Introduction The present toughest times in India is so troublesome for any Indian family. It is impossible to miss this harsh truth. Demand for every single product is so low that manufacturers are resorting to some strategy or the other to just stay alive. This has lead to a situation where an average Indian is bombarded by frantic calls from call centers of all banks, inquiring whether he or she wants a personal loan or a housing loan or whatever. Even those in regular jobs are not sure that their yearly bonus will be released or their merit payments will be given at all. Every single Management is cutting labor costs left, right and center. Hence, there are no takers for any loan. Banks may soon face a liquidity crisis.
Hence, what can be done by each family? Though there is no standard template, based on real-world experiences, certain steps are a) Cutting costs to the maximum b) Focus on part-time opportunities c) Making every effort to keep families emotionally happy d) Somehow finance the education of children and e) Involve relatives in tiding over difficulties.
Cutting costs to the maximumPut on your thinking cap and take a good one hundred page notebook. Plan a monthly budget. Put under the scanner, any single item of expenditure. If you are non-vegetarian cut-down consumption from present levels by fifty percent. This will give you the scope to save at least Rs 700/-, even if you are just three in the family with one child aged five. If you have parents living together, then your savings will be upwards of Rs 800/-. Now, what more can you do? Carpool your trip to the office to save on petrol. Cut expenditure on costly clothes and the occasional expenditure on movies in the nearest shopping mall. Cut down on invitations to your relatives to come over for lunch. Assuming that your salary will always go up, you would have traveled by the 3AC class. Cut down here too. Try to cut down the trip. If you can't do that, just travel by the second sleeper class. You are not going to become poor at all. Cutting down costs will enable you to pump the money into recurring deposits. If your wife is earning only Rs20,000 per month, pump the savings into recurring deposits in her name. If you have a father now retired with limited savings, start the recurring deposit in his name as his senior citizen status will enable you to earn that little extra.
Once you identify any item of expenditure, it becomes very easy to reach out to others. It becomes easy to communicate with each member of your family. For instance, if your child is twelve years old inform him that your merit payment will not come this year and hence a little cut in all expenditure that includes even AC should be cut to the bare minimum. Since January is around the corner, you could even afford to take your entire family to the open space on the terrace. To chase away or even kill the mosquitoes, burn enough quantities of dry neem at least a full thirty minutes before you go to bed. The entire area will be free of mosquitoes. It might surprise you to know that in hundreds of villages across India, people do this as a routine to cut down on electricity costs. The robbers cannot come if there is one person sleeping within the house with just one ceiling fan. Remember, it does pay to cut down on electricity costs. The scope of cost-cutting is massive in these tough times.
Focus on part-time opportunitiesIf your wife is skilled on stitching clothes, count your stars. Put her through a short-term course on stitching ready-made blouses that are nowadays heavily customized and with a pan-India market, that has even spread to remote corners of India. Even in small villages, professionals who are experts in getting things done with good speed, easily earn Rs 600/-, by stitching three blouses in a day. The scope is very high. The need to supplement family incomes is now extremely important, given the fact that every pie of extra money will actually help you to beat the high prices of all commodities. If you can start some small business, in say, buying in bulk things like papads or pickles and then selling them for profits, you can still earn that extra income. Expand the market through customization. For example, if you can locate some guy manufacturing pickles made of brinjal, there will be takers. Or for that matter, ones made out of pudina. Once you start looking around, you will notice that the scope is very big.
Making every effort to keep families happyJust go through it. Emotional support is very essential. Children these days have good exposure. They learn that the parents are going through tough times. Some other classmates would have shared the sad news that her father, now 44, is jobless. He has been eased out of a leading IT company. Your child, now in the eighth standard, will understand that it could happen to you too. You are now in a good job with an MNC company in finance. Since yours is an FMCG company with a good range of products and since you have begun the job of cost-cutting across the board in your organization, you are safe. Never share official anxieties at home. Keep away from the deadly television serials. Instead, keep on cracking the best of good jokes, keep the atmosphere lively. Help your wife in household chores and get the environment to become more lively and optimistic. Do not cut down on family time and keep visiting the nearest temple on the weekends. Or any place of worship of your religion. Of course, the grown-up children can easily be told about some realities and they are sure to understand what they need to do.
Somehow finance the education of childrenOne expenditure that cannot be reduced, even in a slowdown or recession, relates to the education of children. These are days when special coaching is required for the NEET or IIT JEE examination or some other such examination. Whatever you save elsewhere through cost-cutting needs to be spent on the education of children. Stress on values and educating the grown-up children on the need to just concentrate on their education will go a long way in helping the entire family stay together as one unit and take on the challenges of the times.
Involve relatives in tiding over difficultiesAfter learning that his brother has lost his job, a nice young man now settled in the USA has invested fifteen hundred thousand rupees in a good mutual fund has enabled his brother to get a good monthly income. The brother, who is now into a BPO job to merely survive and re-skill himself in another field was in years when the support came. The US brother has also ensured that the young man's wife is a trained teacher, after her B.Ed degree. Her salary is a big plus for the brother to repay the EMI on the housing loan.
Though not everyone is so kind, if the parents request the concerned rich relative to help out, there is some chance that help will come. It should be realized that any small help in these tough times from relatives will be useful to tide over the present tough times. Never ever go in for costly borrowings. It is wise to even go for a jewel loan, if you require money. This will enable the family to emerge relatively undisturbed, in the present situation. This is not the time to have ego issues. Look around and take up any job. You cannot sit idle after losing your job. Your relatives can help you to only some extent.
ConclusionWhat happens to the family in tough times is a good learning experience. It is important to learn to collectively take on and manage any crisis. It is not rocket science. The answers will become quite obvious when we start learning the nitty-gritty of the process of adjusting to new realities.
True. When we expect some dark days we should store some kerosene for the lights. In a way, the present situation in the country may make the young earners think.
Yes. Rates are increasing and incomes are reducing. But when I see in the markets in Hyderabad all big malls are flooded with people and there is no reduction in purchasing. All the gold shops are crowded. When I see this I feel only a section of the people is getting hit more.
The author has brought forward all important points to make sure that there is a reduction in our expenses so that we will not go out of cash. A few adjustments he explained are very good which will never harm you but help you a lot. These days many people try to go out to eat at least two or three times a month. Let us say that we will go out for eating only once in a month. It will give you good savings. Let us try to reduce our expenses on clothing by going for nonbranded items. Another mistake we do is that we want to keep our children happy always. But we should tell them about the difficulties and how best we can face them without getting affected. We should not compromise on the quality of education but we can tell them that we can compromise on many other matters.
Actually working on a pen and paper will give you many ideas about our expenses and where we can cut short our expenses without having much difference in the living standard, These days many people spend huge money on drinks and cigarettes. For that money, they work extra and try to earn some money. Why can't they try and avoid those expenses and save that money?
There are many ways to bring down the expenses when we see them without any bias. Your expenses are important for you but you want others in the family to reduce their expenses. There the problem starts.
A good write up from the author and my appreciation to him for bringing out good points for a better tomorrow.