The buck stops with you

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The buck stops with you



How do you keep track of your expenses? And what measures do you take to curtail expenses during recession/downtime?



Delhi

Rohit, this is the terrain of my wife. I am bad at keeping track really. And my wife is good at keeping track. Thank God, if not for that, I would be a pauper.

A great way of keeping track of your money is by living in the cash economy. I possess some nine credit cards but I use them very little. I typically use them to pay my travel bills. And I very quickly settle the amounts as soon as the credit card bill comes in, without waiting for the lure of the EMI to entice me. I am sure credit card companies hate clients like me but this is a great way of keeping track, in living within your means.

The moment you live in a debit economy rather than a credit economy, you are in touch with reality. The moment you move into the credit economy, you dip into resources you really do not have — resources that you imagine you will create in the future. I do believe this is a rather adventurous way to live. A foolishly adventurous way to live.

The US economy collapsed in 2008 fundamentally not only due to the collapse of big financial institutions led by Lehman Brothers but also due to the deep retail-level mortgage economy in every American home that had credit cards with outstandings beyond eight months of what the family could actually earn and afford.

I keep track of expenses when I spend money that I have. I lose track when I spend money that I don’t have.



More and more products are becoming unisex. Do brands have a gender?



Mumbai

Mohit, gender lines in the marketing sense are getting blurred. Do brands have a gender at all in the first place? I do believe they don’t — except for some very niche feminine hygiene products and at times some sets of small products that men, and only men, use. Brand gender is really a making of the marketing man, woman and child. Marketers love to add gender to glamorise stuff. If not for that, brands overlap genders in terms of usage and attitude.

Marketers are so excited about gender that you might as well enter a restaurant one of these days and be asked if you wish to have a ‘Male Biryani’ or a “Female Biryani”. The Male Biryani will be served rustic with egg propped onto it in an ungainly and rugged manner. The Macho Biryani. The Feminine Biryani could be decorated with rose petals and silver foil to boot. Brand gender distinction is man-made, and lives in the minds of consumers. And is mostly historical. Take a product only women use (normally): lipstick. Why does a woman wear lipstick? Research tells us clearly that women use lipstick to look good. To others. This means that the use of lipstick is more extrinsic to the consumer than intrinsic. Lipstick is appreciated more by men than women. Now this is a touchy but real point.

This gender taboo of sorts is getting blurred in modern times. Men cross over as do women and the examples you quote are for real.



Harish Bijoor, is a business strategy expert and CEO of Harish Bijoor Consults Inc. Mail your questions to [email protected]

Published on November 27, 2014

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