Aaah! Dollar conversion (or any currency conversion) to INR is the most Indian thing to do.
I do that too when I am travelling. It is vital because every travel trip is budgeted. However, what turns me off is when I meet Indian immigrants, and they are always doing this mental calculation in their heads. It’s not just a turn – off but pretty irritating as well.
For students, I think it’s okay. Students from India (or any other economy) studying here are mostly dependent on their savings or loans, and it makes sense to do the conversion. But as a student, you seldom go for a luxurious life. Plus, students here do all kind of odd jobs to sustain themselves (legally 20 hours a week), so they do have to plan their finances.
What I believe is when you are working here, you earn in dollars and hence you have to think in dollars. But that is not the case. I might be ranting a bit here, but I have seen people measuring their rents and food bills against the INR, and that is not acceptable.
When you move in here, the first month might be a bit overwhelming because yes, a factor of 70 is enormous. But I slightly, no, I judge you if you are living and earning here for a reasonable amount of time and still do this mental calculation all the time. A $6 loaf of bread is basic. You won’t stop eating food because it’s INR 420.
Back home, if you are spending around 10 per cent of your salary on groceries and around 25% on house rent, the US is the same in major cities. Keeping constant all other factors – the size of the household and the job that you do. I mean this kind of budgeting is something anyone does, no matter where you are working. I don’t see the point of comparing everything.
Yes, I compare two or more stores because there is no concept of MRP( Maximum Retail Price) in the US. So yes, as an Indian immigrant, you will see a lot of people comparing the dollar rates and a lot more who hate that idea!