• How to Live Frugally: Some Handy Tips

    Hi Ladies, welcome or welcome back to the blog, where we talk about life and ways to make it a little more fruitful and happy. Happiness is different for different people. For some happiness means travelling the world, visiting new places, for some it means helping other people and for some it means nesting and building a slow paced life. We are all different with different wants and needs. And our wants and needs also change with time. As a teenager I wished to have a walk in closet, just like they show in the movies. I was serious about it but with time clothes started taking a back seat (though I get urges to buy them time to time). Now I’m more focused into a life which is conscious and thoughtful. Now I don’t want to shop mindlessly and hoard things that I don’t use anymore. I have mentioned about my Minimalist journey in a post called My Journey Towards Minimalism . Read it later. I have still a long way to go but by practicing minimalism I have realized that living frugally is a great way to start practicing Minimalism. It is not possible for me to donate or sell everything and live with a tiny number of things. I know a lot of people can’t do this as well. On the other hand frugality gives us power to understand our buying patterns and also helps us with our savings. It is very useful if you want to save money and don’t want to waste it anymore on some not so important things. Also frugality helps you regain your power over your money.

    I just gave you such a big intro! Now let me share the tips with you.

    Want List: You know about wish lists but I hope you haven’t heard about a want list. Well, the ‘want list’ is a piece of paper where I write all the things that I want to buy in a month. Necessary things are not included in this list. I only put the things that I want to have but can live without. I also write their prices. Every month I see how much money I’m actually saving by not spending it! It’s such a cool thing to look at a list and feel proud of yourself for not spending money. We all get urges to do impulse buying and this is actually a great way to control that impulse.

    For your better understanding I’m sharing this month’s want list with you:

    *sunscreen- 595 INR (I already have one, so buying another is pointless.)

    *Chikankari Kurti (a kind of a dress) – 1150 INR

    *a specific book- 1349 INR

    *handloom Baluchuri (a saree/ Indian traditional dress) – 2200 INR

    *an app subscription- 450 INR

    And the list goes on.

    As you can see, I have saved quite a bit of money by not spending it and that money is safe and growing in my bank account.

    The Credit Cage: Credit cards are good for people who have great self-control. It is certainly not helpful for shopaholics or recovering shopaholics. Credit cards make you feel that you can buy anything but actually you are taking loans to buy things and later you have to pay for that. Credit cards are not some magic lantern but a way to juice you out. And please stay away from EMIs. EMI for a house is fine because a house is an investment. EMI for a designer handbag is foolishness. Buy what you can afford and sometimes it’s better not to buy things even if you can afford them because most of the time we buy things that we ‘want’ but those are not our needs. During this pandemic I hope a lot of us have realised how little we actually need to live. I’m not saying don’t ever buy something from your ‘Want list’, I’m just asking you to reflect on the decision of buying it.

    List of DIYs: There was a time when I used to spend tons of money on my salon visits. I used to go there almost every week. I know it is crazy but I was addicted to that pampering. Soon I realised that what they actually do is very basic. They basically exfoliate your skin by removing the dead skin and then moisturizes it. It is something that anyone can do at home. I can now do my own eyebrows, pedicure and manicure. I have stopped coloring my hair and use homemade organic dyes. My skin and hair feels absolutely wonderful. I’m growing my hair, so I’m not trimming it often. I will get a haircut before Puja though. Getting a haircut once in a while is fine and it won’t drain me out like my weekly visits to the salon. By doing it myself I have managed to save quite a bit of money which I was spending thoughtlessly. My trick is to learn to do things for yourself and you will be surprised to see how less money they actually cost.

    Monthly Expense Tracking: Just track how much money you are actually spending on specific areas of your life. Get a small notebook, write down the categories where you actually spend and maintain this notebook. At the end of the month do the math and see how much you are spending in what area.

    Some of the categories of my monthly expense notebooks are:

    ·       Groceries + food items

    ·       Other necessities such as shampoo, toilet cleaner etc.

    ·       Eating out

    ·       Bills

    ·       Salaries for the house helps

    ·       Beverages

    ·       Gifts

    ·       Journey/ transport

    ·       His necessities

    ·       My necessities

    Now you can get a clear idea of what I mean. Do it for a month and you will be able to understand where you can spend less and spend more thoughtfully. After a month you would want to continue it.

    Less is more: Frugality or minimalism is after all an attitude. You have to understand why you need them in your life and how they can benefit your life. Don’t go to a journey because everyone is saying or doing so. If you feel the need, you will be able to follow the path or make your own path suitable for you. There is no hard and fast rule. If you are interested in this topic then read about it, watch videos and educate yourself first. Living with less gives you freedom from the constant pressure to fulfill your own wishes. And my darling, wants never get fulfilled. New wants sprout up after another. So it is up to you to realise what you want and then the ‘how’ will automatically come to you.

