Reality Check- We bought a lot of stuff

This was perhaps the best thing that could have happened to us- a reality check. This post had started completely different. We felt that we did really good last year especially with our clothing and heeling purchases. Guess what that didn’t happen.

The Past

When we started working I was very much interested in getting myself a shoe collection to rival Carrie and a decent set of clothes to go along with my clothes. I did manage to deck out way better than I do today. Washing clothes was a big chore without a washing machine so before I outsourced the chore I would rather buy a few pairs than wash stuff. I had left home with a suitcase and the day and the day I shifted to our first married homes I had a huge taxi full of stuff. This was after I had thrown away quite a bit of stuff.

Once we moved to Hyderabad being married caught up to us and as we started to travel more buying clothes seemed like less of a priority. This does not mean we never bought clothes, far from it. This was around the time when online market places has risen their cheap heads and we enjoyed shopping form our bed quite a bit.

Past year

However both of us were under the impression that last year we had been good kids who did not waste a lot of cash on clothing various parts of our body. Oh how wrong we were. Once we sat down to count clothes and shoes bought we came to following total

Mr. S

2 Tshirts

1 Trouser

1 pair of shoes

1 piece of ethnic wear

Total- 4 items

Mrs S

3 Tops

2 Jeans

2 pieces of ethnic wear

1 pair of shoes

Total – 8 items

It might not sound that bad with just 12 items bought under various heads, but it is way more than I was under the impression we bought last year.

The Bottoms Problem

The worst part is both the jeans I bought just didn’t work and gave up due to my perfect (absent) thigh gap and I am in the market form some new ones. The pairs of shoes we bought are working great for both of us especially in rains. The pouring ruined my comfy leather shoes before we invested in crocs. The ethnic wear was for a close friend’s wedding and since we don’t wear or use them often older ones didn’t fit or were missing a component or two.

You know what I did above? This is something we have both been doing a lot lately and most of us can easily be accused of. I am making excuses. A lot of above are real facts and situation which needed some expense at that time but not all of them.

Fighting my own excuses

When the jeans gave away around December I was left in a lurch with just one pair of trousers to go with everything I wear to office. Around this time we were on a drive to save maximum amount we could and we were both feeling we can do better. I did not run out to buy another pair right away. Instead thanks to some health related changes and some weird coincidence I has lost a good amount of weight which meant a few older clothes started fitting again. As I write this I am wearing a top I bought way back in 2012 and hadn’t worn in last at least 2 years.

I also started to wear whatever kurta pajama fit me, to office. These usually require ironing two things instead of one in the morning and there are no pockets,so I hardly wear these.

But this time I was not making excuses and had decided to postpone any purchases off to next FY (our office subsidizes office wear for a certain amount each FY).

Future Plans

I now plan to go through my closet once more, purge things which have un-mendable holes or stains and things which I can’t fit into. Next step is to mend things which can be mended and then decide if I am really running low on clothes.

In last few weeks I was gifted a considerable sum as gift cards for a big chain. I can use it to buy clothes for free or I can buy stuff I think I need for my house (which is probably just want) or I can give it to someone as a gift or exchange it for cash with someone who is going to shop there anyway. To be true I was not considering any of these options a week back. Till then we were martyrs who hadn’t bought anything in one full year.

This does not mean that there are no clothing purchases in near future especially if I keep on losing the huge amount of excess weight I have on me right now.

This is not just about our clothes. This feeling of martyrdom and complacency extend to more areas of our life like eating out and cooking. I have been feeling like shit and the job has suddenly become quite tiring of late. We work half days on Saturdays which means only one day to sleep in. this means none of us is really in the cooking mood especially for something to carry to lunch. We have spent a small fortune on eating out in past few months.

I am someone who strongly believes in not killing oneself for every tiny penny and some days did drain us so much that we could barely eat takeout before we crashed. This is not true for a lot of days though, days when we have been busy watching something online or playing one game or another.

It extends beyond clothes

Eating out is one of the biggest drains on our income and has definitely affected our savings rate. We both love food and it is really difficult to not feel like you deserve a relaxed evening when you have been working your ass off for over 10 hours. It is also equally stupid to define every indulgence as I deserve it because I did that.

If we look deeper I am sure we can find other things where excuses have crept up on us. Thankfully we are not making excuses like ‘… it is expected of us to do …’. To be fair we have succumbed to multiple such lines from our parents which drive us nuts. Thankfully we are not making these excuses to ourselves.

