It’s no secret, women like to shop! Over the years , I have heard many sexist remarks on shopping from men who feel their partner or sister or mother drags them from store to store to store. These regular comments have conditioned me to dislike the connotation of being a shopper -even if it’s for buying necessities. My conditioning is so deep that I take pride in telling everyone that I dislike shopping and malls.
This is partially true.
I dislike malls and crowded places since a child. I feel I am trapped in a human Tsunami. Lost in a sea of bodies huffing and puffing their way with only one thing in mind- Bargains! Oh! I must have those!
Online shopping has been a huge blessing in disguise for me. I shop online just like the people who scour the by lanes and malls for the next best deal. I can almost take credit for the boom of e-commerce since baazi.com (ebay.in) hit India. It’s no surprise that India has the highest percentage of online shoppers now. I’m one of them.
But, I felt guilt whenever I purchased a book, a gadget, a bra(no Bra-wale-uncle shops for me) or even a lip-gloss online. At 30, I had been working for 6 years and not even 1 lakh in my account in the name of savings. Like most women, I never paid attention to my own financial wellbeing and every online purchase made me feel like a shopaholic with debts even though I had no credit card. Every time I clicked ‘Add to Cart‘, disdainful comments like “women are spendthrift” would haunt me.
After a painful breakup I realized, I need to take steps to secure a nest egg. I maybe alone and the thought of homeless and single is beyond frightening. So, I came up with an idea. Now ladies, this is the best idea to overcome any guilt you feel for buying those shoes. Each time you shop, you must also put some money into a saving or an SIP.
I opened a Demat account to dip my fingers into the world of SIP’s and investments which I had left neglected. With this idea, I now use it regularly. I also started reading up on Equities and SIPs on MoneyControl.com. A few years ago, I would have laughed at the thought of handling my own finances. It’s funny because in school, the last thing I did well was numbers and maths.
I haven’t made crores through my forays into the wold of financial investing. However, I am on the path to creating a small nest egg. I read up a lot on SIPs, Mutual funds, equity, ULIPs, LIC’s, ETF’s and every other thing I could read up on. I went from a girl without any plan to a girl with insurance and a Pension plan along with a few small investments.
For a beginner investor, Recurring Deposits makes huge sense. The idea of investing Rs 20,000 or Rs 30,000 in one shot seems impossible at first and this is especially true if you have rent to pay like I do. Recurring deposits came to my rescue 10 years ago. I started small, with Rs 500 to Rs 1000 monthly deposit to and eventually had enough to put into a Mutual fund or pay the LIC policy premium.
Like most girls and women, I too believed that my parent, husband or a brother will take care of my finances for me. We usually keep banking to a minimum of withdrawals or deposits and leave the rest to some male family member. This is wrong at so many levels as I have realised over time. My shopping guilt for one, the economic independence for another and finally securing my future so I have something for the rainy day besides a pretty green raincoat.
Every woman should be self-reliant and ensure her financial wellbeing. Taking charge of investment and savings not only secures your future but brings with it a confidence which is a result of feeling independent. It doesn’t need you to go give a Chartered Accountant exam. All you need is some patience and some reading up or asking a financial consultant. Slowly, you will get a grip of what works best for you and you can save and also go shopping guiltfree.
Last month I binged shopped on Nykaa.com and then went and invested in Dmart IPO. The Month before I purchased a shirt from Marks and Spencer and went to Tanishq to start their Golden Harvest plan. It’s literally that simple.
A Few Tips for Beginners:
- Start with a simple and small recurring deposit via online banking
- If your recurring deposit matures move that to a fixed Deposit for a few months or a year
- The interest on RD and FD aren’t as good as it was 10 years ago. Average is 6%
- But, this helps build available rainy day cash
- For insurance can start with a Unit Linked Insurance Plan from HDFC or LIC for life insurance
- To build a bit more portfolio you can invest in SIPs via a Demat account.
- Golden Harvest Plan from Tanishq is brilliant for people like me who cannot put down a lump sum in one go.
Note: I’m not a financial consultant. My advice is based on my own conservative and traditional methods of low risk investments.
About the Author
Vidhi Raman Chandra is the blog manager at Sayfty. She is passionate about gender based violence and enjoys brining meaningful discussion towards these topics through her writing. She was Sayfty’s Voice Of The Week on Twitter.