One question: Have you spent less after the pandemic lockdown till date?
My answer to this question is a profound yes.
It actually did surprise me. Let me tell you, I was never an over spender. My parents never gave any pocket money. I think they did me a big favour by not giving me any money. Obviously, I never threw any birthday parties or such sort of things. I have never been to a movie with friends either. All this might sound very insane to some. My parents are very protective. I am from a very conservative family too. I have never seen my parents indulge in luxury. Anything more than need was very well thought about before we bought. I learnt that money is very valuable and important as well.
From my early years in college, there was a wrist watch I really wanted to own. It would cost some 4000 INR to purchase that. My first salary was four times more that the cost of that watch. I didn’t buy the watch. Not for one month or one year. Four years into my career, in one of the conversations with my colleague I realised that this wanting of mine has not been fulfilled yet. The very next month, I bought that watch. I was very satisfied with that purchase. I realised, I still follow what I learnt from my parents.
One more thing I always spared myself from owning is a car. I have two favourite cars till date, the Chevrolet Spark and the Tata Nano. It was always in my power to own those. There were times I was so tempted to buy them. Once I stood outside of the Tata showroom glancing at the Nano fore more than an hour. That day it would have taken just a few steps and a swipe of my credit card to own the car. I resist that temptation by asking myself the need to have a car for myself. I am not at all a greedy person. There were days when I paid my credit card bills that were close to 1 Lakh INR. I can own an Audi, but, I won’t. If car really becomes a necessity, I would buy something reasonably good than spending a hefty amount on an Audi.
I have a credit card. I owned one from the time I started working. I wanted to have the most convenient means to spend but still have that control on how much I actually spend. One might say it is tough to be so, but I would say that requires tiny bit of self discipline. I don’t drink. I don’t party. I don’t visit fancy restaurants. No fine dining. I don’t buy ornaments. I don’t go to parlour for any beauty treatments. Please don’t judge me by what I said, because none of them give me happiness. I find joy in travelling, trying different cuisines, dining at offbeat places, trying local food etc. All this is expenditure too. These are not necessarily needs all the time, sometimes that is just our “me” time.
I think as humans, we have to balance between when we spend and when we shouldn’t rather than what we want or need. There is no particular thin line or thick like that differentiates need from a want. That depends on many other factors. Sometimes, it helps to just go handsfree and buy whatever we like. This definitely helps improve the mood and make us feel better but, this cannot become a habit. The other times it is just better to not spend. At the end of the day, what makes us happy could be different on different days.
Coming back to the question I started the article with, yes, I almost completely stopped buying clothes or shoes for more than 6 months. Just this month, I went ahead and bought some stuff. I bought clothes, some plants, some area rugs for home. It felt nice spending after a long time. If we can control our urge to not overspend, we won’t fall prey for consumerism at large.
“A person buying ordinary products in a supermarket is in touch with his deepest emotions.”