Recessionary tales….

Contrary to popular perception, I am not the kind to run into stores showering notes on bemused salespeople in the manner of Michael Jackson in his pre bankruptcy days. No sirree, I start showering notes before I enter the store, and once in I run amok with credit card at hand, and am sensible enough to buy strips of Disprin to keep in my handbag for use when the bill does come in at the end of the month.

Seriously though, I do not buy when not on discount or sale. No. That is a rule I havent broken even when I have to be physically dragged away from a window display of wooden heeled wedges with floral canvas tops which were just yelling my name loud enough for the entire mall to ask for ear plugs.

And now in these recessionary times, what is a shopaholic like me to do.

What else, but go shopping. The shopping of the window variety. Where one hangs outside stores and peers in with nose pressed against the glass until the security men come wielding nasty batons and asking us to stop making out with the sheet of glass.

I find it is as satisfying as throwing my cash around in purposeless heaps and reaching home with stuff that looked wonderful in the store but which shrank in the transit time between the store shelf and the car journey back home, or morphed into something awful ugly that one would be seen wearing/carrying unless a very nasty mean looking and loaded gun was held against one’s temple, and even then is so ugly and terrible that one cannot even pull out birthday lists of dear friends and look for the closest upcoming birthday in the fond thrifty hope of palming it off to the hapless BFF.

The child has no clue of the recession and has no such qualms and as a consequence one spends on him. In the past week, he has added to his overflowing basket, a batman car, a superman car, a superheroes colour kit, a Power Ranger SPD costume. But he has been a very good boy. Especially at the dentist. Where he has been an excellent boy. And has actually sat without needing a straitjacket to be held to the chair. Oh, that was mamma. Who needed two nurses to hold her down during a routine cleaning. And didnt have anyone to get her a toy for being a good girl.

Anyway, this post is about the recession and the fact that there is definitely lesser money floating around therefore one has to pull up one’s metaphoric socks or pull ups or adult diapers depending on which stage of life one is in, although seeing the EMIs we owe our fillings to, might necessitate me wearing an adult diaper but thats another issue.

Therefore, here, are the cost cutting provisions on at the house.

No more dinners out. We order in. And lounge around and speak posh, and insist the child sits and behaves at the table and keeps his elbows off, and doesnt run around. And the good thing is he cant run to other tables and beg for food, so this option might actually be a keeper.

No more fancy schmancy holidays. The only fancy schmancy holidays we have had were pre becoming parents, so now we find places we can drive down to, simple hotels with minimal frills, and dont do the shopping for gifts to give on our return. Because of course, we’re in a recession.

We actually switch the lights off every room when we leave the room. Considering we are a family of four adults and one child who is running between all the rooms regardless of whether the lights are one or off, this can get pretty terrifying. The child will run into a room which was until a second ago manned with personnel and lit bright and then holler for help to switch on said light, as switches are all at child proof levels, read, at a level that just about manage to make it with the help of the small footstool for this adult. Just yesterday we received the monthly electricity bill, and after the smelling salts had been passed round for those passed out to be revived, a round table conference was summoned and it was decided that we would now live in candlelight. More romantic too. And the child could get his cheap thrills by going around blowing them out.

We are actually seriously recycling old clothes and bottles and junk. The junk and raddi gets sold now by us. Earlier we just passed it on to the maids, who are now sulking when they see the pile loads being loaded into the back of the car, because they’ve just lost out on their weekend party. Seriously though, we’re getting thrifty and that is a good sign. Because we really needed a good hard kick in our pants to be so.

We are taking public transport more often. Make that, I am. If it is just me who needs to be travelling and not required to arrive at destination looking like a glamazon, I prefer hopping into auto rickshaws. Quicker, and am not signing charge slips at petrol pumps every second day.

I have dug out clothes I’d stored in the loft to be given away and giving them a fresh lease of life through alterations and such like to make them usable at least at home. The husband hasnt been clothes shopping in a while, which is a clear economic indicator better than any sensex index findex thing.