    These are a few tips which can help you with your frugal living journey. I have more tips in my kitty. Will share them with you later in some other posts.

    Till then, have a thoughtful day and make your want list as well as the monthly expense tracking notebook for the upcoming month.


    Mrs. Raay

  • Is Homemaking for Everyone?

    As a child I dreaded housework and always made excuses to skip it. Though our house was always clean, warm and presentable. It was all because of my Grandmother and Mother and all those hardworking house-helps. So as a child and also as an adult I was used to having a well maintained home without working for it. I did not know how much work and dedication goes into homemaking. You can have many house-helps but they must be managed otherwise your home will be chaotic. I have learnt and realized everything after I got married.

    I got married to a wonderful man who is actually very organized and loves to keep everything in order. I have learnt a lot from my husband. I have learnt some valuable lessons from my husband that I want to share with you ladies, especially to those ladies who are yet to step outside your maternal home.

    You don’t have to be married to learn about homemaking. You can be a working woman and homemaking is for you as well. It is for men also. I have friends who complain about their husbands not being clean or tidy or organized. Homemaking is a skill. A skill you need for a better life. Yes, you can ignore it, we don’t acquire a lot of skills but we survive. Ask yourself just a small question- “Do I want to merely survive or do I want to thrive?” Don’t you want to be well equipped in your life to make it better?

    Modern media has a lot of negative representations of homemaking. They make you feel as if homemaking is a useless thing that some women do who are either a failure in everything, a parasite or just a lazy woman spending all her husband’s hard earned money. In all this noise and negativity we sometimes fail to see what homemaking is actually all about! So you have a house where you are going to live, now what do you want to do with it? And how do want to them. Yes that is homemaking. It is for everyone. Even for the children of the house. They must learn housework from a young age to be equipped later and this will make them appreciate homemaking and homemakers. Actually we are all homemakers who work for our homes, even for someone else’s homes. Having a source of income or not having one is a different issue. We must not confuse monitory status with a skill.

    So what are the things that a homemaker is required to learn. I’m not very old in homemaking but I can say what little I have learnt from practice and from reading and watching or just by observing and talking to another homemaker.

    It is all about your attitude: There was a time when I thought negatively about homemaking. I didn’t know what it can do not only to your house but also to yourself. A clean, clear, organized space doesn’t only look good but also keep you physically and mentally happy. Clutter makes everything more complicated. It is like negativity bringing more negativity. Positivity brings more positivity. It’s as simple as that. Home cooked meals will make you healthier than that take-out food. A well looked after pantry will save money, won’t bring any situation of scarce. I can go on but you need to understand what you will get from homemaking. As soon as you see the benefits, you will want to work for it. All of us necessarily don’t like every part of homemaking. Some hate to mop, some to clean the dishes or to meal plan but if you have to do it anyway, do it with a pleasant attitude!

    Complete a day’s work: My father used to say, “If you study every day, you’ll never fail.” This saying can go for homemaking as well. If you complete a day’s work, your home will never be dirty or untidy. So do the dished and clean the kitchen counter tops, clean your living area before you go to bed and call it a day. The next day you will be welcomed to a clean and cheerful looking home. It will start your day on a good note. Some of you will say that homemaking works never seem to end. My next point will answer your question.

    Have a homemaking routine: When we workout we follow a workout routine, we follow skin or hair care routines for better results. It takes time to develop good habits, to be faster in anything we learn. So having a homemaking routine is also essential. If you are really busy and don’t have any house help (especially in this Covid-19 situation) allot a few days of a week for laundry or the dusting. Mark days when you’ll cook. We are living in modern days with fridge and microwave. So you don’t need to cook 3 times a day for every day. Just cook and store it properly. When you’ll know when and how you will do your homemaking related works, homemaking won’t feel like a burden anymore.

    Be a manager: A good homemaker is a great manager. A great manager distributes work and don’t do it all by himself or herself. Distribute house work among the family members if you are living with your family. If you are living with your roommates, inspire them to share the load. You can have house helps but at the end of the day it is not their home but yours. So work accordingly.

    I can go on but the post has become way too long. I will write more about homemaking soon. Let me know your thoughts about this post by commenting.

    Will see you soon on another blog post. Till then happy homemaking.


