WORK FROM HOME – A LUXURY OR AN AUSTERITY?

Ever since the lockdown began, things seemed a little upsetting. For me, it was just a complete stop to the new beginning of my office going. as I was just getting used to the environment at work almost after 10years of being at home. But again work was normal to me as I have been freelancing for a while but going to the office and being with my colleagues was a fun time. Thanks to the lord that i am always surrounded by happy people who keep me at joy.

But again, Everything is a blessing in disguise.

Lockdown and back to work from home did have lots of pros for me as a mom, and a woman as such. There were those times when I hardly took care of myself and every day was a marathon for me. And indeed the new job thing was also taking up my time with my kids, family and my besties. Now with my travel time saved, I kind of profited extra time which I surely get to use in plenty.

I also started working out much more and also took time to be with my kids. Things never seemed to be complex amidst work and life balance for me. Even though at times I do feel exhausted and lost (obvious mood swings), I still feel this is PERFECT!!.

I started to focus on my writing and even reading too. I helped my children to get to read more and also enjoyed my “Me-time” as well as my “buddy-time” which was almost negligible then.

There are also things which are not in our control like work-wise the expectations lay more specific as we have no excuses to make or run away from work. But again, here I feel blessed as my work is my passion, hence it never took my mind off.

Everything seemed to change, but some things never changed, like;

  • everyone around me asking for one more dosa, when I am in a hurry to finish my kitchen work and get to work,
  • asking for attention, when I am lost in work…
  • asking for specials to cook, when I am exhausted…
  • asking for an extra walk, when my legs are aching to take a break…
  • asking for the long story at bedtime, when I am in love with the bed, who is cozily rolling me into sleep.
  • the alarm that goes beeping, when these winter nights are for sleeping.
  • the morning rush, even when I am on a holiday, as others are not…

I know these things will never change, even if its work from home or not. All I need to change is my attitude towards it.

And all will look PERFECT as I wished for.

DON’T LET THE BEAUTY OF YOUR REAL BE ROBBED BY YOUR VIRTUAL

There is a guy who had lost his lower limbs from childhood. He can’t walk around, run or works like all others who have legs. He was depressed all the time, isolating himself in a corner of his house. But his life changed since his uncle gave him a VR Set. He now can not only walk now but can even run, climb and kick people on their butts… all virtually. But he is happy, satisfied with what he got.

A low self esteem, introvert, not so good looking girl… she was unable to make friends in her school even during her college time so she spends time in loneliness and depression in a corner of her room. Parents are disturbed for her. She loves to read books but how long will she read books. Her Papa recently gave her a new laptop. Her life changed. She got the taste of facebook. She doesn’t have much friends in real so she created a fake account with a beautiful avatar to her profile, She got friends, many friends… not only girls but also guys… she is now happy and engrossed to her screen… to her world of virtual friends.

A man who was engaged to a beautiful girl but was rejected and denied later on for some reasons… He was angry, frustrated and was suicidal. He was in front of his screen…surfing. He found a new dating site. He logged in to try and found many girls and their beautiful proposals… He got hooked to one and became friends… Now they have updated their statuses as “in a relationship” and romancing… all only on virtual. But he is not suicidal anymore…

A married woman is frustrated sexually because her husband has work all the time. He stays away in the names of work. She doesn’t have scope to go outside much as she had to look after her children, her in laws, cook etc. But her husband had given her a new Samsung A7. In her facebook profile she keeps on updating her beautiful pictures… there were many strangers who send friend requests and she accepts few seeing their profiles… And one profile was making her go crazy. She enjoys chatting with her… and so on…  Her frustrations and deprivations were satiated to certain extent virtually…

The list of stories like this can go on and on…

I have observed an astounding fact about those who have online identities. My study says those who are physically active in different works either professionally or with some other purposes are less likely to use social networking sites. And those who are sick, depressed, introverts, self pitied, handicapped or vulnerable in any manner are more likely to be having a virtual profile for themselves in these networking sites. I knew this because I am one of them. I was trapped in this net when I first came to Kolkata in 2001. I was all alone, extremely bored and my physical immobility made me to be addicted to Yahoo Messenger. I was introduced to this world by a cousin though… I was a naïve completely then. But once I came to know about it I became an expert of it…  Then came Friendster.com, Myspace.com, Orkut.com and finally the king of social networking sites Facebook came and booked my face for the web though lately whatsapp took over everything that you can find on this earth. But they all literally captured some part of my real life which was not a good thing at all in the long run which I realized much later.