It is such a weird thing, life catches up to you and you miss a step without realizing what has happened. Last night was another such realization. I haven’t been at the top of my health lately and it has become a constant source of stress for me. Last night however I had to cook and finish off the perishable food we have in the fridge before we leave for a vacation. Suddenly it did not feel as difficult as it had been previous weeks, once I started.

Have you ever been under a strong belief about yourself or your belongings and have been proven wrong?

Why we chose to pay more to live close to work

In most of the big cities around the globe people live around 20-30 Km away from where they work. There are many reasons for this decision but one of the most important one is rents are higher closer to work than 20Km away. When we shifted to the new expensive city we also had to make the same decision.

We considered our options at length and came to a few conclusions:

None of us wanted to spend over 3 hours every day in traffic burning our money. We value our time and both of us get cranky when we have to spend extended hours in sun and rain doing nothing more than getting from one point to another. In a city known for its traffic jams you would have to really love sitting in a car to be able to justify 3 hours a day.

We wanted the flexibility of leaving work early to get something done at the house or not taking entire day off because something had to be fixed. In past one year since we have moved we have had multiple handymen come in at odd times, a lot of things delivered and for most of the things it has been possible for one of us to take a quick ride to home and take care of things. This is also quite handy when family is visiting.

We don’t own a car and moving 20KM+ away would require us to trade our trusty motorbike for a car. This would mean a lot more money than we would like to dish out on commute. This regular expense would be in addition to shelling out monies to get a four wheeler.

Meeting future needs. Currently there are just two of us but if we do extend our family we would need to be able to run the triangle of home work and day care. Increasing the distance simply did not make any sense. To be fair we have not raised a kid before but none of us were interested in keeping the child on road for long traffic logged hours.

Above are some of the reasons we decided to live within 10 minutes driving distance from our house. That being said we have spent over 20 minutes covering the 2.5km ride because of traffic, congestion, broken vehicle rains or marches. Now imagine how much would these factors affect longer commutes where your time increases at every single red light you have to stop at.


But there are some other factors which might have affected our decision

Even though we can easily afford our current rent, which is over 10K higher than the cheaper suburbs, it does make us question our renting choice multiple times. For many however 10K might be the difference between taking up the job or not. Commuting longer to ensure that you can actually work is a great option provided you cannot find a new job closer to where you live and you cannot find an alternate living arrangement like hostels or paying guest/roommate setting.

We are also blessed to be a dual income household (which does affect our affordability) where both partners work around the same location. This has allowed us to share commute costs as well as ensures none of us have to face longer commute. Most people work at different location than their spouse. So it might be a conscious choice to live closer to one of the spouse’s work in case the spouse is responsible for household errands, managing kids or has any other constraint where being closer to the house is better for them.

We value our time a lot but we also value our living conditions. We are usually not interested in swanky apartments (unless someone else is paying for it), but we need decent clean surroundings and good construction. Our definition of that though might be very different from someone say with kids for whom a park nearby is a requirement. Same people or those taking care of elderly parents might feel a safer environment to be a gated township/society. We are sure we will require these at some point of time, today however we are perfectly content with where we live.

We have parents and guests who live with us every once in a while. We are happy however renting a 1bhk instead of a more common choice of 2bhk or 3bhk to provide for visiting family. We are happy to let our parents use our bedroom and lay a mattress in living for a few weeks in a year that they are here. There are many who rent bigger simply because they need to have space for people to come and visit. If that is a need you would probably be better moving out to suburbs so that you can afford a bigger dwelling.
A few of above factors are the reason why we rent far cheaper than a lot of our colleagues living within the similar distance from office. Others who live over 30Km away spend hours travelling back and forth though a few of them do get the benefit of office provided transport.


Two of the houses we liked last year were 1 bhk and 2bhk for 23K and 30k respectively. Though we deeply debated the pros and cons with the later coming ahead on locality and building services our current location won in terms of price, proximity to office and being the amount of house we could maintain.

Currently our housing expenses make for over 50% of our household budget and we intend to increase the number by reducing our monthly expenses. With current 10% increase in rent we would have spent almost 4 years in the house before the rent would catch up to the other house’s starting rent.

What have been the factors you considered before you decided how far from work you live?
For those who own their house this might have a lot more factors but I am sure we all have theory of what is the best option.