    Mrs Raay

    P.S : Homemaking is gender neutral

  • Shows that Made Me Think

    Hi, you! I’m writing here after months. At least it feels like that. The last post was about self help books but sometimes the best help you can do for  yourself is to relax and do nothing. I’m grateful for having a life where I don’t have to work hard everyday to earn for my family. I have the opportunity to work for myself and I’m truly grateful for that. That’s why taking a break is way easy for me, it might not be for many. Yet it is important for every individual to take a break for being healthy mentally and physically. Sometimes you do feel unmotivated or a little down and taking some time off for yourself is absolutely fine. Never ever feel guilty for not being productive everyday. We are humans with brains, hearts and hormons. Not machines! So take a chill pill once in a while.
    During this break I watched a few shows that made me think. Some of them I really liked, some of them made me angry but all of them were thought provoking. So in this post I’ll share some of my thoughts with you. Don’t worry there’s no spoiler ahead.

    Little Fires Everywhere (Hotstar): Let me start with the one which literally disturbed me. I’m a huge Reese Witherspoon fan and I really love shows or movies produced by her. ‘Big Little Lies’ is one of my all time favourite mini series. {But I’m not going to talk about it here because ‘Big Little Lies’ deserves a single post of its own.} I was naturally excited to watch another production from Reese who also is one of the leads. This is a story of two mothers, one named Elena Richardson  played by Reese is white, sorted with a steady job, lawyer husband, big house, four children, her life looks picture perfect. On the other hand Mia Warren played by Kerry Washington is another mother who is black, a struggling artist, a single mother who works three jobs to make ends meet. She also travels to avoid some consequences. In the whole series Mia tries to show that whatever Reese’s character Elena is doing, she is doing it to fulfill ‘the white man’s duty’. Mia calls Elena manipulative, shrewd and a thief. On the other hand Reese thinks Mia is reckless, fraud and a threat to her family. Both of them are right because both of them are doing things for the sake of their children/ family or society or for the sake of art. I found both of them guilty as well as the victims of the societal norms. One accepted it without thinking about her own happiness and the other challenged it. Both of them are fighters. Though the show tried to glorify only one. Watch the show if you are interested in the stories of womenhood, motherhood or stories told from female perspectives. I just shared my thoughts about this show. You may think otherwise. Still let me know your thoughts.

    The Siner (Netflix) : This is probably the darkest and the most mind numbing show I have watched recently. It’s about an aged detective who works in the police department and his unique way of solving crimes. He stays with the criminals to understand why they have committed those crimes. The show brilliantly shows how most criminals are themselves victims of various crimes. Yes, they have sinned but they are not evil people. The fun fact about this show is that it has 3 seasons, each with a different case but the time line is reversed. I mean the case of the third season actually happened at first and the case of the first season happed later. So viewers are actually going back to the past and also getting to understand the ditective in a better way. If you love psychological dramas then don’t skip this show. Plus Matt Bomer is in the first season!

    Switched (Netflix): This is a Japanese short series. It has only one season so you won’t have to invest a lot of time. Yes, this is about teenagers but the story and its message is beautiful and for everyone. “High schooler Ayumi’s perfect world evaporates when envious classmate Zenko somehow steals her body, her boyfriend and her life.” This description is way to simple for this season. Zenko actually committed suicide and she made Ayumi watch it. As you can see the story is quite twisted. Yet it shows the warmth between friends. People actually don’t love you or stay with you because of your looks or your status, people get attracted to your soul. And your soul can actually shine in any any appearance. This show talks about acceptance and the minimalistic approach of this Japanese series will leave you with love and happiness. You will feel grateful being you.

    Pinky Memsaab (Netflix): This film is a simple story of a girl from rural Pakistan and her journey from a house help in Dubai to becoming an independent woman. Actually it’s not only her journey but it’s a story about individual journies. All the main characters go through a phase of self realization in this movie. I really like watching Pakistani or Bangladeshi dramas. We are so similar in spite of having political troubles. I think anyone will enjoy this heart touching story.

    Indian Matchmaking (Netflix): Okay, may be you are flinching after reading the name. Well, I don’t like to criticize anything without watching or reading it! Everyone is talking about it, making memes of the show and I agree those are really funny. But why aren’t anyone saying how true the whole situation is! Arrange marriages are mostly done like this. I’m not criticizing it, I found the show to be more like a farce, it also critics its self. I really found the whole situation extremely funny. But again the arranged marriage scenario is quite similar. People do have endless lists of qualities for their futute partner but ultimately it is all about that ‘x’ factor. Even in arranged marriages people click with each other at fist and then they start the journey together. It’s another way of life. I saw a lot of people saying negative things about arranged marriages or the process of this kind of marriages. I want to ask one thing, do you really understand a person even after staying with him for years? When you stay with that person don’t you change things for each other. Everyone change to be better, to stay happily, it’s just that the change should be consensual. “I won’t compromise, he may..”- this kind of thoughts lead one nowhere good. If you think you are perfect then you must rethink it. Human beings are ever changing. One must change in order to grow. None of us are “perfect”. Perfection makes you stagnant.

