What living on a budget looks like?
What does living on a budget mean to you? I read an interesting post by Michelle over at Making Sense of Cents. What she wrote made so much sense to me. It got me thinking – what exactly do I mean when I say ‘living on a budget.’
I am in a very different stage of my life as compared to Michelle, when she wrote her article. She was doing her MBA at that point in time. It has been 20 years since I completed mine. I have worked for many years and now am attempting to set up my own gig. Let us see how our answers compare.
Living on a budget – 9 questions
Here are my answers to the questions:
1) Do you avoid a lot of the expenses that many of your peers spend money on, such as technology and meals out?
A huge majority of my meals are at home. On the weekends, the husband and I go to the club. He gets his game of tennis while I swim or just go for a walk. I may get a light sandwich or a snack after that.
Much of our eating out is when we are celebrating something – a birthday etc.
As far as technology goes, we use our phones (and all other gadgets) until they die out on us and cannot even be resuscitated. Only when they are on their death-bed do we consider upgrading to a newer model. If something still works, like our 6-7-year-old TV, we will sell it in order to subsidize our new purchase. Do our friends have newer and latest models of their handsets before us? Almost always.
In addition, we periodically keep reviewing our internet, cable and cell-phone packages. Their rates keep reducing. Competition forces companies to come up with cheaper plans. We have saved a lot.
2) What is your typical meal?
The husband and I enjoy Indian food. We have one gravy dish – which can be either a veg/non-veg curry dish or a daal. This is accompanied by a dry vegetable, a salad and a bowl of curd as sides. Phulka bread is what we eat these with. All these are made at home, from scratch.
We make 3 square meals a day – breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I vary up the food from time-to-time because repetitive food gets boring.
I will talk more about my grocery bill in another post.
3) What about clothes?
I would love to have more clothes. The thing is I just don’t find much stuff that I really like for myself. I used to buy a lot of shoes and bags, instead. That has reduced a lot, now. I still have a fair share of the ones I bought earlier taking up precious shelf space in my cupboards. I will buy more, once I have used these.
4) What about going on dates?
What are dates? It has been ages since we have gotten dressed up and gone on a ‘date’. We go out for coffee on the weekends. This is the time we spend talking about money and life and other serious stuff. I look forward to this little ritual we have. It is nice. Starbucks, here we come.
5) Do you indulge in luxuries?
I have one Louis Vuitton bag and one by Micheal Kors. I can honestly say that these two are the only luxurious things that we have spent on.
We used to go on vacation each summer. However, we were frugal. We stayed in airbnb’s, 3-4 start hotels. We booked our tickets in advance. To the extent possible, we would cook ourselves. Public transport was preferred over cabs. This is what I mean by living on a budget – we went for vacations, we traveled far and wide, but we got the maximum bang from the buck.
6) Do you have health insurance?
The husband’s office offers medical insurance for him and his family. To be precise – it is a hospitalization cover. What I mean is that I do not get reimbursed for doctor visits or medicines which need to be taken at home.
7) Do you have any savings for emergencies?
Yes, I have some savings for emergencies. I do need to a) build it up some more b) open separate savings account for it.
8) Do you anticipate or look forward to having a higher salary one day?
I would love to earn more from the side-hustles. So far they have not been very promising.
9) What about retirement-do you plan on ever saving enough to retire?
Many people term this my retirement. Do I see this as retirement? Nope, I do not. I am working almost as hard as I used to earlier in my job and I do much more at home – I am the chef, the admin-in-charge, the chief coordinator between different parts of the family.
Seriously though, I do see myself retiring from having to work for earning my monthly expenses, I am not sure when that would happen. Not anytime soon, though. Till then, I am enjoying the life I have.
How about you guys? What stage of life are you in and how would you answer some of these questions.
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