HYDERABAD: After a year of ever-increasing food prices, this year's budget received a lukewarm response from an average Hyderabadi middle class family which did not expect any radical measures in union budget. Raghavendra Kulkarni, principal of Nrupatunga college, Kacheguda and wife Vidyavathi, a bank officer, share plans for the year ahead.
With a combined income of Rs 60,000 a month, the family of four manages to save close to Rs 15,000 per month, including the amount set aside for daughters’ higher education. The family prefers investing in bank and postal schemes and gold is only for special occasions.
Increasing food prices and the proposal to make consumers pay the market price for cooking gas and file for subsidy later have the middle class worried. “Rising prices of food and LPG are factors we cannot do anything about. For this, we will need to cut down on other expenditure,” said Kulkarni.
Fuel prices are likely to go up due to deregulation of diesel and automobile manufacturers are likely to push the tabs higher, resulting in a double impact on those who aspire for a four-wheeler. To save on the expenditure on petrol, this family is willing to commute by public transport and two-wheelers. "Since we already own a house and a car, we do not have to worry about the rent. However, we use the car only over the weekends for family trips due to the ever-increasing fuel prices. For domestic purchases and daily commute, I prefer using my bike,” says he.
Service tax hike is likely to cloud the family time at the neighbourhood eating joint. "I have been thinking of reducing the expenditure on eating out for some time now. Instead of twice a month, we will cut it down to once a month to adjust other costs,” says Kulkarni. The imminent increase in the price of cigarettes and electronic goods does not have any effect on the family. “Thankfully, I do not smoke. The refrigerator and TV are relatively new. Hence, there are no plans for any new models in these expensive times,” he says.
Phone tariff is likely to move northward and a prepaid connection is the weapon of choice to cut unnecessary expenditure. "Both my daughters are still young and do not need mobiles. As for me and my wife, we keep our bills to minimum, on an average at Rs 500 a month each,” the father of two says.
Holidays are important to keep a family together. The hike in train fares as well as air travel charges do not deter the family from annual getaway. "Every year we take a 10-day trip during summer, usually to the north. We haven't planned the trip for this year yet, but if the air fare overshoots, we plan on taking the train one way.