    Okay, this post is getting way too long. Let me know your thoughts by commenting. This post turned out to be a review post. But please don’t think that taking a break is equal to Netflix and chill. I read and wrote and thought and felt a lot of things while in the break. These are just a few shows that I wanted to discuss with you. If you want a part 2, let me know.

    Bye for now. Will see you soon (hopefully!) till then Chilax!


    Mrs Raay

  • Self-Help Books that Actually Help

    If you ask me,”What’s your favorite? Fiction or non fiction?”
    I would choose fiction any day. Fiction takes me to another world. I stay engrossed in the stories, I feel connected with the characters. But what about us? What about our story? We are the main character in our lives. This is where Self-help books come handy.
    I have read quite a few Self-help books addressing different aspects of life. Some of them are avarage, don’t really help much. But there are some books which really help. At least they helped me. That’s why I thought of sharing my take on these self-help books.

    You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay : I absolutely love this book. I have read this multiple times. This book gives me strength. The author Louise Hay was a hot mess, she had a terrible life experience but she changed everything by changing her perspectives, her thoughts. She says in the book, “The only thing we are dealing with is a thought and a thought can be changed.”
    I absolutely agree with this idea. She also says that if someone says something about you, don’t take it as the ultimate truth. It’s just a perspective. We all grow up with some ideas about us and about the other things in our lives, not realising that some ideas are damaging for us. This book says what exactly we can do to heal different aspects of our lives. The tasks she asks the reader to do is simple but the effect is very powerful. She talks about excepting one’s self and asks the reader to forgive herself or himself. There’s an exercise called ‘the mirror exercise’ which has helped me immensely. I want everyone to read this book. It is very logical and unlike *The Secret*.

    Eat that Frog by Brian Tracy: If you are struggling with procrastination then pick up this book. It’s just a couple of pages. This book talks about 21 ways to improve one’s productivity. I was a lazy bum who was always procrastinating. I used to fear doing crucial and important works and did them at the last moment (only if I had to do them). My productivity was very low. Then I read these lines, “If you have to eat two frogs, eat the ugliest one first.” What the author means by this is, if you have two difficult works to be done, do the toughest one first. The other one will seem easier. I religiously follow this philosophy and always do the ugliest, toughest, biggest job first and after that all the others become easy-peasy. 

    Start Up Your Fashion Label by Aarthi Gunnupuri : If you are into fashion and want to have your own label or boutique, this is your book. The writer discusses all the steps that you need to follow to build a fashion brand. She has also shared many sources of useful information. It actually helped me create my own lifestyle label.

    Writing a Novel by Richard Skinner: This is one well written book probably because the writer himself is a novelist. He is also the director of the Fiction Programme at Faber Academy. This book is a little costly but I absolutely enjoyed reading it. Well I haven’t written a novel yet (it’s on my bucket list). Even if you don’t want to be a writer, read this because the discussions about fiction is so thought provoking!

    That’s all for now ladies. Let me know if you want me to do a part 2.

    Will see you soon. Till then, happy reading!

    Mrs Raay

  • “Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands”

    Famously said by Elle Woods. Haven’t you watched Legally Blonde? Watch it if you haven’t. So, in the movie she was explaining to her lawyer colleagues that exercise gives endorphin which makes one happy and happy people just don’t kill anyone. Because they are happy! Okay killing someone is way too extreme, but aren’t we almost killing each other at home?

    You are thinking that I will suggest working out. Those crunches and push ups which I have started many a times to fail miserably. Then I read KKK’s interview (Kareena Kapoor Khan ofcourse). She was saying that one should include only those rituals that go with their lifestyle and vibe. Otherwise people are more likely to quit those routines. For instance, I cannot eat avocado everyday. It’s too expensive and not easily available. But getting endorphin is also important. So I started walking on the terrace and smoothly moved to dancing. Both of them keep the endorphin supply going for me. If you are not an exercise person like me, do other physical activities that is suitable for you.

    How not to kill someone: For some reading is peaceful and for some gardening or just talking to people, socializing. My other half loves social interactions, it keeps him balanced. On the other hand I prefer my me-time, making something by hand gives me immense joy and keeps me calm. So find what tames your wild. Give some time to that. Because of lockdown a lot of things are not possible to avail, such as traveling or going out to party. Other than these things there must be something that you like, gift that to yourself darling.
    Okay, I’m not going to drag this post further. Just remember that in this time of scarcity you are enough. You’ll just have to dive inside you.

    Good bye for now ladies. Will come soon with another less preachy post. Till then go get your endorphins and don’t kill anyone!

    Mrs. Raay