I did a bit of research further on virtual world before writing this article. I came across an article or two from which I want to quote few lines which will make us understand the negative effects of virtual life…

1. Emotional Wounds

What happens in cyberspace does not necessarily stay in cyberspace. The emotions and feelings of intimate contact felt in VR will be carried over into the real world. So if a partner is being “unfaithful” online, the emotional consequences and impact on their existing relationship are clear.

Are we about to redefine the rules of fidelity itself? What counts as cheating for one person may not be for another. However, studies show that the impact of online infidelity is likely to be the same as that of physical affairs.

2. Physical Injuries

Many experts predicted that 2016 would be the year that Virtual Reality or VR would finally “take off” or “explode”. Why is it then that everyone isn’t jumping on the VR bandwagon and hailing it? Is it because of the worry, as CNBC poised in this thought-provoking article, that the health risks being ignored? Are the health risks really that worrying? The side effects of virtual reality that cause most of these qualms are virtual reality sickness/cybersickness, probable damage to the eyes and physical injuries.

Apart from the above two major negative effects there are many other negative effects like, intrusion in our private lives, social isolation,  destroying relationships, chances of losing reputation, negligence in work life and family life, makes people lazy and irresponsible, decreasing productivity and takes away the life’s survival skills. 

Last two days I tried my best to stay away from Whatsapp and I found out I didn’t loose my friends, I didn’t miss out important information at all, I was not barred from my friends’ friend lists but I could do lot of work that were pending around me, I could concentrate on few of my household as well as official works and it also gave me a sense of maturity and satisfaction.

Recently, one of my friend gave her number to be in touch with on Whatsapp but warned me not to expect her to be much active on it. I assured her to contact her only when I need an article from her.   

Are you a captive of social networking sites? Don’t be… Don’t get robbed off of your peace which you can have in your real life around you…

Stay Balanced! Stay Blessed!

OUR MOST TREASURED MOMENTS ARE WITH OUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS

Family is our cocoon. Family gives us strength. And our friends are our life line. Our life is very colourless without friends. Both are very essential part of our life. But at times in this fast paced life we get a feeling that we are being pulled in multiple directions. And we end up giving more importance to only one aspect of our life.

Let’s take an example, on one end of the spectrum is Sukriti. She is a working professional. She has set sight on some lofty professional goals. And rest of her time goes in tending to the needs of her husband, kids and extended family. But then this leaves her no time for letting her hair down with her friends. And leads to frustrations.

And on the other end of the spectrum is Nikita and Sunil. They are a very social couple and have many friends. Almost every weekend they are out with friends or they are entertaining at home. But slowly this led to too much interference of the friends in their household matters and lead to rift between Nikita and Sunil.

And there is a third scenario, like in the case of Ruma and Ritesh. Ruma is a very outgoing kind of girl and Ritesh is an introvert. Ruma always wants to plan movie or party or picnic with her friends and wants Ritesh to accompany. Whereas Ritesh is highly uncomfortable in this kind of a group. His idea of chilling out is relaxing at home in front of the TV.

