Are You Living in Intelligent Luxury? - Common Sense Living Newsletter
Common Sense Living India

Are You Living in Intelligent Luxury?

Jun 13, 2014


The last time you got a cup of tea on the street ...did you get sticker shock?

'When I was in college a cutting chai was only Rs 2,' you probably turned to tell your colleague/friend/son.

Tea now costs five to ten times as much as it did a few years ago. A vada pav now costs about that much more as well. How much more does life cost now than it did in college?

Life in India now probably costs several times more than it did just ten years ago... even up to a hundred times as much.

Life is more expensive now, and it's not just inflation...its upgradation. Our lifestyles have changed. Quality of life has improved. The standards of service and professionalism that we expect in our daily lives are greater.

When I was young and wanted to go sit at a café with a friend we would pop into the nearest Shiv Sagar for a six rupee cup of when I leave home with same intent I often find myself sprawled on an armchair in Starbucks with a Grande cappuccino and poorer by two hundred rupees.

If you're thinking that a fancy cup of coffee is a luxury... it doesn't represent your spending... then consider this...

I got a good convent school education in South Bombay... apparently at the time it cost less than Rs 3,000/year (I had to call my dad and ask him). Today, the same school charges about 30,000 rupees... makes sense ...about ten times as much.

But we don't want to send our child to that school anymore. Now we dream of our children at international schools where they are taught with the care and creativity we wish we had in our childhoods, and a promise to give our children a head start in life.

The average international school in Bombay will give my child my ideal education for a princely annual sum of Rs 3,00,000... a hundred times what my dad paid for my good solid catholic school!

This fact extends to all areas of life, big and small, luxuries and necessities.

Today, we are not just paying for the same thing at greater prices. We are paying for greater things.

'Ok I get it already. I'm spending a lot more. But so what, I'm also working hard and earning a lot more.'

So you are. Incomes are greater as well, significantly so. Professionalism and good educations are valued with greater salary packages. A graduate from a top B-school often has lucrative offers falling into his lap before even walking off campus.

However, as you become wealthier, your expenses increase to keep up with your income. Your tastes get more sophisticated, and luxuries turn into necessities.

This is fine... the whole point of making more money is to enjoy spending it... and you should.

The only problem with expenses keeping up with your income is that your savings are in greater danger of getting left behind.

As your standard of living increases, and you move into a nicer house and get a nicer car, all your associated living expenses increase....except your savings.

The opposite should happen. As you make more money, your savings pot should get bigger first... before you increase spending indiscriminately.

There are two ways to save more: either you earn more, thus maintaining your expenses with having more to put in the savings pot; or you spend less, thus putting more of your income into your savings.

Earn more: You have a full-time job. You earn what you earn. How can you earn more? There are two ways to do so - one is to prove yourself as a more valuable employee and increase your primary income. To do this you might need to work harder, work longer, learn more financially valuable skills. The other way is to create additional streams of income that add to your main salary.

There are many doable, practical, ways to earn extra money working a few extra hours each week. A great area of opportunity lies online. Here you can monetize your hobbies, interests and talents ... whatever you like. Indians go online for services, entertainment, information and products - but there are not enough Indian websites catering to them. There is huge gap here to fill, so get online and sell to this enormous market.

Spend less: To spend less you need to be prudent. But recognize that 'prudent' is not the same as 'frugal'. Frugal means to scrimp and save and cut corners until every rupee that leaves your pocket seems to leave a hole where it once was. Being prudent, on the other hand, means to spend wisely.

I have great faith in German engineering. When I was getting a new car I was determined that it should be German-made. I found that I could get a Mercedes or BMW, or I could get the same German engineering and beautiful design for a fifth of the price in a Volkswagen Polo. And although it doesn't have the same prestige associated with it, the VW is beloved around the world and has the prestige of being created by Porsche. That was not only enough to satisfy me, but to make me truly happy.

Someday, when my net worth is higher because I made the decision to save rather than splurge today, I will be driving a BMW. For now, I enjoy driving my prudent yet luxurious VW, or what I call my 'intelligent luxury'. It fits right into my budget and leaves me with lots to put in my savings pot.

With all areas of my spending, I employ such prudence - it takes a little bit more effort at first to figure out less expensive, equally satisfying alternatives to expensive desires, but it helps me keep my priorities straight, and my savings high.

'I've learned through my own experiences that you really can live just as luxuriously as a multimillionaire or billionaire just by knowing what to splurge on... and what not to spend your money on. And it doesn't slow down your wealth-accumulation efforts one little bit," says Mark Ford. In fact, he has written a whole series on living like a billionaire - without spending like one, because he thinks everyone should be enjoying a rich life rich no matter how much money they have.

