When you truly want to learn, you’ll find that you are surrounded by teachers. These are the people who bring insight and value into your life, whether or not they are trying to teach you.
For me, one such teacher has undoubtedly been my house help, Anita.
Anita has been a part of my household for over 7 years now, and I can honestly say that not only is she an absolute necessity for me to function properly, but she has also shown me time and again, that there is a lot I can learn from her. Today I’m rounding up some of the best things Anita has been kind enough to teach me –
1. After about a year of working at my house, Anita asked me – “how often do you order dinner from outside?” I wish I had a better answer, but I was ordering in for the better part of the week, and told her the same. She then asked me how much I am spending per meal, roughly. I said anywhere between ₹800-₹1000. She asked me how much that comes up to in a month, and after doing the math, I informed her that I was spending somewhere between ₹12,000-₹16,000 in a month on food (my 20s in a nutshell!).
She then proposed that I instead pay her just ₹10,000 a month and she’ll cook for me every day, and I can cut back on my daily expenses! If a home-cooked meal on the regular didn’t have me sold, the monetary cut-back – and the knowledge that my money is going to Anita and not some fast food place – for sure sealed the deal. This was a simple case of her teaching me to make smarter investments. 🙂
2. A few years ago, Anita’s home in her village got flooded. A number of families’ homes were damaged, and as compensation, the government was giving ₹4,00,000 for reparations to each family in the area. She told me about this income immediately, and while I’d have expected her excitement to be about spending this money, she instead eagerly asked me if I could look up her bank’s website and see what lump sum investing options they might have.
She decided to put half the amount in a fixed deposit, used a quarter for repairs, and split the other quarter into two more halves to finally open bank accounts for each of her kids! Amazing, right? Such a simple act – it was a wonderful, real-life illustration of not spending impulsively, and being diligent about how you diversify your money! 😇
3. As an ongoing practice, Anita has always asked me to keep ₹2,000 aside from her monthly salary, to let it collect on the side. (This, I noticed, is her own version of Daily Deposits!). She’s been so diligent about it, that I promised her I’d add my own ₹5,000 to her savings at the end of every year if she sets it aside without missing a single month. She was only too happy to agree.
In 7 years, she has collected well over ₹2,00,000. About a year ago, her daughter fell sick, and she used her cash to cover her medical bills. This is when I suggested that instead of saving her extra cash with me, she should use it to pay for medical insurance for her family. She still lets her ₹2,000 collect with me every month, but the lump sum I hand over to her is being used to insure her family’s health now. Small steps, regular saving (and a bit of investing!) have given her and her family some financial and medical coverage. 🥳
Anita doesn’t know much about the world of investing. But she is innately curious about how her money can be put to judicial use. She’s always asking questions, and today she knows about savings accounts, fixed and recurring deposits, insurance, and most recently, I even explained to her how SIPs work!
This brings me to my biggest learning from Anita – you don’t have to be an expert in money to be able to manage and make the most of your money! 😎