Dreams re-sized, budget reworked

Soaring prices constrain middle-class ambitions

They proposed to get a house built, start a family, vacation etc. But all that has come to a stop. The couple who work in the IT industry relate how they have had to rework their entire budget.

“We have had to plan on every little spending we have. Essential food like dairy items are so exorbitant that we think twice before spending any money on it. There has been an increase of Rs 4,000 in our monthly expenditure on just groceries alone. We initially used to spend a lot going to movies and malls which have been substantially reduced now,” Shyam narrates.

The couple who live with Shyam’s parents, have put off their plans for the construction of an additional floor to their house.

The recession has already created problems in terms of job security, in view of widespread layoffs. Income has been stagnant while promotions and pay hikes have definitely become a thing of the past.

Ramya admits that their plan of starting a family soon has been put off. “Everything has been postponed to next year and beyond. It has impacted everything from our vacations to our mode of commuting to work. At all stages, we ask ourselves if the expense is absolutely necessary,” she says.

The couple say that even if one person is willing to spend, the other person might feel differently. “There is also the matter of depleted savings. Medical expenses can hit real hard, so we want to be prepared; but, it is not easy to save as much anymore,” Ramya comments.

Shyam remarks how the omnipresent Equated Monthly Installments makes it difficult to radically alter any financial adjustments. “The money has to be paid and the rest was divided into savings and essential spending. Now, the savings part has decreased considerably and our incomes have not increased,” he sighs.

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