Are any of these situations familiar to you? Have you ever been in a similar situation. The resolution of this problem is a family and friend balance.  Few suggestions from my side to attain this balance:

  1. Screen your calls. Decide the time you will give to your friends. If your friends are always calling you when you are getting your little one ready for kindergarten then please tell them that you are available only in certain time slots. If they are really your friends they will surely understand. Don’t try to juggle both… You will end up messing up both.
  1. Remember all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. So please take time out for that girl’s night out. Occasionally we all need to let our hair down and just chill. So please make time for spending some awesome moments with your friends away from the responsibilities and duties. It is a very relaxing and rejuvenating experience.
  1. Plan activities that the family can do together. Family time is very precious specially with the kids growing up. Soon they will fly away and we will have an empty nest. Family dinner tradition is usually part of all our childhood memories. Similarly we have to create beautiful memories for our children too.
  1. Husband and wife should respect each other’s nature and requirements. We are different individuals with different outlooks in life. An understanding can always be achieved by talking and doing something for our loved ones. I mean once in a while even if we don’t like outings with a friend we still go as it gives happiness to our spouse. And sometimes we just curl up on the sofa in front of the TV and spend a relaxing weekend with our better half watching movies. Don’t let outsiders have too much say in your family matters.

“Nature chooses our family and we choose our friends”. And they both hold an important place in our life. As we have been reading this whole week life is all about a happy balance between work, family and friends. So guys don’t let it tip too much on one side. And enjoy…

WOULD YOU OPT FOR PRINCIPLES OR RELATIONSHIPS?

What do you think – ‘are relationships made to upkeep principles’ or ‘are principles made to keep relationships in place’? Let me make it a bit easier – ‘Does the sun rise so that we can call it daytime’ or ‘we call it daytime because the sun rises’? Well, it’s both, actually! We cannot exactly get into a cause-effect relationship in such things because they are interdependent on each other. One cannot thrive without the other.

Relationships are bound by principles and flourish if the principles are adhered to.

Think of a newly married couple all set to start their journey together. For the couple to enjoy their marriage and live together in nuptial bliss they need to adhere to certain principles like – fixing the timing to come and go out for work, the time they need to spend with each other, they social circles they would maintain and those they would have to let go, the habits they would want to inculcate and the habits they would want their partner to live with, finances, leisure-time habits, ethics, and endless goes the list. Of course, these need not be water-tight do-or-die rules! Nevertheless, the sanctity of adhering to these principles would lead to the couple to enjoy their marital life.

So far so good.

Think with me…

A situation arises in which the man has to choose between abiding by the principles which would cause him to put the relationship (here, his marriage) at jeopardy, and forgoing his principles to save his relationship. What would be the ideal thing to do?

Tough situation, right?

What would he gain to be called an ideal man, but have lost his marriage/family? His marriage/family intact, would he survive the guilt and consequences of compromising his principles, if he chooses to hold on to them?

Choosing between ‘relationships’ and ‘principles’ has always been difficult. But, before we choose to stand by our principles, we need to be sure if our principles themselves are true (and not faulty). Rules vary from place to place. Norms vary from culture to culture. And that makes things tricky.

But, let me tell you one thing – just as we all agree without bating an eye that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west – similarly, the standards set by the Creator for His creation are universal. Adhering to such absolutist standards helps keep relationships intact while keeping principles in place.

Of course, in extreme cases one has to have a tough pick. To give instances, an Army General whose child has been kidnapped by extremists can hope to see his child alive only if he takes sides with the extremists. Relationship (parental love) or principle (loyalty to the job)? Taking bribe would fund the surgery of an ailing spouse. Relationship (love for spouse) or principle (faithful to the job)?

Next time when in doubt how to balance relationships and principles or which to choose over the other, ponder for a minute as to what God would want you do. Therein lies the key to the balance.

Adhering to principles often cost relationships, but are eventually rewarding. Wise discernment is a must!

PHEW! WORK AND FAMILY AND ME…

8:45 am already! 2 year old Parth is still crying, his mom Roma is getting nervous about her meeting at 10 am. Will she be able to make it? Her mom in law is trying to help, but Parth’s screams are only getting louder. “Parth will also go with Mumma” – that’s all she can make out in between the screams.  

5:30 pm already! This report needs to get done today at any cost – she knows. But if she doesn’t leave now – Parth is going to be quite upset. “Will the report get done today, Roma?” – Her boss just interrupted her thought. “Yes, you will get it in your inbox by midnight. I need to rush now.” – She says while shutting down her laptop. 

