Broke Girl’s Guide To Surviving In An Indian Metro

Last updated 29 Mar 2016 . 5 min read

It can be daunting to be on your own or broke. Being both together is the worst combination ever! Young working professionals living the big city dream may have experienced a situation such as this at some point of time. That one off long weekend later, or after that expensive night out, being broke till the next pay cheque comes in is a scenario we have all been familiar with.

Mumbai based Mother of two, Nidhi Dorairaj Bruce recounts

“After my MBA, I landed up at my first job in Bangalore only with Daddy's ATM card for sustenance. Murphy's Law deemed that I screwed up the first transaction and it got blocked. So I was essentially broke and homeless within 24 hours of striking out on my own. But I was suitably shameless to ask for an advance in salary and start subsisting on meals of boiled rice, rice and more rice. Fashion meant borrowing and mixing and matching with similarly unfortunate others. And house parties were always such a hit - you get free booze and more importantly - food. It all sounds sexy and fun now - but those times were really crazy!”

It can be daunting to be on your own or broke. Being both together is the worst combination ever! However, what Nidhi did is exactly what a self-respecting modern girl should do. To help you tide over that time, here is a broke girl’s guide to surviving in an Indian metro –

  1. Be Shameless About Admitting It – Being broke is a temporary phase and NOT a crime. Admitting that you are broke will ensure others are considerate of it, especially your friends. So suggestions of hanging out at inexpensive places will come up automatically. Your colleagues will not suggest team dinners every Friday.

  2. Ask for Help – It is okay to ask for help. Salary advances at work, loans from friends or even your parents is okay. But this is a double edged sword and needs to be used cautiously. Loans for paying security deposit of your apartment are acceptable. Borrowing for a killer pair of heels (no matter how good an investment that seems), is not. You do not want to be labelled as a person who borrows for luxury.

  3. Cut back on Excesses – Till your finances get in order, be very conscious of your expenses. Keep detailed notes of every rupee spent so you can analyze on what can be cut back. Shop for essentials and from sales or flea markets. Buy things second hand. Don’t be tempted to get a killer outfit for that date night. If you need to dress to impress, use an outfit rental service. If you have close friends, swap accessories. This gives you a chance to change up your look without spending money. Cutting back on expenses does not mean ignoring your health though. If you end your gym membership, take up running for fitness. While surviving on Maggi seems like an easy option, it is cheaper to cook a simple dal chawal meal or throw a basic salad together. Avoid eating out completely if possible. Get friends together for a pot luck instead.

  4. Supplement Your Income – Your hobbies and talents can be used to supplement your income. Enjoy writing? Write for a magazine or webizine. Good with designs? Take up a few graphic design assignments. Good with hair and makeup? You can dress people up for parties or school functions etc. Enjoy photography? Cover an event! Basically, do some freelance work. There are many sites today that function as freelance market places. Tap your friends and family for leads and references. They will be much more comfortable finding you work than lending you money. Besides, who knows… your hobby may tick and may just become your profession!

  5. Take Risks – Albeit small ones! If making a job shift to a new company and new profile means a bigger pay check, your comfort zone should not hold you back. If you have a small pot of money saved somewhere, do not pass on an investment opportunity because that pot is your cushion. Dip into it a little and if your risk pays off, the cushion only gets cushier!

There can be many reasons a woman finds herself broke. A fresh college graduate at the start of a career, an entrepreneurial venture that did not take off, being swindled by someone you trusted or even giving your job up after marriage and realizing you have much less money you have in hand than before. Don’t beat yourself over it. Learn from your mistake and move on to correct it.

25 year old Latika Ratti immediately regretted leaving her job after marriage. She was used to shopping excursions every weekend but that had to stop when the single income couple were settling down into a new life. It took a little bit of attitude adjustment and a little bit of frugality for her to become comfortable in the situation!

Being broke is an experience that will teach you more about responsibility, make you wiser and so much more! Avoid it if you can but don’t fear it!

By Ankita Bhatia Dhawan

SHEROES - lives and stories of women we are and we want to be. Connecting the dots. Moving the needle. Also world's largest community of women, based out of India. Meet us at @SHEROESIndia

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