I set aside Rs 7,000 every month for my expenses because I live with my parents so food, shelter, and electricity come for free. I’m only required to pay for my travel and leisure. Movies and fancy lunches are expected to happen only once a week, but travelling though, it takes up a lot of money. I spend Rs 100 everyday going from home to work, and the same going back. That adds up to about Rs 5000 spent only on cabs, the time spent in traffic is another issue altogether.
This isn’t a problem I face alone, most people I know go broke by the month’s end because cabs and rickshaws are expensive yet comfort is a priority.
How can you then manage this trade-off? Learn the Art of being Frugal, learn to ensure your money isn’t wasted.
Start with saving on your travel expenses. This depends mostly on the distance you have to travel. You have numerous options to choose from, there are trains, monorail, buses, cabs and rickshaws. Let’s look at all these options individually because once you understand what suits you best, you can find a way to start saving up.
Trains- they’re the fastest mode of transport, also the cheapest. But trains have two problems- they don’t connect well with all the insides of the city and at peak hours they’re so crowded you can barely see a train; it’s just people cruising together on the tracks.
Although, if you have to travel long distances at odd hours mostly every day trains are the best bet. Getting a rail pass would be the best option. Say for example you get a first-class return ticket from Churchgate to Bandra that costs about Rs 200; you can take a monthly pass for Rs 2000. You save at least Rs 4000 if you travel five days a week. And first class has these great cushioned seats that are just as comfortable as any car or cab. But then you’ll have to club a train with another vehicle, say a rickshaw or a taxi.
Bus- it’s cheap but a very slow option. Buses ply at intervals of 15 minutes and connect most interiors of the city. The minimum fare is about Rs 12 and even if you’re stuck in traffic for hours, you don’t pay more than the standard price. Unlike cabs, where, sometimes you have to watch the meter like a hawk. But buses don’t provide much comfort; you’re crammed in a very small space with a lot of people for long stretches of time. Sure they save money, but I’ve travelled in buses for five years, wasted hours every day.
Taxis- they’re the most expensive modes of transport in a city but they are quite comfortable. The minimum fare would be about Rs 22 and the advantage of a cab is that the drivers know all the major landmarks and shortcuts of the city, most times. It’s safe to travel long distance when put up against a train during rush hour. But now you don’t just have a kaali-peeli, you can also book an Ola or an Uber. They are great for short distances and they have new promotional schemes almost every day. If you want to travel long distance you can also book an Uber pool or it’s equivalent in Ola because they’re relatively cheap and comfortable, but just take a little longer than usual.
Lastly, we have rickshaws that only ply in the suburbs. They are also quite cheap but have the same old problem of traffic. They’re really great though because the drivers know all the small, seemingly insignificant places and they have dreams of joining an F1 crew. When they weren’t selected they got rickshaws on our streets because that’s exactly how they drive. Unless there’s bumper to bumper traffic you can trust them to take you across as fast as possible…