Monday, December 30, 2019
It’s that time of the year when everything is cheerful and bling-ey. After
all, the wedding season is here. If you are busy attending function after
function, you surely know that it takes a toll, not just on your sleep, but
also on your pocket.
Being well prepared with the finances ensures you can attend weddings
this season without being worried or cutting corners. Here are a few
super simple tricks to being a financial pro through the wedding season:
1) Get into the details
Don't get caught unaware. Spend time with the to-be-married couple and
get details of the what and where of all the functions. Given their
excitement, this shouldn't be an issue. This will prepare you much
in advance about your role, any special surprises and any pre-
wedding parties which you might be contributing towards. There
could be elaborate plans for a destination wedding, which would
mean baking in travel costs as well. Knowing all the details well in
advance will ensure you are totally prepared.
2) Prioritise, prioritise, prioritise
When flooded with several invitations, however hard it might be,
prioritise. Choose the ones which are a must-attend, and drop the
ones which are a stretch. When deciding which functions to attend,
pick the ones most important for you, and let go of the others. This
is important from your time, convenience and financial health
perspective. Often, we over-commit and regret later. Stick to your
top-most family/friends and send your best wishes to the others.
3) Gifting Budgets
Typically gifts in family weddings include jewellery, or designer products,
which come with a steep price tag. Be innovative and create
handmade gifts or personalized gifts like framed pictures of the
couple, which are unique and fit your budget.
For younger family members, especially girls, instead of jewellery, it
might be a good idea to get them invested in a Mutual Funds
portfolio (if they don't have one yet) which will actually be of value
to them in the long run.
Group gifting is also a great option, along with other friends and well-
4) Wedding Outfits
Getting dressed for the big fat Indian wedding is part of the fun. Keeping
up with the trends, and various dress codes for each function could
draw a huge hole in your purse. After all, most times we buy
gorgeous, heavily ornamented outfits, which end up just sitting
pretty in our closets, rarely used.
Find a way to recycle and re-stylize your existing collection. Mix-n-match
blouses with sarees, or accessorize a neutral coloured lehenga
with different dupatta or jacket. Take ideas from your very own
family and friend style brigade. There are also options available
now of comfortably renting outfits online, at a fraction of the price
to own the same.
5) Travel Plans
While destination weddings are glamorous and fun, they also call for
advance planning. To ease the pinch, pull out your credit card
rewards points and frequent flyer points. Another tip is to get to
know others who are also attending and do hotel bookings as a
group and get the best deals.
In case of pre-wedding bachelor/ bachelorette party, bargain deals are
available for off-season travel or cashing in on frequent travel
sales. Don’t forget to budget for indulgences, which are part of the
It’s no secret that the bride, groom and their families, shell out a bomb to make
the occasion memorable. As a wedding guest, be smart about your
expenses, plan diligently and enjoy the occasion to the fullest.
Monday, August 26, 2019
Just like most people, I had a long list of resolutions for 2019. Unlike every year, this time I intend to keep them. Ok, atleast one of them - to read atleast1 book per month. This could be too less or too much, depending on which side of the 'reader' scale you are. While I have always enjoyed reading, it has not really been consistent and intentional. Hence, the resolution.
Half-way into the year, am already at 8 books, happily in line with plan. Having a clear goal helped. To ensure I follow through, I invested in 2 audiobook subscriptions (both Audible and Storytel) - which has been such a wonderful discovery! Not only is it easy on my pocket with a vast library readily available, my commute time is better utilized.
Each of these books has opened my mind to a new perspective. Sharing their most impactful takeaway for me :
1) Becoming by Michelle Obama
I was blown away by the simplicity and authenticity of her story - their story. She is so relatable as the woman who is donning multiple roles - wanting to be more than just a title. She talks candidly about her journey from a kid with a modest upbringing, to a young adult who was driven by ambition, but torn to creat an impact, to a middle aged mother and wife juggling multiple roles to finally her fears, challenges and lessons which came with the title of the First Lady.
My takeaway - We are all on a journey - with each phase of our life, there is something new to explore. The possibilities of who we can be are endless.
2) Atomic Habits by James Clear
This book gave a step by step action plan towards building a good habit or breaking a bad habit. It is full of examples and stories which makes it an easy, and effective, read.
My takeaway - Setting the right cue, with the right incentive, can train our mind to behave in a desired manner. This is a more sustainable way to build a habit, which eventually add up to meet our goals.
