We decided to do a little bit of digging to find out what we Indians tend to overspend on. What we found is not just amusing but also thought-provoking. Take a look:
In all shapes, sizes, and material; we hoard utensils in every form imaginable. Whether it’s plastic bottles or some really expensive china or silver – we buy them all. Often, we don’t even actually need them.
According to a number of surveys, an average household needs just 4 cups & saucers, 4 dinner plates, 4 soup-sized bowls, 8 beverage/juice glasses and a spoon/fork pair to go with the plates. Throw in a good set of kitchen knives, a pot, a pan, a microwave, a set of measuring cups, a few containers to keep basic grains and you’re all set.
You certainly don’t need tons and tons of unused and unopened cutlery piling up in your cupboards and under your bed. And yet, if you were to look into your storage cabinet, lo and behold, there’s a 32-piece Corelle dinner set that you probably used once winking at you from the corner.
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We almost chuckled when we found out, but this is no laughing matter! India has about 75 million dairy farms and milk is one of the leading agricultural commodities in the country. The country produces about 155.5 million tonnes of milk a year, of which a large portion goes towards being poured over statues or idols in temples.
People even give posters of movie stars milk baths in our country. While we agree we are an emotional, god-loving (or fearing) bunch of people, the milk could instead be used to feed the thousands of malnourished and hungry children who probably need it more than a humongous cardboard poster of a superstar!
Some have even suggested recycling the milk that’s poured in the temples so no further milk is wasted. Sounds like a great idea to us.
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- Beauty Products
As ludicrous as it sounds, there’s a lot of pressure placed on the population of this country (by us Indians ourselves) to look ‘good’ – or rather as ‘fair’ as possible. Stats show that 30 percent of all Indians admit to spending heavily on beauty and appearance-enhancing products every year.
Just look at your dressing table. You probably have 6 lipsticks that are about 8-years old and you only use two of them regularly. Yet, you would buy another shade to add to your ancient collection to make it not-so-ancient!
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The phrase – “Big Fat Wedding” – probably originated in India. So, how much does the average Indian wedding really cost? Well, at least Rs. 1,00,000 more than the amount a neighbour or a relative recently spent on their wedding.
Did you know a recent survey concluded that Indian housewives held 11 percent of all the gold in the world? Quite astonishing isn’t it?
India is the largest consumer of gold on the planet. All the gold a family ever accumulates is usually worn by a South Indian bride on her wedding day. Then there’s clothes, décor, food, etc.
On an average, a middle-class family ends up spending about Rs. 10-15 lakhs when tying the knot.
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- Temple Donations
The amount of money that goes into the “hundis”, as well as the number of cheques written to temple trusts every year are way too many to count. The Padmanabhaswamy Temple is the richest shrine in India with accumulated treasure of more than Rs. 1 lakh crore! The Tirupati temple is also one of the biggest, richest trusts that receives about Rs. 650 crores in donations every year!
This comes as no surprise considering the eye-watering amounts of money we Indians tend to donate to religious trusts.
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The average Indian smoker spends Rs. 1,800 a month on burning away his/her lungs. While the total number of smokers in India has dropped slightly over the last couple of years, there has been a sharp rise in women smokers over the same period.
Even if you smoke one cigarette a day, every day, over the next 20 years, you will have spent more than Rs. 1 lakh on something that literally eats away at your life. Whoever said an ocean is made one drop at a time was probably right!
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- Tuition Fees
For some reason, Indian parents are obsessed with their kids coming in first in class. They end up spending a bomb on all kinds of coaching classes for their kids. In fact, Indians spend more on tuition classes than on school.
Apparently, about 11 to 12 percent of a family’s budget is just dedicated to a child’s tuition fees.
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- DTH Connection
A DTH connection is not what the problem is. The number of unwanted channels on your DTH is what the problem is.
Skeptical Indians have argued that Hulu, Netflix and other internet services work just fine and DTH is on its way to becoming obsolete and redundant. Well, at least the exorbitant charges certainly are.
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- Expensive Gadgets
An average, middle-class Indian changes his or her phone every 12 months. While India is largely an android market, many people are also trying to make the shift to iOS. iPads have also become a common commodity in every middle-class household.
Indians have a thing for uber-expensive gadgets. There is a guy who sold everything he had in his house, saved every penny of his salary, and skipped several meals – just to buy the largest TV! True story, we kid you not!
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Chuck Palahniuk was right in saying, “The things you own end up owning you.” A budget will only tell you what you cannot afford, but will that really keep you from buying it? It could. If you knew where to put your money!
Here are a few tips on where you could put that extra money to multiply it:
- Invest in a Home. Get a Home Loan?
- Have you considered Mutual Funds?
- What about a Term Life Insurance Policy to secure your family’s future? Or a Health Insurance to bail you out during medical emergencies?
- Fixed Deposits and Recurring Deposits are pretty good options too!