Covid-19’s ‘saving’ grace

NARAYANAN V Chennai | Updated on July 22, 2020 Published on July 22, 2020

‘Work from home’ has cut travel and entertainment expenses for many, enabling more savings

Greeshma N, who works in a private company in Mumbai, wanted to pursue MBA using her own resources. But with monthly savings of only about ₹7,000 her ambition seemed out of reach in the pre-Covid days.

But the ‘work from home’ option brought about by Covid-19 proved a blessing — Greeshma suddenly saw her monthly savings go up by 80 per cent since March.

“Earlier, it took me many months to save ₹20,000 but now I am able to put aside a minimum ₹18,000 per month post-lockdown,” says the 23-year-old adding, “I used to spend ₹200 everyday on travel; besides, weekend plans with friends and colleagues used to cost a lot, none of this is happening right now.”

Bengaluru-based Manasvi, who works in a Fintech company, has also seen her savings surgesince March. “Earlier, my entire salary would be used up by the end of every month. Now, I am saving 80 per cent of salary as my expenditure on rent, travel, groceries and outside food has come down,” says Manasvi, who has moved back to her home town.

While employers are gung-ho over the increased productivity of their employees due to remote working, the work-life balance of employees has surely become a casualty. But the ‘saving’ grace for employees seems to be the cut in their monthly expenditure on transportation, food and outings with friends and colleagues, not to mention the huge savings on apparel.

Shray Gupta, a Business Development manager in a fintech company in Hyderabad, used to spend ₹12,000-15,000 per month on travel, food and outings with colleagues. But now, Gupta is saving more than 25 per cent of his salary every month.

However, while work from home has enabled people to save much on transportation and outside food expenses, many also say that their monthly spending on groceries, snacks and food, power bills, has gone up, neutralising their savings to some extent.

“While my monthly fuel costs have become zero, expenditure on groceries and snacks has gone up substantially as we are tempted to munch something on and off while being at home,” says P Dhanapal, part of a five-member family in Chennai.

However, not everyone is fortunate with savings. While Asha Natarajan and her husband were saving a few thousands on transportation and outdoor food due to work from home, a 30 per cent pay cut announced by Asha’s employer has thrown cold water on her plans.

“Earlier, I was told the pay cut will be till only September but now they have extended it till December,” says Natarajan, who works as a Business Analyst in Chennai, adding, “I was saving in mutual funds and various other saving products to buy a new house but it’s gone for a toss now.”

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Published on July 22, 2020
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