Humour Thought and Reason

The TamBram’s guide to saving Money

(Thank you, BlogAdda)

Aaah..finally some useful tips in the wake of the new year (Oops..are we in Feb. already?!)

The TamBram’s guide to Saving Money. And these are just simple steps that almost every middle-class TamBram household practise on a day-to-day basis.

Step 1: Save milk, Save gas

Image Courtesy: Internet!

Place ancestral milk-boiler on hob. Snip milk packets at very end, pour gently. Now, tip boiler sideways or backwards (its an art, mind you, to ensure the boiler doesn’t just fall off the hob!), and click a couple of times, until finally, the sticky, old lighter yields to emit a tiny spark.

Warning: ‘Gas Saved’ inversely proportional to ‘Time saved’.

And now, the master stroke. Carry empty milk packets to Kitchen sink, rinse with around 12 ml water (roughly 2 tablespoons Plus a little extra that goes in ‘FREE’), and WAIT, do not throw away this. Add this milky water (er.. I meant, diluted milk) to the boiler. Hardly matters that you open the boiler again, increasing gas/time to boil!

Double stroke: Boiler lets out shrill whistle when milk is done…shrill enough to awaken both your household and also your neighbour’s.

Note: Effective Annual Savings on Milk = 12 (ml) * 365 (days) = 4.38 solid litres of milk per year!

PLUS, A one-off saving on Cost of ‘Alaram Clacks’ = Rs.85 * 3 (your’s and your neighbours R and L) = Rs. 255!

Step 2: Save food

Ensure you buy only the smallest quantity of vegetables for that day’s cooking. Don’t bother yourself with stocking food properly, you know, to efficiently save time, energy and effort. You must only buy 1/4 kg Okra, 1/4 kg Potatoes, exactly 2 Tomatoes, and a few chillis for that day’s cooking. Hey, and don’t forget to harass ‘that cheat’ of a vegetable-vendor for your entitlement of FREE sprays of ‘Karvepilai’ (curry leaves).

Most important – while cutting vegetables (or making poor servant do it), ensure you peel the thinnest layer of skin, so as to Maximise use of vegetable in question. Especially Onions. You must ensure that new daughter-in-law peels ONLY the top-most and thinnest layer of the onion and chops it up finely, through watery eyes. (Itseems water/tears are good for eyes, so you can save on Visits to the Opthalmologist too) Ignore fact that DIL is getting late to work, and that she probably earns a 6 or 7-figure salary! You are, after all, saving about 10 paise on that Onion, you see!

Note: Effective Annual Savings: 1) Onions: 10 paise * 365 days = Rs.3.65 per annum (2) Opthalmologist for DIL: Rs.2500 ?! Wow!

Step 3: Charity and Economy

Ahem..sounds tricky, doesn’t it? But here’s the secret. Give tired servant her daily dose of coffee. Only, use cheapest brand of instant coffee powder (not your ‘Dikaaktion Filter Kaapi’) and WAIT, its supposed to be ‘half-milk, half-water’, didn’t you know? Needless to say, it has to be a pint sized tumbler and not the regular one, Duh!

On a side note: If servant asks for loan, ensure you say, you need to check with husband/son (as the case may be) and give it to her in installments, as ‘we don’t have that sort of money, you know?’. Ofcourse, she doesn’t know about those 15 sovereigns of gold (and unused assorted silver lamps) in the cupboard.

Note: Effective Annual Savings: Marginal amount of milk saved: 75 ml a day * 365 days = 27 LITRES! Gosh, sounds huge when you see it this way!

Step 4: Recycle, Recycle.

Now, now, we aren’t talking about recycling Plastic/glass or any other thing that the Western world is so hell bent on using, to make the world a Greener place. We are referring to the Art of recycling gifts. (Do Read Salil’s post on this, its one of a kind!)

Now, let’s set a few ground rules here.

* Gifts for strangers – Go for that cheap plastic ‘lemon set’ that Patta maami recycled (er, gave) you as a house-warming gift. Ensure you peel off her husband’s ‘Retired Mr.So-On-So’ Visiting Card that also served as a ‘Gift Message Tag’. Ensure you paste your own husband’s visiting card.. er.. gift Tag, instead. And most important, cram in names of EVERY FAMILY MEMBER so you economise by giving one single gift. Also shows how ‘close’ the family is, doesn’t it?

* Gifts for close relatives – Look for a tattered envelope, chuck in an even more tattered 500-rupee-note, and again, remember to cram in names of entire family on the envelope, and if there is space, write in a ‘congratulations/happy birthday..blah..blah’ message too. Now, you can display your family’s diminishing fortunes, by using a ‘used envelope’ and striking out the existing name from it, and writing your recipient’s name below! Ta da!

