Cheap or expensive? A point of view…


When I moved to New York, I was a total Mumbaikar.  An Indian who converted all items bought in dollars to their rupee value based on the standard exchange rate  1$=Rs50.  So it was very hard for me to make purchases without goggling at the prices.

I had to make a number of purchases/ investments  when I started settling down.. starting from finding a place to live.  Here, the key to my perspective started with some of the “technical shots” delivered by my cousin Abhi.

Abhi’s technical shot:

Soo, getting an apartment for you in New York will be a two step process:

  1. You will first have to understand that its expensive
  2. You will have to accept that what you get for what you pay is “shitty”

Once you have done the above, finding you an apartment should be a piece of cake!!

Before I left India, I had been looking up online for apartments (Craigslist.com, Rent.com, apartment.com are some of the websites I tried out).  I found them quite expensive in Manhattan.  When I looked up online, I dint find much for under $2000.  There were only studio apartments at that price!!  I never had the concept of having a studio in Mumbai.  I had seen even the smallest houses with one bedroom (that may not always be the case – I lived with my parents back home and dint know much about the rental space there).   Abhi began giving me his “technical” shots once I moved here.  In about three weeks, I accepted that I would have to either pay more than I thought earlier or settle for less.  I found a bargain apartment on the Upper East side – a nice studio in a brown stone building.  But my definition of bargain had definitely changed by the end of the 3 weeks.

BOXED furniture was my next big challenge.  Where I come from, furniture came assembled and was always installed at home for free!! Here, it was delivered either by UPS or some other such provided for quite a hefty charge and came in a box.  I remember worrying about installing it.  In India, it was always cheap to get people to install something, even if it was not free.  Here, it was quite a shock when I received quotes of about $200 for only 3 items!!  I almost died looking at the quotes I got and set down to be carpenter myself (I injured myself quite a bit in the process).  I still feel it is expensive here… to get things done from someone else.

But hurray!! I found something that I thought was cheap.  Electronics!! My flat screen TV cost me half of what it would have cost me in India and so did quite a few of my kitchen appliances.  Buying furniture is definitely cheaper in US than India. 

Here’s the deal though … you will clothes more expensive than electronics!! Coats costs a minimum of $100 and TVs cost $500. Do the math 1 TV=5 coats = $500 = Rs25,000!!! Of course that din’t change what I bought… it just changed what I thought 😉
Now I buys electronics with a vengeance and yeah… I still buy clothes. I merely justify it saying I will wear them for atleast 2 years 😉 Cheap or expensive… is definitely a point of view. Right?

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Comments
3 Responses to “Cheap or expensive? A point of view…”
  1. Atul says:

    I am sure Abhi can give you another shot about:
    never be the ‘impulsive buyeer’.
    You will always find a deal, that you essentially trade with time. So buy things when you get them, not just when you want them.
    Too much gyaan for the day! 😉

  2. Carrie says:

    What a wonderful snapshot of the specific, everyday type of adjustments that one has to make when acclimating to life in the US after having lived in Mumbai. I agree-clothes are expensive here–too expensive, especially at “retail” prices. We have a littel secret here in NYC that enables those of us non-hedge funders to look smashing for less–it’s known as the “sample sale” where one can procure current items at prices that are 50-80% off retail. Diane von Furstenberg, Tory Burch, Theory–it all goes on major sale in Manhattan at these hush-hush sales at least twice a year. *Caveat-sizes and selection are limited, plus the lines can be really long to get in. That saidm though, you really can find some great bargains.

    • Soo says:

      Hey thats a great idea.. I must definitely hang out with you more often 😉 I have been wondering on your amazing clothes. Do update me when you go for one of the steal sales 🙂

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