Born in an Indian middle-class family where monthly budgets & savings were almost as important as exams & results, I couldn’t help but imbibe the frugal attitude. I have been working for close to 8 years now minus a gap of 1 year. Before you imagine me taking a year-long break to search for the true meaning of life, let me bring you back by telling you that the break was for an MBA. Because exams & results!
I was in a Bangalore based PG when I earned my first internship stipend of Rs. 15,000 back in Jan 2013. Born and brought up in a Tier-2 city, Bangalore seemed like a monster with the fly-overs serving as limbs and the tech parks serving as mitochondria of this monster. I recall being surprised when the A/c bus conductor quoted a ticket of Rs. 75 because till then public commute fares never crossed Rs. 20 and no distance was more than 15-20 mins.
Despite my stipend being what it was, I knew I had to pay for rent, utilities, transport and occasional weekend binges AND save money. I would have serious budgets for every mandatory expense and indulgence merited a minuscule allocation. If some weekend saw a splurge then during the week, I would cut down on going out, ordering-in or taking a cab to work. At the end of the 6-months internship period, I had saved a grand sum of Rs. 22,000. To me that was a HUGE deal and I felt like I could make the wildest of my dreams (read “take a trip to Goa with friends”) come true.
The savings practices that I began 8 years ago have helped in sticky situations. I would like to add a disclaimer here - I’m not a spendthrift, I don’t spend much money on clothes, shoes or electronics. The only avenues where I indulge are food, beer & travel. Yet, the savings attitude has inculcated within me a discipline to plan my trips in advance, optimise on recurring spends & identifying value for money options rather than splurge on appearances.
Since I have been saving for many years now, there was always a persistent problem with “how to save”? Explored multiple options - savings account, recurring deposit, 1 year FDs or transferring money into mom’s account. Oftentimes, looking at the saved amount I would end up feeling boastful about the lump sum as there was no purpose specific segregation. Plus, some options were rigid to a fault.
When I started using Fi back in April, I saw the Jars feature, where-in I could park my money in different Jars. I created multiple Jars - “Holiday”, “Earrings”, “To be invested” & “Home”. Fi allows me to add money to these Jars at free will without the rigidity of a Recurring Deposit. Now every month when my salary arrives, although it’s only a tad bit higher than my internship stipend (;)), I swipe that neat little green button and deposit some love into these Jars.
Wrapping up now to make my way to the airport. Because my “Holiday” Jar is already overflowing!