“I can’t do this shi*t anymore.”
Yes, that was me, every single day, for 4 months straight. When I first realized how much I did not want to work with startups anymore, I looked around and saw almost everyone in the similar state of mind.
“I am not the only one. So, I guess, that’s how it is supposed to be.”
But here is the thing, working conditions in most Indian startups are horrible. Yes, they pay well, I agree, but it’s just like selling your life for a big, fat pay-cheque. Pushing yourself to clock 11-13 hours at work every day for 6 days a week is no joke. So you go on with it until you can and then you pull the plug! After 3 months of constant whining, severe backaches, f*cked up sleep cycle and vitamin D deficiency, I reached the saturation point and decided to call it quits.
I wasn’t prepared to take this break financially. I knew I wanted to take one but not so soon. I was at 1/4th of what I had planned to save but when I realised I didn’t want to get out of my bed to go to work anymore, I thought, ‘I’d rather survive with less money than putting myself through this every day’.
“Naa ho payega”, I said to my boss (@#$^&*) with love.
If you have a full-time job and love travelling, you may enjoy reading this: Pros and Cons of Traveling with a Full-time Job.
So there I was, on the first day of my ‘I don’t have a job’ life, lying on the bed, thinking about what to do next. I just quit a job that paid me a little more than Rs. 1,00,000 a month, so it was going to be a lifestyle change (read ‘shock’) and I was excited (read ‘scared’) about it! I knew this was temporary and I might start working again when I find something I feel passionate about but, it was still a huge change.
After struggling for 2-3 days, I managed to figure out a few ways to keep myself within my spending capacity (read ‘aukaat’). There is no science to it, really. Just a few things to take care of and you’d be good to go. Since so many of you asked for this on Instagram, I decided to list a few below-
You are not poor
Every day, I look in the mirror and tell myself, “Kopal, bro, you are not poor. You might be beautiful but you are NOT POOR!”. Taking this break was a conscious decision and you shouldn’t let it cloud your self-confidence. Remember, it shouldn’t make you feel incapable of earning for yourself. Enter this phase with pride and excitement. You may not last long (or maybe you will) but you will definitely learn a thing or two about yourself.
Be like Rachel
Remember Rachel Green from F.R.I.E.N.D.S.? (if you don’t, read this later, go watch F.R.I.E.N.D.S first). So be like Rachel. Sit with a few friends who are heartless enough to not budge when you start crying. After seeing your credit cards bleed when you cut them into pieces, you may shed a tear or two (in my case, I threw a bobble-head at Vikas, no big deal). Okay, too dramatic but you get the gist. A credit card is just like that so-called friend who keeps offering you a drink in your 2nd month of sobriety. GET RID OF SUCH FRIENDS!
Set aside a daily budget and stick to it
Apart from a small amount for emergencies, fixed expenses like rent, electricity and other bills, divide the money you have by the number of days you are taking the break for and there, you have your daily spending limit. Stick to it and if you manage to save a bit from your daily limit, you can have a frozen yoghurt with it the next day (a small treat for being a brave-heart in tough times)
Kill the urge to splurge
There will be times when you’ll have some extra dough in hand by not spending up to your daily limit. Don’t even think of splurging with it. This is probably what will help you survive rainy days, unexpected expenses like medicines or PMS treats like chocolates and ice-creams (Can’t avoid these for the benefit of others).
Home cooked food is your best friend
Forget pizzas and fancy dinners because nothing consumes your money more than these bills. Start eating at home as often as you can or find a place that’s cheap enough and make it a regular. I am not a big fan of cooking but today I made myself an uttapam. So trust me, if I can do it, anyone can!
Delete shopping apps from your phone
*We just added Rs. 200 to your Myntra wallet*
“Yeah, and who is going to pay the rest of Rs. 900 for that dress I have in my cart?”
As a marketing professional, I promise you, these e-comm companies will do anything to get you back on their apps, browsing through the products till the eternity and luring you into buying things that you can do without or sometimes, things that you don’t even need. Be smart and tackle the problem from its roots.
Find creative and cheaper ways to entertain yourself
With less money to spend, your options to entertain yourself are limited. I use an UltraHD Netflix account and share it with 4 friends, so I spend less than Rs. 200 a month, whereas a single user account would have costed me Rs. 500. When I have some free time, I learn how to play guitar or dance or paint. The point is, you never have free time because money has the power to keep one busy at all times (movies, clubbing, partying, shopping etc.) but now that you have less money, what you get, my friend, is more time. So be productive.
Your true friends will understand
One thing that you may worry about is the social scene (validation and acceptance of your new financial status). Well, if they are really your friends, they will understand your decision and might even help you out (not financially, duh!) but by supporting your decision and standing by your side.
House parties are totally your scene
Okay. So just because you are on a tight budget doesn’t mean you have lost the right to have fun in a social setting. Throw a super pocket-friendly BYOB house party. Host a game night. Plan a paint-it Sunday with basic art supplies. There are so many ways to have fun and not burn a hole in your pocket. It is important to let loose every now and then.
Look for wage-based gigs
Just because you quit your full-time job for peace of mind doesn’t mean you have to sit jobless at home. Pick-up a part-time skill-based gig, or just go for some freelance projects. I am writing SEO friendly articles for random websites these days, its easy money so why not! It keeps me productive and helps me with some extra cash.
Bonus Tips: Steal a bite or two from your flatmate’s fancy dessert stash kept in the fridge when they are at work and confess (always confess) when they are in a good (read ‘forgiving’) mood. If your flatmate is as good as mine, they’d probably laugh.
So there you go! This is what I have figured out so far. I am sure there is a lot more to learn in the coming days. As always, I shall keep you posted.
If you liked reading this article, drop a comment below, Share it on WhatsApp and Facebook, and tag your friends who are “so done with their job” to publicly embarrass them.
Until next time
(Not so broke) Kopal