We should all be living in luxury ... the key is to find 'intelligent luxuries' - wallet-friendly alternatives that bring you your own right level of satisfaction - a balance of quality, prestige, and happiness - at the right price.

Tell us what luxury means to you. And what you do to make yourself truly happy in ways that do not depend on money.


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6 Responses to "Are You Living in Intelligent Luxury?"


31 Oct, 2015

Good Article but i read almost same thing in economic times!!


25 Dec, 2014

"LUXURY"or living in luxury is always a comparative statement. Living costs have changed many fold over the years & so have the incomes. Let's consider following: i) During 1919-1920: The salary of a PATWARI (sort of village head) was Rs. 5.00 per month. Expenses (including house rent of Rs 1.00 for a 5 room house) was Rs 4.00 & Savings were Rs 1.00 /month. ii) During 1960: An engineering graduate from a reputed college got a salary start of may be Rs 500.00 per month & still could save some thing out of that. iii) During 2010: An engineering graduate with a MBA could easily start at a salary of Rs. 50,000/- per month & could easily save Rs 10,000 to 20,000/- per month. We can see that every 50 years the incomes as well as the expenses have gone up 100 times. And so people grumbling about inflation over the last few years are not seeing the things in the right perspective. One "can be satisfied" or "can never be satisfied" depends on the individual thinking & desires.

Like (1)


14 Aug, 2014

Off course judicious buying needs some dedicated time for that matter I push myself a step further looking for cheap yet good quality product. My tendency is to have world class ob-jets of desire at a affordable price. It all started when i cracked pre- medical entrance, and my colleagues in the medical college show off their Branded Mindset. I researched the intricate science of shopping ,and tightened my laces to venture the lane's ,and the shops in the city, brand new Pierre Cardin, POLO, pepe jean London ,Monte Carlo shirts and T-shirts all were there at a fairly reasonable price to salvage my pride in the batch of brand centrics , who are keen to see your collar nape. During my internship i went on to purchase a Ford car Ikon for me it was important to have a German or American make more so because of their built quality i was lucky in that one of my senior cleared his USMLE exams,and i got almost a new Ikon reading 2000KM for a paltry sum considering its newness. I still own it as a good luck charm.

B Raj Kumar

27 Jul, 2014

Luxury means something I cannot afford with my present income. In fact I never indulge in luxuries, but for the compulsion of my family members who do not mind even if I have to take loan for buying few things which THEY feel they cannot live without. What makes me truly happy are the small, small things in life - they do not and will never depend on money. In fact my relationship with few people has got spoilt only because of money. Such small things are - the innocent smile of a child, the love and affection that my dog showers on me when I come back home from outside, even a Rs.10/= peanut salad on the roadside, a whiff of air on the foot over bridge,the wonderful dishes that my wife doles out with all love and affection etc. I can go on listing them.


23 Jun, 2014

Hi Mr. Sujit - I'm not sure why you would say this... especially since I know as a writer you are interested in the first extra income opportunity, and we have exchanged several emails about it. In fact you ave given me the best way so far to illustrate the wealth building journey - this is what you said - A good example of incremental effort towards success was given to us in a training programme by a HRD Manager as follows: You have been assigned work in a remote village that does not have electricity. You are returning from work in a different village to your home in the neighbouring village late at night with just a flashlight torch to depend on. What do you do? Does the flashlight have enough focus to chart out your entire route? Never. Do you stop at the inability that since you are not able to visualise the entire route, you should not go ahead. So what do you do? You tread along on whatever path is visible from the focus of the flashlight and proceed. Till you reach your home. So forget about disclaimers and terminology There are no tricks here. Just sound wealth building strategies that will throw light on the path ahead - and if we focus on this path - I know we will both make it.

Sujit Mukherjee

14 Jun, 2014

Mere coinage of terms like ' intelligent luxuries' might not go well unless backed by substantial 'To do list'. This might end up with someone like me as 'terminological inexactitude' of you people becoming just preaching advisories. Let this platform of breakway income not turn out to be a 'Discussion Forum' but a purposeful voyage towards real income for which every member has parted with Rs. 50,000/- . Commonsense Living has to be responsible enough to ensure that every member atleast recovers this money if not more with periodic reviews of progress and handholding. Remember this platform is not just a free Adviseline but a fee-based platform of providing a service towards all its members. And we all hope that Common Sense Living does not use its 'Disclaimer' clause to shirk responsibility and the finnese of its own copywriting skills of pre-sales emails to rope in members. Show us the path of real breakaway income through this association.


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