for an idea?
Try googling Top 5 Marketing Agencies in the world. I did and heard a loud of falling. These corporations have consolidated turnover of $50 Billion(Rs 35,000 Crores) and employ more than 4 lacs people. I have nothing against marketing and advertisement industries, but don’t we earn for ourselves? For having a comfortable life. We ourselves don’t realize when the line between need and want disappears. Let’s take an example of vacation that wants us to take a personal loan. Right from the time we get our visa stamped. The date and EMIs keep reminding that we have to repay with interest, so is that vacation really giving us relaxation? Or are we sowing seeds to our woes and stress? Then a psychiatrist says you need to destress and take another vacation. Wallah!! Full circle. Who are we doing this for and what for? Social media? Just because it is good to be seen like that??
About 2 years back, our insurance agent who also manages our financial portfolio gave a brilliant advice. Those were the days my husband and I were living paycheck to paycheck. And excel sheet suggested that lion’s share went to credit cards companies. I reckon Pawan saying that we must save first, invest later and then spend. If you are suspecting what I did then, Sorry!! He didn’t swell his portfolio in lieu of that advice. Rather, helped us take on the biggest animal in our lives. Differentiate between living for ourselves and society.
When will we understand what’s actual need and what’s just for status or showing off amongst peers. Is when we will limit ourselves from falling for the commercials? Sometimes our shopping is just like a viral trend, we do it is because its trending. And picking that particular thing because everyone is having it.
Time to limit our impulsive buying. Impulsive buying is not just binge buying limited to few thousands it can be in Lacs too. I personally know people who booked houses impulsively to regret later.
Don’t keep debit or credit cards saved on online shopping platforms, its neither recommended by cyber experts nor it’s great for our pocket. Before buying anything ask, Can it wait? Even after 24 hours if you feel the need, then surely go ahead and buy it.
As the old saying by wise men say, penny saved is penny earned, that is very true. Think before spending that can you do without buying this particular thing, will your life change if you don’t buy this, where will you keep it, how many times are you going to use it or its just going to be stacked with rest of the things you bought but hardly used. My hard earned money is my money, its not for fuelling others dreams. You don’t need a bagful of money to enjoy the sea sitting on a bench post retirement. All you need is state of mind!!
Don’t just be wise be penny wise.