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23 - 29 June , 2012
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Material Girl
Priyanka Chopra says earning big doesn't mean splurging big. Here take some spending tips from the smart spender

How good or bad are you with money?
I'm awful at money management. My mother is our financial manager. Obviously, she runs everything by dad and me. But I'm not a big spender; I only spend on gadgets and shoes. Shoes are the only girly things I indulge in. Also, my home was one extravagant passion I splurged on. Even when I go on holiday, I try to stick to a budget. I keep a piece of paper in my wallet and note down everything I spend on. By the Material Girlend of the trip I realise how badly I've managed money.

Q. What pocket money did you get as a child? Did you have to save to buy something you wanted?
I still hesitate while spending. I was always a miser and this would baffle my friends. When I was in school in the US (lived with my aunt and cousins) we used to get a ridiculous amount as pocket money – 10 dollars a week. But when you're in high school you want to look nice. You got to be with the trends. Coming from a conservative background, I was only allowed to wear big t-shirts and baggy jeans. So I'd tie up the t-shirt and wear the ripped jeans I had bought from the Salvation Army. My school locker was full of clothes instead of books. Sometimes I'd skip lunch to save money and at the end of the month buy myself something expensive or binge on junk food.  

Q. What's the major change that comes with the coming in of money? Are people nicer to you?
My bankers are nice to me. Even people at stores where I shop treat me really well.

Q. Do you think money or the lack of it is the root cause of all evil?
Yes, lack of money is the root cause of all evil. You need money to sustain yourself and enjoy a certain lifestyle. I can afford a more extravagant lifestyle. But I don't see the need for it. Considering the background I came from, I never expected to have what I have today. We lived in a modest army home yet we had a great life. And whenever I got an A-grade I got a Barbie doll as a reward. You can't afford that on an army doctor's salary but my parents always gave me one. Cut to the present, we never thought that we'd have five cars as we do now – one for everyone in the family. I could have had seven but that's not required. I'm not overindulgent but I do believe you need a certain amount of money to enable yourself and your family live with dignity. It's not necessary to be ridiculously rich. That has never been the criteria for me. Remember, I was content to become an engineer and get a monthly salary.  

Q. What's the plus and minus of being financially independent?
The good is that you don't depend on anyone and stand on your own feet. For women it's all the more important to be financially independent. Even if you get married into an affluent family where you can buy diamonds, you never know what's in store. It's always good to be able to look after yourself. But being financially independent comes with a little bit of arrogance. You need to curtail that. There is a fine line in being independent and arrogant.  

Q. Do you feel insecure despite earning so well?
That I will not be earning as much as I do now does make me insecure a bit. I should be able to maintain the lifestyle I'm used to. But I'll be able to lead a decent life till the day that I die because of my investments. Property is a great investment as it always gives returns. I'll hopefully be working for many years. Basically, I'm a simple girl. The only extravagance is my home. Everything from the cushion covers to everything else has been got by my family. I'm proud of that and I've worked hard for it.

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