10 pm already! Ok, so dinner is done, kitchen is clean, Roma’s husband is back. So she can probably take a deep breath now. But Parth is no mood to sleep. “I need to get him tired” – she thought. “Take your ball, Parth. We will go downstairs and play”. A moment of happiness comes in when she sees him so thrilled. They play downstairs for about half an hour and by now he is quite tired. Milk is ready, so her husband now puts Parth to sleep.   

11 pm already! Roma opens her laptop and gets on the report. In an hour, it is done. Just when she is about to close her laptop, a mail from her nutritionist drops in – Roma, please limit the intake of coffee to just one cup a day. Also you need to stop skipping your lunch – it is not healthy. Your carb intake is higher and I notice that you haven’t worked out since last one month. Can we have a quick chat tomorrow about your progress? 

Well, with no energy left to think about her food and workouts – she goes off to sleep. “I will deal with this tomorrow” 

6 am already! Next day morning, she wakes up and first thing she steps on the weighing scale with her fingers crossed. 1.6 kgs more than last month and she feels like crying. She looks at herself in the mirror and notices that those dark circles are getting prominent and her body needs a visit to the beauty parlour badly. 

This is isn’t an uncommon story. In fact, it is very similar to my story. Everyday people struggle with managing their work pressures against family pressures and their own health and other hobbies. In India, Mothers get more affected than Fathers do because of the way our Indian culture is. Hobbies? What’s that? All mothers just have one hobby and that is to take care of the children. Right? Extremely wrong.  

An individual needs to be happy him/herself to be able to take care of others. Happiness comes from little pleasures in life – not from being perfect in every area of your life. 

It is ok if your child isn’t excellent in his/her class. It is ok if you get a little less salary hike for a couple of years. It is ok if that promotion gets postponed by another year. It is ok if your husband doesn’t carry an extravagant 3 dabba lunch to office. It is ok if house is a bit messed up all the time. It is ok your life isn’t perfect. Find the little things that can make you happy. Stop judging yourself.  

I realised this some time back after a long period of extreme stress when I was trying keep everything perfect. Now when I look back I see that when I am not happy with myself – it is impossible to keep my son happy. He is all the more cranky when I am stressed out. My husband gets irritated with me because I keep snapping at him when I am stressed out. It doesn’t work for anybody. 

I dropped everything at one time and promised myself that I will take care of myself first. That included working out regularly, eating healthy, parlour visits, reading books, watching movies, meeting my girlfriend’s etc. And when I decided to do this – I realised that I do have time for myself because I can squeeze out time from other areas. Saying NO was the biggest challenge. Even now it is but I am getting better.  

Think of alternatives, what can you delegate at work and at home. Delegation at work largely depends on the kind of work you do. Delegation at home means – can you engage other family members more in household chores? Can you hire help from outside? Can you set the expectations about your availability with other family members? Can you create a support system to take care of kids, while you need to be away?

Think of possibilities and before you make your world your number one priority – remember it is YOU who must come first.  

Lots has been written on how to attain a balance that is almost impossible – be a top performer at work, be available for your family, be fit and healthy yourself.  

The only key for me is to give up being perfect and to do little things for myself. To make this possible, I created a support system for myself. That’s the only way that I have discovered to maintain my sanity while balancing my life! 

What is your solution to this problem? Please do share in the comments.

THE PARENT-SPOUSE CONUNDRUM​

Do you identify with these scenarios?

Husband returns home to find Wife and Mother involved in verbal sparring over forgetting the Mother’s anniversary. Mother accuses Wife of doing it deliberately, while the Wife says she honestly forgot and was sorry for it. Both expect Husband to side with them.

Wife is being pressured by her parents to come home for vacations to spend some time with them, while Husband wants her to join him in a trip with friends. Who should she choose?

