This is a partly hypothetical and partly actual conversation. Not naming the people, area, location, – does not matter.

It was one of the not very expensive kinda hotels and it was empty. A few over grown kids were talking about their parents….

The first girl said: My dad will not wear a shirt costing more than Rs. 1500. I just cannot understand this. I am paying for it from my pocket out of my hard earned money – I have no clue why he will not.

All of them laughed and I am sure they were NOT SURPRISED at all. ย And the second girl chipped in to say ‘It is not as though your dad cannot afford it. After all he has 2 earning kids, and apart from a house he and his wife have a pension of Rs. 40,000 per month!

More laughs.

Another guy chipped in and said: ‘I offered to take my dad to ย  ย  XXXXXXXXX for lunch and he was aghast. He said I will not eat out in a place that costs Rs. 2500 for a meal.

And do not forget he retired as a Vee Pee in a bank with a salary in excess of Rs. 40 Lakhs, it is not as if he has not gone to such places, but does not want to spend his money (or even my money) on a a meal..If the 4 of us had gone it would have cost us Rs. 12,000 including taxes and one drink each.

The cheapstake that he is he suggested going to his cheap club.

Again a round of laughter.


I have no clue how to react to such a situation. I do not know these kids, but I am sure there are many fathers and mothers who are not comfortable spending Rs. 2000 on a shirt or Rs. 12000 on a dinner for four. Make no mistake, these are millionaires. They are about 60 years of age. They have seen hard times and have seen fantastic cash flows at the end of their careers. It is not as though they cannot afford it.

MAKE NO MISTAKE – If you have financially successful people around you do not laugh at them. Learn from them. Frugality by choice is worth celebrating. Know how your parents became millionaires. Know why a Gujju owning a Merc does not hesitate taking a train. Know that eating out in a fancy restaurant REGULARLY is actually delaying your financial freedom. I fancy my early retirement far, far more than a fancy restaurant or a fancy holiday.

Personally I am not comfortable spending Rs. 3000 on a meal. It is just not me.

Have I eaten at places which cost that kinda money? The answer is yes, and bluntly it was somebody else paying. ย A few times when the business demanded it, I have had to eat at such places paying for it – surely it was tax deductible, but it was a business necessity.

Will I eat out at a place which costs Rs. 3k for a meal? I do doubt it -but I do not have an inkling of the prices at some of the expensive restaurants which I used to visit in the past so I am not commenting.

I know of people with a net worth of Rs. 10 crores who will find it difficult to sign a cheque of Rs. 1 million to go on a world tour. They may be able to buy a house worth Rs. 2 crores by selling off of some shares, but spend they may not!

Personal finance is personal. Your parent, you and your children can have a dramatically different attitude towards money.

I know how much a friend cried while bailing his son-in-law out of financial trouble. His net worth was about Rs. 40 crores and his son in law had lost Rs. 3.5 crores in the share market. The son-in-law’s father had a net worth of Rs. 1 crore (yes it was a love marriage!).

It is not easy to sign an expense cheque for many people whom I know. Sadly a lot of this money will be inherited by people who will not bat an eyelid before they buy a shoe for Rs. 12,000 with the money of a man who would NEVER have bought a shoe costing more than Rs. 1200.

That is life. Make sure your money is used for a good cause. In life as in death.

Remember YOU can covenant that.

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  1. Prashanth Jnanendra

    A lady, competing in a “food reality” show on TV, remarked she had eaten a dish worth Rs 1 lakh! Yes, Rs 1 lakh!
    Next time, you talk about indulgence, you could cite this example too! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. EXCELLENT INPUT SUBRA.Thank You….Guys In 20s to 30s…Remember….Most of our parents were single earners with many people to feed…They knew value of every single rupee…They earned it and spent it well most of the time to Feed Extended family ,Help Extended Family even with major expense like marriages of relatives and spent For Your Education…
    “Arrow” of Denial was always towards self for most of these parents so that they can dress their Peter and Hussain….Lets be Proud of them and lets Bow Infront of them….Do Not Insult our Parents…For Heavens sake !

  3. I had this problem almost every weekend earlier. All my friends & colleagues want to go fancy places (All then newly employed) When in my hometown a family of four have good meal in a good restaurant but nothing fancy(Indian, Chinese but not Italian) at 500 to 1000 rupees, I cannot make myself spend even Rs 1000 on a meal (The favorite restaurant is Barbecue Nation)0r Rs 500 on movie ticket & other such things. They have to buy only branded clothes. I for example can buy 3 polos @ 899 form of good quality whereas I doubt if I get even 1 of the branded stuff.

    Now a days I just avoid it by saying I will be moving back to my hometown to start my business & I am saving for it.

  4. Also they have gone crazy trying to understand how one can survive without a smartphone
    P.S. I current phone is almost 4 years old & still going strong.

  5. What was actually a way of life is today considered a outdated mode.

    When in school, a potato chips pack (home made for branded potato had not entered in India in the early 1970s) cost 50 paisa. (Re 0.50)

    Yes 0.50 paisa had value. In a all boys boarding school, we only got Rs 2 as weekly pocket money.

    Today a pack with less chips then what was available for that amount costs Rs 20/- or more.

    Where you make a valid point about some folks finding it difficult to spend 1500 on a shirt or 12000 on a meal, another problem that has crept in is that the rupee has devalued so much that for some of us it is so hard to evaluate what the price of a shirt or a fancy meal should be.

    Many of us in the 50 Plus age bracket are stuck up in a time wrap, and fancy the old price lines which simply don’t register for the younger generation.

    The old versus GenNext issues will continue to confront society, but just hope the younger generation is able to afford and live the good times for long times which they can currently afford.

  6. @Ravinder Makhaik ๐Ÿ™‚ 50p @ 1970 , that is almost 44 yrs back then, today the same 50p is worth Rs 33.13 (if compounded at 10%) and the will cost Rs 100 by 2025, just 10 yrs from now ..So my moral of the story am gonna eat it now before chips gets costly (or before my health condition gets bad)!!! haha

  7. @ Bharath

    Thanks for calculating the value of 0.50 paisa in today currency valuations.

    Moral of the story: After all a shirt at Rs 1500/- or a meal at Rs 2500/- maybe is not so expensive as it was way back in 1970.

    @ Subra any comments !!!!!

  8. The inflation that one takes over long periods of time can change the answer. White goods inflation has been very low, but fuel has been high. Commodities less, branded goods higher.

    This is not about inflation, it is about attitude. If you are under 40 you need to worry about the sustainability of your job, and the speed at which jobs and industries are being replaced. Once upon a time in Shimla people would have worked with Travel agents for booking Air and Rail tickets – that has gone online. Banking, brokerage, etc. may be thriving but using people with different skills..

    Understand risk, that is my argument. Respect people who saved money, invested well and grew rich. Remember u may be having a credit filled lifestyle, the older people have CASH. And as they say ‘Cash is King’….

  9. Awesome post Subra.

    Yes, wonderfully articulated. I have always felt we need to learn to respect attitudes and behaviors of people – which would be based on their experiences and learning from them.

    Many a times I have faced comments and criticisms about my attitude towards money which is similar to that highlighted by you. I have always noticed that rejection of other’s views or ridicule is influenced by a rigid mind which is incapable of considering other angles or the possibility of change – as you have noted many times, and also in the above comment.
    I keep sharing your posts with many close ones and this one goes with extra stars.

  10. “adly a lot of this money will be inherited by people…” – all the more reason why inheritance should be banned. any financial gifts from parents to adult child must be taxed at excessive rates.

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