The geysers are left on for shorter durations, and we’re making do with limited hot water.

There is spending money that is limited to groceries and household provisions with nothing spare to indulge oneself on anything. Friends are getting the sack. Business is at a standstill. Prices are at an all time high.

Yup, its killing. I’m even surviving on just one face cream. And no new shoes. And budget haircuts. And no facials at fancy salons. Am slapping on scrubs and homemade masks on my own and lying down on the bed imagining cool hands working on my skin, kneading it into malleable smoothness. Any of you painting on stockings as yet?

Seriously though, how bad is it for you?


About Kiran Manral

Kiran Manral published her first book, The Reluctant Detective in 2011. Since then, she has published eight books across genres till date. Her books include romance and chicklit with Once Upon A Crush (2014), All Aboard (2015), Saving Maya (2017); horror with The Face at the Window (2016) and nonfiction with Karmic Kids (2015), A Boy’s Guide to Growing Up (2016) and True Love Stories (2017). Her short stories have been published on Juggernaut, in magazines like Verve and Cosmopolitan, and have been part of anthologies like Chicken Soup for the Soul, Have a Safe Journey (2017) and Boo (2017). Her articles and columns have appeared in the Times of India, Tehelka, DNA, Yowoto, Shethepeople, New Woman, Femina, Verve, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Conde Nast Traveller, DB Post, The Telegraph, the Asian Age, iDiva, TheDailyO and more. She was shortlisted for the Femina Women Awards 2017 for Literary Contribution. She is a TEDx speaker and a mentor with Vital Voices Global Mentoring Walk 2017.
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30 Responses to Recessionary tales….

  1. Meira says:

    Terrible terrible times! With a wedding to finance and the parents and would be in laws piling up the expenses like its the last wedding of the millennium, we’re having a tough tough time! Seriously thinking of eloping now!


  2. Dipika says:

    We were a couple that would traipse down to watering holes and eating out joints atleast 4 times a week.
    We are a couple that goes ga ga over Laxmi, the woman Friday’s home made chicken even on sundays.Tough times.


  3. Aathira says:

    I look for all the fast food joints and small setups which I had heard have good food. But its just so difficult.


  4. dipali says:

    We’ve never been big spenders. But the recession seems to have scared us into less outings/movies/dinners. Maybe we’ll get to actually see the umpteen DVD’s that we keep buying and rarely watch!


  5. eating out has drastically come down
    veggies in local market
    no more going to far off malls just for fun
    i must post on it now


  6. Chips says:

    Fridays and weekends are our usual eat-out days. In the past couple of months, have cut down on the eating out, though I try to make it special by preparing a Thai/ Mexican/ Chinese/ Mediterranian menu. Don’t know how cost effective that is, but saves on the overpriced frills that eating out entails.


  7. blinkandmiss says:

    for me the toughest thing to cut down on is the travel. the flight fares are touching the sky and with a 6 month old and limited holidays, we don’t have any other option but to stay put at home. btw, when just the two of us (without the baby i mean) go out for some basic necessity shopping, we go on our bike. it is so much better riding a bike for short distances and its easier navigating through the traffic plus its very economical.


  8. D says:

    My husband and I so desperately want to go on a holiday. And what’s stopping us isn’t the current state of the economy. It’s the fear that things will go from bad to worse and we may then regret having splurged on a holiday that’s putting a spanner in the works.


  9. Shilpa says:

    More than the actual recession it is the fear of things(losing a job, higher prices, dwindling interest from savings) that is making us cut corners. But it is not that big of a lifestyle change for us. I have never indulged in fancy salons or high end cosmetics and the like. Our only vice was too much eating out. We have cut that out now. Shopping is also at an all time low(it was never out of control) but I might not buy a nice dress for myself this holiday season for my office party. I might wear one of my sarees instead!


  10. Kiran says:

    Hmm well I feel a bit embarassed (dont know for what reason) to say that apart from the constant nagging fear of being laid off and the prospective fear of having to cut corners, our lifestyle really hasnt changed much. We were never extravagant in any respects so we kinda pretty much maintain the same kind of lifestyle rain or shine – weird and funny!


