Recently, while I was working on my client’s projects I came across an article in an Indian newspaper. The article mentioned that Mumbai, India’s Maximum City, has been ranked among the top 20 expensive cities in the world. While London was ranked ahead of New York and Hong Kong, Mumbai, my birth city, was the only Indian city that made it to the list. The news further tells us that all the top cities are most expensive for businesses and workers to occupy. This means that the report only focuses on the real estate segment and does not take into consideration the average lifestyle and living conditions. Ironically, Mumbai is often voted as the most expensive city in India, but I can assure you that majority of the Mumbai population survives on less than Rs. 20000 per month (that’s US$300). To all those who grumble about the rising cost of the city, let me tell you this – Mumbai is all about finding options. The city is open to all from beggars to millionaires; therefore all you need to do is find what you want. If you are in the Maximum City on a limited budget for business purposes, or if you are visiting someone just for a day or two, here are some ways on how to survive in Mumbai at a minimum cost.
Travel in Local Trains, Skip Cabs
If you’re looking for how to survive in Mumbai tips local trains can help you. Mumbai is the only city in India with a massive railway network, so take advantage of it.
Local trains can take you from one corner of the city to another without burning a hole in your pocket.
For instance, a 60-kilometer (37.28 miles) train ride from Churchgate to Virar will cost you Rs. 20 (that’s only 31 USD cents). A cab ride for the same distance can cost you more than Rs. 1000 (that’s US$15.36).
Apart from the cost, the train ride will help you reach your destination quicker than any cab, which is why you will find more people traveling in the local train. In addition, there are apps to help you navigate through different Mumbai points of interest. You can browse train timings and schedule to help you plan your travel in advance. For smaller distances, you can travel in public buses to save money.
Avoid cabs for Mumbai travel, especially if you are not from the city or if you are not familiar with the city routes.
Eat What You Can Afford
Like I mentioned earlier, Mumbai is all about options. You need to find how to survive in Mumbai within your budget. When it comes to food, Mumbai offers a huge platter of delicacies that you can eat. All you need is some research on how to find the best places to eat in Mumbai. You can find North Indian food, South Indian food and even Continental, Japanese, American fast food, and European cuisine.
Different restaurants here cater to a different class of customers so all you have to do is find a restaurant or café according to your budget. If you want to cut down your expenses try the street food, which might not be extremely hygienic, but I can say – You’ll Live.
Mumbaikers have been brought up on a healthy dose of street food.
If you can afford more than a street food you’ll find decent restaurants where you can have a hearty wholesome meal at Rs. 300 (US$5). A-grade restaurants offer you a better class experience for which they charge you a bit higher rate. If you can afford luxury Mumbai has plenty of star-grade hotels and restaurants to provide you with a rich gastronomic experience. There are certain neighborhoods that cater to affluent class because of the demographics. Hence, it will be hard to find budget options in those areas. You will also find many places to eat in Mumbai after midnight.
Shop As Per Your Budget
Shopping in Mumbai is all about the choices you make. It is good to know how much you are willing to spend before you step out. If you prefer to shop on a budget you may choose to shop at places like Dadar, Andheri, Crawford Market, Borivali, Kurla, and Thane. If you choose to buy branded clothes you can pick from a wide list of shopping malls across the city.
A good bargaining skill is always handy to save extra money.
A Quality Time at Low Cost
You don’t have to spend lavishly to spend quality time in Mumbai with your loved ones and friends. If you want to spend a good time you can head to Marine Drive, Gateway of India, Kala Ghoda, Priyadarshini Park and many other such places where you don’t pay anything to get some fresh air and enjoy a great view. If you love watching movies you can head to single-screen theaters that charge you less than the new-age multiplexes. You can explore the museums and most parks in the city are for free. Enjoy your evening watching the people around. Visit some of the shopping malls and enjoy some window shopping as well.
Mumbai is a city of striking contrasts. A city where low-income migrants, mid-income working class, and millionaires all live side by side. Finding the right options is the key to how to survive in Mumbai city. Mumbai offers choices to everyone from local residents to international tourists. It is up to us to decide what we want and where we can find it at the right price.