These scenarios likely occur in every household across the world, and like every household, they cause a lot of problems to both the spouses and their parents involved. Most of us who are married have had to grapple with such situations, where no matter how right one side is, the other side will always feel cheated and betrayed. And like every problem in the world, such family feuds ought to be nipped in the bud, or else they grow into an everlasting power struggle between the spouse and the parents.

Parents no doubt deserve our respect, love and attention. They sacrifice so much for their children, provide them with every happiness they can, just so they can have a better life than the parents did themselves.  Imagine then what they go through when the same child, who they had cared for and nurtured for so long, suddenly starts preferring the company of another, and in fact, sides with the spouse every time. It hurts, A LOT! Our duty, thus, towards them, is to make them feel comfortable and loved, make them feel that they are not alone, that we always have their backs.

Your spouse, on the other hand, is the one person who is everything right from your friend, your caretaker, your lover, your mirror and your rock. Consider the wedding vows –

to have and to hold from this day forward,

for better, for worse,

for richer, for poorer,

in sickness and in health,

to love and to cherish,

till death us do part…

That’s a lot of promises to keep for one person, but that’s what marriage is about. Naturally, when you expect so much from your spouse, your spouse would expect you to, at the very least, back them up when the time comes to choose between your parents and them. But it isn’t easy in all cases.

To demonstrate through my own example, my MIL and my Husband can never agree on a place to dine at, whenever we go out to eat. Both of them want to have their way, while I sit and act as the referee, or while I wish we hadn’t come out to eat at all. So the only solution that we could come up with, was to agree to take turns in deciding where to eat. I assure you, it never goes as smoothly as it sounds on paper, but at least this way one can claim, ‘You had your choice the last time’ and mercifully, I’m left out of the fight because I tell them, “Rules are rules!”

Typically in such family feuds , neither side is wrong and feels neglected in some way. In typical Asian households, where the spouses are still living with the parents, it becomes even more difficult to draw a line between family and private matters (yes, there’s a difference between those two), because of the proximity of the parents to the spouses. When you share a living space, there’s much more than just ‘space‘ that you share. And at any rate, at least in India, marriage is never an affair limited only to the husband and wife; it goes, waaaay beyond those two. In some cases the wife is frequently caught between her own parents and the spouse’s, or the husband is caught handling a feud between his parents and his wife. Trust me, I know; I’ve faced both kinds of problems.

However, the harsh reality of life is, one that I had to learn the hard way, that even though your parents have nurtured and brought you up, you, as a spouse, now have a life and family of your own, and you are responsible for your spouse’ happiness too. That is why you need to keep the two separate and not allow for too many overlapping situations. Again, it sounds easy, but it’s very difficult, because there is always pressure from both sides, guilt within us that we are upsetting someone within the family, and guaranteed repercussions!

What do you do then?

Here are some pointers that may help, but I should forewarn you, these may not be helpful in every case. We know our family better than anyone. Naturally, how you should handle them depends on your knowledge of their behaviour, the timing and the nature of the problem generated. But maybe these pointers could get you started on the right track –