* Gifts for VIP relatives – For instance.. your ‘Sammandhi-amma / Samdhi-ji’…(and by that, it is strictly meant, ‘Divine MIL of Daughter’ (NOT Mom of DIL)), then make sure you get out that tiny stock of ‘phaarin scent’ that ‘Rukku Maami’s son sent from Kaalifourniya’ and actually gift-wrap it for the big occasion.

Note: Effective Annual Savings: Rs.150 (chalta-hai-gifts) * 4 occasions = Rs. 600 and Rs. 1000 (VIP gifts) * 2 occasions = Rs. 2000 PLUS Re.1 (estimated cost of envelope) * er.. 2 occasions = Rs.2 . Total savings: Rs. 2602 (ATLEAST).

Step 5: Regular  / Forced savings

Gold is an everlasting investment, as everyone knows. Most TamBram households regularly invest in a chit fund or gold chit.

Ting Tong! Maturity time… Now you have 12 months of savings.. say, about Rs. 6000. Woohoo…you have a choice of investing (ahem!) that into white or yellow metal. That is, traditional Chit companies usually offer either stainless steel utensils or gold. So you can either get that stainless steel ‘paniaram pan’ you never wanted OR that pair of old-fashioned fake-looking-pearl earrings you never liked!

But wait, if you do want to buy a decent piece of Gold jewellery during Akshaya Tritiya.. er.. the last I heard, one gram cost about Rs.1600. So you can get.. er..3.5 grams.. but hey! we forgot the making charges..wastage..blah blah!

Whatever! The emphasis here is on ‘regular / forced savings’ and not ‘unnecessary spending’.

Note: Effective Annual Savings: Er.. what savings? We’ve invested everything into metal !!!


So there! Traditional Tips for a Modern Lifestyle! Go on, Save, Save and Save this year 🙂

[All images are from the Internet..the great WWW]

72 replies on “The TamBram’s guide to saving Money”

LOL! That was classic, Pals! You know – this could be true for a lot of communities across India 🙂 The last bit – chit fund/gold fun – that is quite uniquely south Indian 🙂

The gift ideas are classic 🙂

Amazing analysis, Pal. And very funny too!

Smitha is right – it’s true of most Indian communities. And while many outside TN might not be members of a gold fund, the hoarding of gold is also a very widespread phenomenon.


Quirky Indian

ROFL !!!! 😆

Pal, ejjactly brought forth the whole scenario !! Amazingly witty and that is the reality in so many families here !!! From their point of view, I am a spend thrift – when I stock veggies in lots !!! BTW, I cant understand how 1/4 kg of okra will be enuf for a family of 4 !!! 🙄

The milk saving, gift recycling – My God – Amazing but true !!! Still followed as though its a tradition, in so many families !!!!

Fantastically written !!! Looks like you’ve been thoroughly smitten by this TamBram bug, during ur stay in Chennai !!!! 🙂

🙂 :-)Sensible post with double loaded humor!…very true and makes lots of sense ,…most of us don’t realize the value of money…remember school/college days when i used to have a pocket book and note down all the expenses ( wouldn’t spare a single rupee)and had perfect cost control…and to now I don’t care to check my bank balances **swipe swipe and keep on swiping**….BAD!

Days are changing…I don’t mind spending but of course I do mind spending unnecessarily!

Pallu, that was a nice little brain-wave
to come up with this post on how to save
a trait we brought from the times we lived in cave
to which even after so many eons we are still a slave.

Eppadiamma ….room potu yosipingala?

* Swaram: You’ve been first the last couple of times 🙂 Woohoo! And yes, I would love to get that note too 🙂

* Smitha: Thank you 🙂 You won’t believe it, but on my last trip, someone actually tried convincing me into starting a gold chit fund!

* Quirky: Thank you 🙂 Gold gold gold…the greed never dies!

* Hitchy: Phew..didn’t realise it was a bit of ‘gyaan’!

* Uma: Ejjactaly eh? Same pinch 🙂 And like you, I am definitely a spend-thrift! Just that I cannot stand that saving milk thingy…beats me!

* Shubha: Oh no! Didn’t mean this to be a ‘sensible’ post 🙂 I totally empathise with that ‘Swipe swipe’ part.. sigh!!

* PRG: He he, thank you, am flattered! Do you remember, I asked you to maintain a records of all your 4-liners..they are classic!

