I am spending less. And I am sure most of you are too.
No doubt lockdown is leading to more savings for some of us.
Majority of us are sitting at home.
And I am sure at least a few would have come to this realisation that till before the lockdown, we were spending a lot more than what was essential and necessary.
It’s just that we spend a lot on things which aren’t that important.
To be fair, nothing wrong with that. In fact, I do not belong to the school of thought which advocates living an ultra frugal life. No point being the richest man in the graveyard. Right?
But also, if your income isn’t high enough to support such lifestyle expenses, then obviously you have a problem.
Coming back, the fact is that we all are spending way less as of now.
In fact for many, with the exception of groceries, all other expenses would have gone down significantly and discretionary expenses would be almost zero.
I don’t know whether these new habits will continue or not after the lockdown relaxation. But this might be a good time for you to understand what your real core expenses are and where you can cut down.
So I thought I will share a small excel for you to think about this. No point just talking about all this if you don’t know the real numbers.
This is a basic simple excel which tries to compare your expenses at 3 levels:
- Before Lockdown
- During Lockdown
- After Lockdown
This is just to highlight how much your real expenses are and how much of them are really avoidable (or at least reduceable to some extent).
More importantly, it will also highlight the potential for future savings if even some of your expenses are reduced going forward.
So here is the excel. Give it a spin.
It should be interesting:
Lockdown has interestingly made many people realize how much money they spend unconsciously and on an auto-pilot mode which they really don’t need to.
Will this forced frugality last?
As I said, we have grown accustomed to spending heavily and at times, borrow from future income and spend today. To be honest, it remains to be seen whether this level of restrained spending has any staying power or not. But I am pretty sure, many would revert back to their earlier lifestyle expenses. Why? Because many people’s identities are built around how much they spend. But there will be some who will reduce their expenses voluntarily going forward. How long this reduction lasts is something that I cannot comment on.
But as a thought experiment, I also wrote how people can try and live with a notional 20% pay cut which I am sure will help improve their finances by leaps and bounds.
There is another aspect to this discussion.
The Past human behaviour suggests that historically, whenever we have returned to the normal. We spend more as the pent up demand triggers that. We are a consumption-driven species.
So you never know. Maybe this whole idea of reducing expenses will go down the drain. Fingers crossed.
But nevertheless, give this free excel a spin. It does seem like a good time to separate your needs from your wants.
I hope you find this free excel useful. Do share it with others too who haven’t been reading Stable Investor. Will help them understand their expenses and also help me get more readers.
PS – I know this lockdown is creating hard times for countless small businesses. And I feel for you. But take this article and excel in the right spirit please. It is just to highlight the expenses side of the life.