  1. Demarcate Your Territory – By this I do not mean that you move out and get your own place. Even if you are staying with your parents, you should still claim your private space for you and your spouse, and make it clear that this private space should not be breached under any circumstances. I’m not just talking about only after-hours here for you-know-what-I-mean! While intimacy is a huge part of a marriage, which can be threatened if there are no boundaries in terms of space, you do need a private space for other things too, for example, to watch a movie together or maybe even to discuss something. If you live separately, make it clear that your home is your own turf, and while your parents are welcome, they should not try to run it for you and your spouse. The point is, your parents have had their chance at their own domestic life. You deserve your own.
  2. Divide Time – While it is true that your spouse will claim most of your time, at the same time, you must not forget that your parents now need your care and support too. Tell each party that you shall spend a certain amount of time with them, and keep it flexible. For example, if you stay with your parents, you could have meal-times as family time, while the morning tea is with your wife alone. Or you could spend Saturdays at the club with your Father, but ensure that your Sunday is spent with your Wife doing things that you, as a couple, like to do.
  3. No Bitching, Manipulation and Backstabbing – This one is probably the most difficult to handle, yet the most common too. I’ve personally seen this in a lot of marriages, and it happens only when the individuals involved are not strong enough to stop it right from the start. Unchecked remarks, name-calling, manipulation through tears, guilt, anger, and ratting out on the other should not be entertained from either side. If you find yourself caught in a situation where either your spouse or your parent is behaving in such a manner, put a stop to it right then! I promise you, it will save your family from a heap of angry words and hurt feelings in the future.
  4. Grow Up! – Some spouses, even after years of being married, still like to consult their parents over every trivial matter. It definitely happens in Asia, where if the child does not consult the parent before buying even trivial things like a Refrigerator, things can quickly sour up in the family. While advice is okay, dependence on consultation or aid of any kind not only shows that you aren’t mature enough to take your own decisions, it also shows that you don’t even trust your spouse to involve them in important matters. The bottomline is, if you are considered mature enough to be married to someone and take care of responsibilities that arise out of wedlock, then it’s time you started taking your own decisions too.
  5. Talk It Out – It’s amazing how many things can be solved by merely talking it out, but how few of us actually take it up. Generally we like to sulk, succumb to anger and hold a grudge, but please, try talking it out. Sit with the people involved in the feud, ask them to be civil, and then try to reach a conclusion. Many problems, like the scenario I started with above, originate from misunderstandings, which can be easily cleared by talking. Remember that the talk session is to resolve, not to fight and escalate matters. If that starts to happen when you try talking, try another day when tempers have subsided a bit. You’d be surprised by what time can do to heal such wounds.
  6. Do Not Be The Punisher – You are not a vigilante in your family. You are not a judge, though sometimes you may be called to preside over a feud. But remember, do not be vindictive to either party after they have committed a wrong. So your Wife called your Mother names? It does not mean you start calling her names to get back at her. So your Father tried to shame your Husband for his lack of expertise in certain matters. It does not mean that you misbehave with your Father. If you start ignoring the wrongdoer, they will not have a reason to improve, because to them it will seem as if they’ve already lost your support. Help them gain that support back.
  7. Ignore – Finally, if everything else fails, just ignore them and all the best for it, because it’s never easy. If you’ve reached this point then it means you have tried all of the above and still come to no amicable conclusion. So just let the feuding parties handle it for themselves, tell them strictly not to ask you for any help or support, get the hell out of there, because this one’s going to last a long time!

At the end of the day, you should remember that while your parents deserve your attention, love and care, specially now that they are aging, you have a life of your own. Finding a balance has never been easy for the human race. Work-family, love-friends, work-fun imbalances have always caused us headaches.

But the rules of nature posit that while parents must nurture their children, once those children cease being dependent, they should let them go. Take a cue from the animal world where no parent lets their child linger on around them beyond a certain period. It’s harsh, yes, but that’s life. Soon we’ll come to the same point where we must learn to let go. Make your life easier by telling yourself

‘Space matters in every relationship’.

Regards,

Pradita Kapahi

KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR ACCOUNTS

Hello Everyone,

“Congratulations! Credit card with a limit of 5 lakhs has been sanctioned in your name” – these sort of messages fill my mail inbox every second day.  I wonder how and why because never in my life I have applied for a credit card.  Reason – I dreadfully fear Credit Cards.  Why – As a person who has been closely associated with collections department of personal loans and credit cards I come across people who often complain about the exorbitant rate of interest that burdened them and I must say they are right.

Ok, lets talk about the positives first before discussing about how Credit Cards could hamper the balance of accounts or even the mental peace. With the advent of plastic money – Credit Cards, life has certainly become easy.  How?

  • Easy to carry.
  • No need of immediate liquid cash.
  • Status symbol : Silver, Gold, Diamond (not sure if exists😁), platinum – As the level upgrades status goes up.
  • Online shopping made easy.

