I was delighted when Sonal emailed, offering to answer the reader interview questions. I just think it’s so fun to know that the community here is made up of people around the globe!
The internet is a grand thing.
1. Tell us a little about yourself
I am Sonal and I am from Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh), India.
It’s the heart of India and exactly in the centre of India.
And I completed my education (Bachelor of Engineering) from Bhopal itself.
For my job, I shifted to Mumbai and worked in an IT company and I am currently staying here in a joint family setup with my 4 yr old daughter.
2. How long have you been reading The Frugal Girl?
I think from 2009/2010. One of my company’s clients was US-based and I was searching for some frugal tips on that network (VPN) and found The Frugal Girl.
So now I feel that I have been associated with Kristen virtually for the last 11-12 years.
3. How did you get interested in saving money?
When I started my job, I was staying in sharing basis but there was no saving.
Whenever I had to shift house or due to job change (here we won’t get the last one month salary if we are on notice period) and joining a new company (again month gap), there was no salary and I had to ask my parents to give me money for 2 months as expenses (rent, food, travelling) were there and I needed money for all those things.
So I thought, “It’s time to save money. I can’t keep asking my family for money whenever there is no salary for 45/60 days.”
I started reading a lot about personal finance and followed lots of blogs (personal finance).
4. What’s the “why” behind your money-saving efforts?
I am saving and investing so that I can be financially independent and can leave my job and do what I like a lot.
5. What’s your best frugal win?
Having a family who shares similar thoughts.
Doing lots of DIY during the pandemic.
6. What’s a dumb money mistake you’ve made?
Giving money to a family member and thinking the family member will return it is the dumbest mistake of my life.
I don’t know when I will get my money back and that amount is quite big. If I ever do get it back, it will help me as a downpayment for my future house.
7. What’s one thing you splurge on?
I buy lots of cosmetics but never use them as my skin is extremely sensitive and most of those products don’t suit me.
I still buy lots of subscription boxes and half of those items just go in the trash once expired.
8. What’s one thing you aren’t remotely tempted to splurge on?
Costly and fancy handbags.
As I stay in Mumbai and my office is a walking distance (1 mile) from my home, I generally go by foot.
And in the evening, I buy lots of veggies and fruits from the local market before heading home and for that, backpacks are best.
A market similar to mine, from this Facebook page
And I have only one handbag which I use when I wear any traditional dress.
9. If $1000 was dropped into your lap today, what would you do with it?
I would save it, and will splurge on the interiors of my future house.
my home decorated for my brother’s wedding
10. Share a frugal tip with other Frugal Girl readers
A few are:
- Don’t waste food
- Always pay bills on time
- Always do grocery shopping with a list.
- Meal prep (I learnt a lot about that in Pandemic)
- Follow 3 R’s: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
11. What are some things that are different about frugal living in India vs. other countries?
I think it’s mostly the same, but I think since labor is cheap in India, we don’t use machines a lot,; we mostly hire someone and get it done by them.
Like, Cleaning, Dusting, Dishwashing, and Clothes washing.
We do use washing machines for heavy clothes but still, the dishwasher is not much in use.
The concept of cooking large meals and storing it in the freezer and reuse it later is not here.
We store corn, peas in the freezer for year-long usage and prepare tomato ketchup in bulk when tomatoes are a few cents per kg.
We still cook all 3 meals fresh and from scratch daily.
You have stores like Costco, Aldi. We have Dmart, Big Bazaar, Metro, etc. but fresh and local vegetables/fruits are best from those small vendors and I still prefer to buy from them, as we help them to earn money and run their business.
Sonal, I loved reading about your life in India, and I really love the pictures of your daughter. She’s so cute! Thank you so much for sharing with us.