Pal: Supero super.. Extremely hilarious! BEing a banker, you are sure of So many savings ‘schemes;. Why dont you publish a monthly savings scheme calendar.. 🙂


Good one Pallu! It reminded me of my friend’s grandmom!
She used to make my friend peel the onions, monitoring her minutely!! 😆
Needless to say, my friend hated onions!! 😀 😀

Brilliant!! The gift ideas are so realistic! I have seen this recycling happen!! 😀


Spot on! Pal … 1 pau of each veggies is what many people purchase everyday 😀 …and know what sometime back one man struck up a conversation with my father in bus and then tried to convince him to invest in chit funds! Scary 😀

Hi Pallo

No guesses for who this post reminded me of.. 😉 😡

Superb writing ma… loved the ‘cheap lemon set that Patta mami recycled’ HAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAH,’Dikaashun Kaapi’ and the ref to poor DIL chopping onions, and also the ‘Divine MIL of daughter’ => this one is SO true :):)

*Dman: Not serious?! Scary indeed… 🙄 imagine someone trying to convert you into a ‘chit-fund-saver’ on a bus! Yuck!

* Ritu: Thank you, Madame 🙂

* Urmi: He he, ofcourse my friend 🙂 Thank you 🙂

*getting off the floor where self was literally ROFL-ing*
Thank you Pallu-ji. Will you be my financial advisor? Pleeej???? So many moneys I can be saving because of your valuable pieces of advices.

LOL 🙂 This is common everywhere in India 🙂 The milk cooker is a blessing for absent minded folks, once a young couple went for a picnic leaving the milk boiling and came back home to ready to serve hot, rabri 🙂
The savings are amazing, specially where we save from the coffee that is given to the maid 😦

*Sanz : Many many thanks 🙂

* Roopie: Awarded, did you say? Woo..hopping over to your blog right away 🙂

* OG: Massive research OG..infact there’s more to come, but time constrains me 😦

Initially, I was reading with rapt attention, almost on the verge of taking notes, but then somewhere in the middle I realized, probably you were not serious, and some of tips were not viable! 😉

Wow… this is a really light way of getting people to pay Attention to what needs to be done … well, some of it atleats 😉 :p heheh

Congrats on the Blog Adda pick 😀 cheers

* Aaroo: Thanku 🙂 Really? Unfortunately, haven’t interacted closely with other communities, or I would have had a lot of such posts lined up. LOL! 😀

* Uma: Thank you so much 🙂

“”regularly invest in a chit fund or gold chit””.
Note: Effective Annual Savings: Er.. what savings? We’ve invested everything into metal

Pallavi…..Kasuru panam Ellam Savings thaane???

I am sure you have shown only tip of the iceberg!!!!

* Melany: Don’t we all! The last time I visited the store, I had forgotten my purse, and had exactly 5 quid on hand..and THAT really helped me choose wisely 🙂 Thank you for visiting my blog!

* Kavya: Thank you so much for your kind words 🙂 Will hope over to your blog soon!

* Klishmaklaver: Thanks a ton for your kind words, and I must return your visit too 🙂

Thank you, Sangeetha. Just went over to your website, and am happy to see people contributing towards a charitable cause. Kudos to you and your team 🙂

Oh man! This post was pure gold! Have seen mom do the milk dilution thing so many times! ROFL at ‘make the daughter-in-law peel the thinnest layer of onion!’

Oh! You’re terrific!!! 😀 😀
I loved the post. Truly truly deserving of the award! Damn hilarious. And the gospel truth!

* Liberalcynic: Thank you so much 🙂 Please don’t show this to Mommy though.. and I dare not show this to my mom/mil/etc etc. for fear of being ostracized 🙂

* Niveditha: Thank you very much 🙂 Please come back with your blog’s URL so I can return your visit 🙂

Hi Pal…..this is my first time in your blog. As i was going through posts this caught my attention. Simply superb! No wonder it was picked by blogadda. Look forward to reading ur posts.

hah hah funny! But why just poor Tam brahms? everyone does a lot of that. For my wedding I got from a super rich Gujju couple a 10 yr old “keep hot roti casserole”. They didn’t even bother to change the covering box which had the exact manufacturing date. And multiple sticking tape marks giving a decent idea of the number of hands that may have opened the box… hah hah. And all this considering ours was a “No gifts for God’s sake” wedding

Interesting variety you have. I enjoyed many of them.
Thank you, Koshy!
Thanks for reading my blogs and posting a comment regularly.

I actually like your articles, Koshy, they are all full of substance!

So, what do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s