Having credit cards nowadays is more or less staple to the lifestyle we are living.  And with banks taking the aid of media (electronic, print and social) and the other modes of communication (read telephonic and emails) these credit cards are making more in roads into our lives.  And before we realise, the balance of the most important aspect of our (materialistic) lives takes a toll.

Ask me how?  I won’t say everyone follows the pattern but yes many do fall to this honey trap of available “Credit” and compulsive buying behaviour sets in which means we buy even if there is no absolute necessity of that product. It might be to please/ pamper ourselves or to boast around among peers and society. It might seem to be fun at first instance because you are virtually not shelling out currency notes.  But dear all there is nothing called “Free Lunches” in this world.  And banks are not saints to squander away their money on you. And by the time monthly statements are sent to the mail box we are already in soup!  Suddenly we realise that our income is being claimed by one more expense and the percentage that goes in such payments may seem to be small when looked at in isolation but collectively it does disturb the balance of accounts of our monthly budget. Once you start using credit card a minimum amount needs to be paid every month in order to stay away from defaulters list and to maintain the credit limit, it becomes a necessary obligation. And God forbid if anyone takes cash against credit limit banks charge a separate rate of interest that might not interest us at all (I have seen my father do so in crunch situation and pay hefty price later). That is the reason I try to stay away from credit cards, my personal experience says so.

My preference?   We all know there is another term called “Debit” and in relation to the plastic money we are using we have “Debit Cards”.  Just like Credit Cards they are easy to handle and there is no to need to “carry” currency but you definitely need to have balance in your account to be able to swipe that card.  I personally feel this as a safer option as you don’t have to worry about the interest rates as an extra burden because what you are using is your own money.  No outside authority can question your expenses other than your partner 😁. And moreover with every penny spent via debit card you have a message on your phone stating the balance of your account so that you don’t go astray from your path of mindful spending.

Budgeting and Questioning :  As a housewife who monitors all the expenses closely I think budgeting is very important.  A clear picture of sources and amount of income and the expenses to which that income is being allocated is the prerequisite rule for charting out a good budget.  We all have few fixed expenses like rent, electricity and water bills, education, insurances, weekly groceries etc.  They must be provided first so that there is no discrepancy or disturbance to our peace of minds at first place.  Then comes the miscellaneous expenses which are variable in nature. Always allocate a certain portion of income for expenses like gifts on birthday parties/ weddings, unannounced guests, a sudden bill that you forget to pay or the other party have forgotten to ask for and so on. Such buffering helps us avoid shocks in financial terms.  Whatever be the scenario of your expenses make sure a fixed amount must go to savings without fail which should directly be proportional to your income ( higher the income higher the amount you save). BUT, I understand that sometimes no matter how hard we try savings are difficult to come by owing to beyond the expectation expenditures (like an accident or loss of income due to loss of job).  Well in such situations we need to cut down our not so important expenditures.  And before a penny is spent question yourself :

  • Do I need this?
  • Do I need this now?
  • can I postpone my need till my next salary?

balance

Such introspection  would surely help in maintaining balance in income and expenses.

I once read somewhere ” Spend whatever is left after saving”. That’s an interesting approach to induce savings and stay clear of deficits.  But it might not be possible for many on serious terms for many reasons.  Even if that theory is followed, that might have a serious impact on economy as well for the simple fact that “expenditure of one is income of the other”.  If we don’t spend (which means no demand) there won’t be any inducement to invest further which would in turn result in unemployment.  I won’t go further into this “Multiplier Effect” theory and explain what happens when one spends or decides not to. We can have a separate discussion for that.

Coming back to our question at hand how to use credit/ debit cards effectively or how to maintain balance in our income and expenditure I would simply say remember to ask three questions that I have mentioned earlier.  I am sure our previous generations (when there were no credit/ debit cards) definitely worked on those three questions to ascertain the priorities on which money should be spent and they had more balanced budgets even with meagre salaries than us.  The current crop may call them misers but they led more happy lives than these so-called generous (in spending money) people.

What’s your say?