  11. Kiran says:

    lifestyle is not weird or funny – the notion of not changing it rain or shine is… 😉


  12. M says:

    Hmm..we lead staid lives before this, so can’t say lifestyle has changed significantly – except perhaps that I haven’t been to any of the recent sales, and plan to shop the T’giving sales with a strict list.

    Oh yeah, we bundle errands, so we’re not making multiple trips, and walk/cycle to nearby errands/classes etc. Note that nearby is relative though – our nearest store is more than a mile away, but it is a distance that is easily cycled, and it makes for a fun ride with the kids.



  13. Pingback: A recessionary tale at Blogbharti

  14. Anamika says:

    Havent had a vacation for almost a year now.
    Gave away all winter clothes from last year and this winter havent shopped yet so still making do with summer shirts with a jacket on top.
    Started looking at and actually using coupons for free stuff that keep piling up every week which were formerly trashed without second thought.
    Online shopping for gifts and look for bargains.

    Other than that, our lifestyle was never extravagant and in good times I visited the nearest mall maybe 4-5 times in a year!! So not missing out much.


  15. sraikh says:

    I stopped having kids.
    That right there is huge money saver.

    other than that, I wanted to get a Wii and Wii Fit but changed plans.

    PS:Kiran, did you know by unplugging electrical appliances also saves money, ie computers, TVs, phone chargers all drain electricity even when not in use. t


  16. Vidya says:

    I have always loved your writing style,and this post definitely strikes a chord in these times..:) We are making a whole lot of cuts here and there, but honestly, when I see that I have a loving husband at the end of the day,I count that as my biggest blessing and the other sacrifices seem small!
    Once we make an effort, I find that its not so bad after all!!
    There are a ton of inexpensive things to do such as picnics,movie/game nights at home with friends over,drinking at home instead of expensive bars and clubs,trying new recipes,becoming creative with the existing wardrobes,etc etc
    Maybe we should all combine our ideas for cheap fun during recessionary times!!


  17. Shilpa says:

    Just heard about the shootings and the blasts. Hope everyone is safe and sound.


  18. tearsndreams says:

    Hi Kiran,

    This is the first time I am commenting here.
    Just heard about the terror attacks in Mumbai.
    Hope you and your family are safe and sound.


  19. Hey!! as I was reading your blog I recieved emergency news about the bomb blast ahd Taj Mahal Hotel under seize…. I am looking at live news on CNN and I am very worried and scared.
    I pray for all.


  20. Bidisha says:

    the news abt bombay is all over the tv..hope you guys are doing well


  21. Hey Kiran I hope you guys are ok


  22. Veena says:

    Hope you all are okay. Please update


  23. Neha says:

    Hi. Hope you and your family are ok.


  24. blinkandmiss says:

    Hope you and your family are safe.


  25. Chips says:

    Hope you and your family are fine.


  26. sscribbles says:

    Hope Kiran you are fine. Looking for a post from you ASAP.


  27. Abha says:

    yup. hope all you guys safe n sound…

    and even we neva had a very expesnive lifestyle. so not much has changed. though we do make sure no subzi is wasted just lying in the fridge for eons!

    do ping and tell us alls ok with you.



  28. Priyanka says:

    no idea where in Mumbai you stay. Hope you and your family and friends are fine.


  29. M says:


    please update – are you all ok?



  30. Cee Kay says:

    Its bad.

    Our kitchen fridge conked out. We aren’t buying a new one for at least 3 more months. Husband gets no bonus this year. I don’t have a job. Every singel projected expense goes through the magnifying glass to see if we really need to do it. Things are actually not that bad, but we believe in preparin for the worst and the worst is definitely ahead of us.

    You post, somewhere, reminded me of “Let them have cake” LOL!! We have our ideas of cutting back and tightening our belts, but what do the “real” poor people do? Who already have tightened belts.


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