Virusonomics: nothing to spend means money in a savings account

NEW DELHI: Until the first week in March, one might have suspected that Siddhartha Banerjee exhibited mild strains of oniomania, the compulsive desire to buy things that one does not necessarily need. These ranged from pens to running shoes that the 33-year-old HR professional could perhaps wear once during the year. His purchases, and those of his wife, have stopped. Banerjee still buys, but restricts her purchases to groceries and vegetables.

“They made us realize that a large part of our monthly spending was due to shopping and eating out. These have come to a complete stop, resident Banerjee said. It will be the seventh weekend that we have not left the house, met our friends or celebrated their birthdays and anniversaries.

The couple did not feel the need to buy new clothes. Banerjee is comfortable working from home in a T-shirt and shorts and his wife, Niharika, has not spent on cosmetics, shoes or ornaments. I am saving over Rs 30,000 a month. A third of this is because I am not driving, ”he said.

However, the couple feels that some non-essentials are really essential to give life a normal appearance. Banerjee misses his individual malts and the first essential thing he wants to buy to mark a return to normal will be a bottle of his beloved Scotch whiskey. Her mother wants a bigger television and Niharika her favorite lipstick.

Like Banerjee, Poonam Mishra, 35, also yearns to constantly buy clothes and shoes. I work at the CyberHub in Gurgaon and I miss hanging out with friends, the environmental consultant revealed. The lockup, therefore, has been a huge saving for her, though she smiles because a little indulgence and a slice of pre-Covid life couldn't hurt.

However, her husband, Ajinkya Gunjan Mishra, a corporate and tax attorney, has a different opinion. If it weren't for the pandemic, we'd be preparing for our annual vacation with vacation courts in May and June, the 35-year-old said. He gives himself up for the holidays, often in foreign places, but he recognizes: This year, even Shimla and Mussoorie they are a distant dream. Mishra said he planned to buy a new car, but that he will have to postpone the decision because there is now a lot of uncertainty about financial security.

Covid-19 has also changed the travel plans of 28-year-old public relations professional Urvashi Sharma. Travel, food and movies are my passions and my spending has stopped, Sharma admitted. “I travel abroad annually and planned to visit Greece this year, but I have canceled my plans. I also go out to eat with friends every weekend or even alone and go to the cinema to watch movies. The lock has changed everything.

But there is a silver lining to this. Sharma smiles: With nothing to waste, I realized that I am saving more than 90% of my salary! Now I cook at home and find the therapeutic experience. I will continue this lifestyle after closing, and even if my salary is affected by economic turmoil, I will still be able to put something aside.

Like Sharma, many Delhi millennials are getting used to the idea of ​​saving, which was otherwise an intrinsic part of life only for those who grew up in pre-liberalization India. I have saved Rs 15,000 this month on food and transportation alone, said marketing professional Jaswinder Singh, 25. Savings have become significant due to lack of job security now.

Like Sharma and Singh, dining was a huge indulgence for Karan Singh, 25, a media manager for a CSR project. When I'm with my parents in Garden, as I often eat in fine dining restaurants. When it is published in other cities, I ask for food. I am a food blogger and I love posting culinary photographs, he said. Singh, in fact, orders food so frequently that it has even been mistaken for a commercial point of sale. With isolation has come wisdom. Before I knew the prices of the dishes I ordered, but now I know how much the tomato and potato cost and how much garlic you need in a curry, Singh laughed.

Those a little older feel that controlling their spending has helped them detoxify their lives. Not eating out has caused my blood sugar levels to drop to healthy levels, so I'm definitely not complaining, said CPA Pankaj Agarwal, 58. I also got tired of the hectic socializing, dinners, and gift shopping. Although Agarwal and his wife Anjali, 57, who works for (GIZ), are movie buffs, they don't plan to splurge on cineplexes any time soon.

“Although EMI and certain expenses are constant, my spending on food, clothing, shoes and devices has been reduced. As an educator for children with special needs, the substantial amount I spent on workshops has been reduced, said Sonam Agarwal Sachdeva, 43. However, I also feel that we are storing more things and increasing purchases of hand, glove, and expensive sanitizers. More expensive . She felt that the pandemic will lead to attitude changes and people will become more minimalist.

And yet Banerjee pointed out that saving money would have an adverse effect in the long run. If we stop buying, manufacturing will be affected and there will be job cuts, which will start a vicious circle, he warned. If the industry stalls, our investments would also be static. We have to break the Covid-19 chain, not the supply and demand chain. We have to build a robust parallel system so that markets can open, but we are still safe from the crown infection.