Monday, September 8, 2014

Ways to avoid ATM charges in India

·         Use cards

Use your debit and credit cards so that you don't need too much cash. However, some may charge 1-2% transaction fee. There is also the danger of overspending.

·         Plan your cash flow

Don't wait till you are broke to withdraw money from the ATM. Plan 2-3 days in advance so that you are not forced to use another bank's ATM. While withdrawing cash, take out more than the amount you need immediately. Take into account the expenses during the coming 8-10 days and withdraw accordingly.

·          Prefer your own bank

Avoid using another bank's ATM. Only if there is no ATM close to you should you use another bank's ATM. Some banks have apps that can help you locate their nearest ATM on the smartphone.

·          Keep emergency cash

Keep some cash at home in case you run out of money due to unforeseen expenses. However, don't keep too large an amount in cash. In your effort to save Rs 20 in ATM fees, you could be losing out more on interest on that amount. Besides, keeping cash at home is not always a safe option.

·         Use dormant account

ATM charges will help revive your dormant bank account. Most banks charge Rs 80-100 annually for a no-frill debit card. One card allows 36 transactions on other banks' ATMs and 60 at your own per year. This is a cheaper option.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Of souks, supermarkets and mandis

The past one year in Muscat has changed my shopping experience. Though we have malls and super markets such as Big Bazaar, Reliance and Nilgiris back home, I have never been so spoilt for choice. Of course that always lands one in a dilemma. Which brand to buy, which is cheaper, which gives you value for money and how much to buy.
The seasonal bargain offers too lands one in a quandary. At LuLu and Safeer I always have to argue with my wife and daughter about what to buy and how much. Back in India this was no big deal. There were seldom real bargain deals. And we had limited options too to choose from. If Big Bazaar stocked a certain brand then it would be missing in the shelves of Spencer’s Daily or Reliance or More never.
I am fell in love with bargaining for clothes and sundry at first in New Delhi’s Janpath Lane, just off Parliament Street and Connaught Circus (They have renamed it to Rajiv Chowk now. Erasing all traces of British Raj, I guess).
Back in the 1990s the shopkeepers in the lane used to call out: ‘Das ka Das ka, koyi bhi, le lo’ (Only 10 rupees, take anyone) in a sort of chant that I was mesmerised by it. Today they must be chanting in the range of 100s as in ‘Sau ka Sau ka, koyi bhi, le lo’.
Janpath remained my favourite place for bargain hunting be it a T-Shirt, a shirt or bags or for just hanging out and have soda from DePauls during my life in Delhi. Even the Chandini Chowk area in Old Delhi was a paradise for bargain hunters. Come Sunday I used to head out to Darya Ganj, also in Old Delhi to look for second hand books, which again could be had for a couple of tens. And books could be given away which saved me the trouble of carting it around
Today the favourite haunts of Delhiites are the numerous shopping malls that have sprung up all over the capital of India. The malls in Gurgaon are the favourite what with a couple of cinemas thrown in. Nowadays, shopping has become an all day experience where one shop, see a film and eat out too.

The art of haggling is slowly disappearing and my skills too have become rusted. True, with groceries coming at such bargain prices as in Muscat, there is seldom any need for bargaining. The shopping cart has become a de rigueur, into which we haul in stuff and then at the counter we pay with our debit card. No questions asked. And we find that we always end up buying more stuff even after taking a huge list when we go for our monthly shopping. The monthly shopping budget in Muscat is much lower than it ever was back home, my wife vouches.
As for me give me a local shop or market any day. I love haggling over the price for the sheer pleasure of it. The local mom and pop shop (or should I say the son and pop shop as is the case in India) gives me much more. We gather the local gossip and other important happenings in the locality we live. Alas they are slowly disappearing in my town too.
The local mandi or market  gives me much more in life that a super market or mall can never give in its airconditioned comforts. I love the bustle and hustle of a market even the smells which the sanitised atmosphere of a mall or super market can never beat.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

India opens retail markets to Wal Mart, Carre Four

In a landmark decision on November 24, India open its $450 billion retail market to global supermarket giants,approving its biggest reform in years that may boost sorely needed investment in Asia's third-largest economy. 
The cabinet allowed global chains like Wal-Mart, Carrefour and 7-Eleven to bring up to 51 per cent foreign equity to open multi-brand retail stores despite opposition by some allies in the ruling coalition. It also allowed 100-per cent equity in single brand retailing.
The government feels the move will cut intermediaries between farmers and retailers and will help them get more money for their produce. It also hopes the move will help bring prices at retail level down and calm inflation.
How long will we have to wait for the results to show?

Will Dam999 reignite another war of words?

Dam999 being released today is already causing a lot of angst in Tamil Nadu. The movie, directed by Sohan Roy is about the Mullaiperiyar issue, which incidentally has been a bone of contention between two south Indian states.
An enraged group of Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam cadres – who insist the movie is partial to Kerala because the director is a Malayalee -- barged into Prasad Film Laboratories in Saligramam and damaged property.
Police arrested 23 of them, including the party’s state general secretary ‘Mallai’ Sathya. Sohan Roy meanwhile has issued a statement that the movie is based on the true story of the Banqiao dam collapse, which killed 2.5 lakh people in China in 1975 and has stated that Dam999 has nothing to do with any dam in India or in Tamil Nadu.
He says the Mullaperiyar issue had given him the idea to make a film on dam disasters and also added that he planned to hold a special preview for politicians.
The parties that have been riled up by the movie are the Pattali Makkal Katchi, MDMK and Puthiya Tamizhagam, who have all demanded that the state government stop the release of the film saying it would trigger law and order problems in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thank you Steve Jobs

The man who forced all of us to become social animals on the move has logged out of life.
Thank you Steve.