Smart Ways to Save Money Lessons from Munshi Premchand’s Idgah

The Eid has come after full thirty days, and the boys are more excited than the others. The happiest of the boys is Hamid. He is only four, poorly dressed, and very weak-looking. His father died last year of cholera. Then his mother passed away, and now Hamid sleeps in Granny Ameena’s lap.

The prayer is over at Eidgah. Boys now descend on the sweet and toy vendors’ stores like an army moving to an assault. Look, here is a swing! Wooden elephants, horses, and camels! Pay one coin and have twenty-five rounds of fun. Mahmood, Mohsin, Noory, and other boys mount the horses and camels.

Hamid watches them from a distance. All he has are three coins, and he cannot part with a third of his treasure for a few miserable rounds.

After the toys, someone buys sesame seed candy, and some other dishes. Only Hamid is left out. The luckless boy has only three coins; He looks with hungry eyes at the others.

There are few hardware stores and shops of natural and artificial jewelry on the way now. There was nothing to attract the boys, and they went ahead except Hamid, who stopped to see a pile of tongs.

He remembers that his granny burns her hands each time she bakes chapattis; the iron plate burns her hands. If he could buy her a couple of tongs, she would be very happy. Her fingers would never burn; it would be a valuable thing to have in the house.

When Hamid returns home, Granny Ameena runs out of the house, embraces him, and kisses him but gets angry when she notices the tongs in his hand, and on knowing that Hamid purchased them, She says, “You are a stupid child! It is almost noon, and you haven’t had anything to eat or drink. And what do you buy–tongs! Couldn’t you find anything better in the fair than this pair of iron tongs?”

Hamid replied in a low tone, “You burn your fingers on the iron plate. That is why I bought them.”

The older woman’s temper suddenly changed to love. What a selfless child! What concern for others! What a big heart! How he must have suffered seeing other kids enjoying toys and eating sweets! How was he able to suppress his feelings?

This is an excellent story that teaches us the following basics of saving money.

  1. Differentiate Between Needs and Wants: You may need six pairs of clothes for your office, but you may want 12 pairs in your wardrobe. If you need to dress well for work, that’s okay. You can still save plenty by buying fewer and really utilizing the wardrobe you already own. See how Hamid ignored his desires and went to buy the tongs, which really were needed.

2. Don’t Be An Impulsive Buyer/ Avoid Offer Deal: Most of us spend more money though we can settle for less due to our impulsive behavior and end up paying for things that we really don’t need. For example, You are going to buy jeans, and you see an offer to buy two, get one free, and return home with three pairs of jeans. Do you ever realize you spend double the amount than you were supposed to spend before going to purchase? Avoid these kinds of lucrative offers while doing online shopping as well. See how four-year-old boy Hamid held his nerves and did not get attracted by the toys, rounds, and sweets.

   3. Don’t Compare With Others / Avoid Being A Social Fool: It’s one of the main reasons that we overspent. For example, You have a small family and own a small mid-segment car, but you go for an upgrade just because your neighbour, friend, or relative has purchased a new car, and you end up wasting money for social status. Despite other boys purchasing the toys and sweets, Hamid did not get distracted.

4. Live Within Your Means Without Compromising: You don’t need to live in an expensive house or drive a fancy car to be happy. Hamid, who could buy the sweets or toys, chooses his granny’s happiness over the other things.

5. Think Long Term/ Spend Money Thoughtfully: The self-discipline that Hamid illustrated in the market is akin to the patience and ability to delay gratification that Warren Buffett demonstrates through his lifestyle and investing practice. The 4-year-old boy Hamid had a very thoughtful process before buying tongs.

Disclaimer: The story contents narrated above are taken from Munshi Prem Chand’s Idgah and the opinions expressed are the personal views of the author.

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