Bank executive cuts back on luxuries, savings to cope with inflation
Kolkata, Aug 27 (IANS) Life became quite smooth for Avisek Das, a senior executive with a private sector bank in Kolkata, at the end of the Covid-19 pandemic when he got a promotion and a decent hike in salary.The upward turn in Das’s finances brought happiness to his wife Swati, a home-maker and their son Eshan, a seventh standard student at a reputed English-medium school in South Kolkata.
Das was also happy that he could now afford some luxurious dining out or the occasional weekend long drive or meet some small demands for gadgets by his tech-savvy son.
However, things started going downhill in the last six months with the skyrocketing prices of essential commodities, vegetables, pulses, non-vegetarian items like fish, among others.
This necessitated tightening of the purse strings and identifying the avoidable expenses. But even after such cost control measures Das could feel the pinch of a decline in the monthly savings.
In an informal chat at their two-bedroom residence at Kasba in South Kolkata with this correspondent over a cup of tea, the Das couple in their early forties shared their current cost-cutting exercise while accepting the negative impact on their savings.
“There are four areas where we are unable to curtail our expenditure. They are proper nutritious food for the family, medical expenses, academic expenses of our son and timely payment of salary without any curtailment to our domestic help, who has been with us for so many years.
“So we both sat together and identified the avenues where the expenditure can be curtailed. But the all round price rise is so high that even after such curtailments I am unable to make even half the monthly savings I used to do before,” Avisek said.
Swati said that as the ‘home minister’ she is curtailing the cooking fuel cost without compromising on nutrition.
“First I have increased the use of pressure cookers in cooking more to save on cooking gas cost. These days I am even cooking rice in a pressure cooker, which I used to avoid before.
“Second, slowly I am trying to replace fried items in our diet with boiled items. This cuts the use of cooking oil and is also healthy.
“The detection of uric acid in both me and my husband has come as a blessing in disguise since we have virtually stopped using exorbitantly priced tomatoes. We even avoid using tomatoes in salads,” Swati said.
Avisek pointed out that while Swati is doing her bit on the domestic (read kitchen) front, he is curbing the use of his personal vehicle.
“While because of professional compulsions I am forced to use my vehicle while commuting from home to office and back as well as while going on client visits, these days I avoid using the vehicle on personal journeys as far as possible.
“Previously I did not hesitate to drive my car on any occasion. But these days in case my destination is within a reasonable distance I prefer travelling there either on a shared auto or metro train or a less-crowded public transport.
“For travelling to a suburban destination for personal reasons occasionally, I prefer commuting by a local train rather than driving down.”
Finally, added Swati, instead of frequent fine dining in a posh joint, they have shifted to getting their food of choice delivered at home through a food-delivery app. “The cost in this process is much less than having the same items in a posh joint,” she said.
Both agreed that it is necessary to be judicious in planning the monthly expenditure, especially for single income families.