3) The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason
This parables based book took a while to engage me. Since the stories are set in ancncient Babylon, it felt hard to connect with initially. However, this classic offers very practical advice about personal finance like '7 cures to a lean purse' and ‘The 5 laws of gold’ which make it hard to put down.
My Takeaway - We are slaves only to our limited knowledge or the lack of determination; if we work to enhance our skills, anything, including having our desired financial life, is possible.
4) Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
This was my first money book ever when I was 18 and it changed how I thought about money. I re-read it this year and it had a totally new perspective after all these years. It talks about building a whole new way of approaching our money - as a tool to create possibilities and endless opportunities, if only we put our mind to it.
My Takeaway - Creating wealth is a mindset and requires,amongst others, making whatever money we make, work for us. Use our cash flows to build assets and not add liabilities.
Read my detailed book review here ( add hyperlink to medium blog)
5) Smart Money Smart Kids by Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze
This book has a world of wisdom when it comes to getting started with money conversations with young kids. It is a step by step guide on developing financial skills at every stage of the child's life. Dave Ramsey and his daughter Rachel Cruze talk about their story, making it relatable and doable.
My Take Away - Took the first step in confidently engaging with my 6 year old on the value of work and how to earn and save money to meet future goals. Lots of tips for kids at every age – am sure to keep going back to this book every 2 years
6) How your child can win in life by Matthew Raggett
A simple book on the key skills needed to raise kids in changing times, by the headmaster of Doon School. He talks about the basic skills of reading (to build curiosity & encourage finding their own point of view), writing (to being more clarity of thought) and play (importance of learning to work with a team , be competitive without making others not want to play with us, building the spirit to give & take)
My Take Away – This was an easy and engaging read on stuff which sounds so intuitive, as a parent. Yet there were parts which stayed with me – like reading with my daughter right till she is in primary and secondary school ; engaging in play with her to build a sense of collaboration; and spending ‘time’ in mindfully developing these skills which will be so critical for her in her adult life.
7)The Little Book that Still beats the market by Joel Greenblatt
This one is for those looking to actively build their own stocks portfolio. Business principles are explained through simple examples which made it a delight on a relatively complex topic.
My takeaway - The essence of investing in a good stock is to understand business metrics, and set-up regular portfolio review (every year). While understanding the parameters of the Magic Formula, I also came across several other screens being used by investors to identify their own unique portfolio. It got me more confident in making my stock choices and I continue to learn.
8) Women with Money by Jean Chatzky
Speaking specifically about women behaviors in the context of money, this book walked me through several relevant topics like building a parallel business, to finding the joy of spending, to enabling our kids with money conversations and finally leaving a legacy.
My takeaway - Leaving a Legacy is not about what you will leave behind, but rather the focus canbe on creating a meaningful impact while we are alive.
2) Look for deals on flight tickets:
3) Explore alternative flight connections:
4) Check for package deals:
5) Consider staying a bit off the city centre with good local transport facilities:
6) Try local street food and explore free local experiences:
7) Explore local experiences which are free of cost:
8) Use a prepaid forex card instead of swiping your credit/debit card:
9) Buy travel insurance:
Don’t tell me what you value. Show me your budget and I’ll tell you what you value. ~ Joe Biden
2. Spend on what matters:
“Too many people spend money they earned to buy things they don’t want to impress people that they don’t like.” ~ Will Rogers
Your emergency fund is you safety net in case of a crisis. This should ideally be three to six months of monthly spends which should be parked aside as an FD or in a savings account as available cash for unforeseen situations. While one always has family and friends in times of need, it would give you added confidence and a sense of control over your finances, knowing that you can ride through on your own.
Debt enters our life mostly in harmless forms like credit cards, education loans, car loan, EMIs for furnishing your new home, home loan, borrowing from close friends or family to tide over a trying financial time, and so on.Often we find comfort in the knowledge that we are not alone. Debt is the new norm to sustain our desired lifestyle. However, we often forget that postponing payment for today’s luxuries is bound to catch up with us. Stay away from debt taken for luxuries and excesses. If you already have indulged, plan your way out of it today. It’s just like resisting that extra piece of cake because you know ‘once on the lips, forever on the hips’. Taking debt to leverage cash-in-hand towards higher return generating assets is the only plausible logic for allowing it to enter our lives — if you are not clear about the above statement, you are possibly not ready to take on any debt yet :)
“Some debts are fun when you are acquiring them, but none are fun when you set about retiring them.” ~ Ogden Nash