Expense Report May 2017- We met our goals

May marks the anniversary of the blog and I have to sadly admit we only shared a little of 20 posts in one year. As I have said ad nauseam, work has kept us pretty busy this past year and we aim to do much better. Our goal to get better covers our investment decisions, consistency, health and definitely our spending. We had stopped publishing expense reports because I thought who wants to know how much I spend on buying the essentials. We decided to start again as it allows me to write about us and also because we realized that spending was a major issue.

May was a month of realizations both financially and personally. As we polished the FY update we saw how much (more than our expectations) we had racked up. We also realized how long way we still have to go. Work kept on getting stressful and thankfully we found ways to get away from it though not always.

Past month we managed to squeeze in a quick pilgrimage with my parents and Mr. S’s parents are with us ready to go on their trip, as you read this. Spending time with our parents makes me realize again and again that one of my motives to retire early, is to give them more time when they will really need it.

Our spending was quite under control though we did eat out and finally saw a movie after June last year. We also managed to reduce our electricity consumption in April and paid just Rs.510 for it in May (not owning an AC helps a lot) . I am really hoping we are able to reduce it even further and a number in late 300s would be sweet melody. We live in probably the highest per unit rate city and seeing a reducing bill feels great.

We have been trying to reduce a lot of stuff that we have and we did sell a decent mount of both steel and plastic wares for a small amount. More than the money we got out of them, we managed to free up some space in our tiny apartment. Next action was to sell some of the big living room furniture and replace it with a futon. Futon will allow us to retain our bed when an elderly (parents mostly) visit us and we hand over the higher bed to them.

So let’s see how we actually did

How we track our spending: We started with Andromoney to keep tabs on our spending but it was tiring, even though it was accurate and gave us detailed breakups. These days however we use a simple google spreadsheet and it works fine for us except I miss those charts.

Grocery (We usually order online through Big Basket (affiliate link) or else we buy in bulk from the super mart nearby. Small purchases are from nearby market.) – 4147.42

Eating out (Includes what we paid the lunch lady in office) – 4483.96

Entertainment (includes house parties and movies)- 569.72

Utilities (includes internet, gas, electricity. We currently don’t pay for water separately)-1310

Side Gig expenses (money to run the blog and freelancing tools)-949.9

Other household stuff (DIY kitchen hanger of sorts and cleaning brushes) – 487

Bike maintenance and petrol (as you would remember we don’t own a car) – 450

Personal grooming (haircut for both and hair removal for one) – 690

Gifts- 809

Total expenses= 13,897/-

This is the first time we have not only met our target but also surpassed it. We managed to run quite a tight ship here, but we have to admit a lot of fluff could have been cut (including the enormous expense on eating out). Our biggest goal this past month was to buy fewer groceries which seems to have paid off a lot. We would usually buy a lot of variety and then rarely consume all of them before they run out.

In May we ate lot more vegetables than we usually do and a lot of that was through fried rice, burrito bowls, tacos and the likes. That meant a lot of fresh produce was eaten and a very small amount was wasted.

We did cook quite a bit at home but relied on rotis from one or the other lunch ladies. That did cut our expense down but not by a huge margin. I am hoping I start making decent enough chapatis to cut the expense down further.

We have managed to identify some sweet deals around on food we like to eat. There is one place which sells sushi on 1+1 on a weekday and another which has unlimited pizza on Fridays. Our movie tickets were also discounted using an offer on VISA cards.

Like everyone we still make excuses for everything from how we would not be spending on gifts every month or how we don’t get our hair cut every month. However we know with our expense records last year there is something or the other that crops up every few weeks. If we want to make the retirement budget reflect where we are realistically we need to have some factor of safety built in.

We are again aiming for a budget of 14K in expenses beyond rent and EMI for June. We have family visiting us right now and have eaten up a considerable amount of the budget in these 5 days. Add to that a strike which has inflated fresh produce prices immensely.

How did you  and your expenses fare last month?

9 Comment

  1. Congratulations to you both 🙂

    I’m wondering how you managed to keep the cost at 1300 for Internet, gas and electricity altogether, good effort.

    1. Thanks, We have been really following our electricity consumption and since the house is empty all day there is nothing much consuming power. We have a much higher bill this month partly because parents were over and it was really hot which means more usage throughout the day.
      Our gas is piped and we paid around 600/- for a certain amount of units. I doubt we will be dishing out anymore anytime soon since our consumption hasn’t reached even half of what was billed.
      Internet is actually quite expensive. I hate paying 700 per month for the shitty connection we get.

      How much did you total?

  2. Akhilesh Vijayan says: Reply

    Hi, I just came across your blog now. We seem to have same aspirations. I am 27 year old from Mumbai based in Auckland,New Zealand. I aspire to retire by 45. I am unmarried, living alone in the city. I have got student loan as debt and no assets or properties unless I inherit my family’s property in Mumbai and Kerala. Like you, I believe in frugal living but I’m a bit extreme when it comes to saving. I managed to save 75- 80% of my monthly income in last 6 months have been employed. This was manageable as I keep looking for freebies, free food, discounts on groceries, sharing a room with a flatmate, cooking food together with all flatmates and so on. All my saving is currently being put aside to pay off my student loan (Rs. 20 lac). I am positive I can pay it off in next 6 months. I have saved half of it. Besides I am looking for passive source of incomes. Have you looked into anything similar? Is this blog a means to secondary income? How much % of your yearly or monthly income do you plan to save or are already saving? Do you have suggestions for me? I don’t have any insurances except for company’s insurance cover.

  3. Hi Akhilesh,
    Welcome to our space on the internet. It is amazing to have people around our age look for ER especially when most people around us a re looking to buy the next shiniest thing.
    We currently save over 50% of our after tax income. We do not include home loan principal or EPF in this which if considered would take us closer to 70%. None of know if and what we will inherit from our parents and never include that in any of our calculations.

    With ER in focus we have managed to reduce our expenses as our income increases and the biggest avenue for savings seems to be food both how much you go out as well as what you do in your own kitchen.
    We have been working towards secondary income source for quite some time now and we use it to mainly fund our travels throughout the year. It would be awesome if the blog could pay for itself in a year or so.

    We carry company health insurance for ourselves and since we both get spousal cover we have double the cover for no real cost to us.
    What is the amount you are looking at to amass?

    1. Akhilesh Vijayan says: Reply

      Thank you for your reply. You can call me Akhil. I don’t have a set target “figure” now. My immediate focus is to be debt free in a year as I previously mentioned. I can then start investing the savings there on to be self reliant in future. The figure that I am looking to amass by 45 should be enough for me to live comfortably for the next 35-45 years without compromising on lifestyle and also to travel around the world (my biggest wish). What I am unable to judge is how to adjust the inflation rates to cost of living. So on this date, say if i were 45 I would need 2 million NZD to live comfortably for next 40 odd years.
      So how do you adjust this to inflation? What could be the benchmark? Most of the costs such as healthcare, drastically shoot up every 10 years.

      1. When we started last year we had no clue where we stood in terms of actual money required to sustain ourselves but we knew that our previous spending habits would leave us nothing to rely on. I would really insist that you take a stock of what you spend currently and what you can actually cut. feel free to send in a case study or post one on Mr. Money Mustache forums.
        We account for 6% inflation with 8% market returns and recently in another one of our posts someone one recommended a 12% inflation and 13.5% return. Whichever way you think realize that your money will probably grow more than inflation as inflation numbers will drive the lending rates and stock prices. As long as you don’t keep money in cash I think chances are your money will grow at a faster pace than inflation.
        I have no idea how much it costs to live in NZ or where you plan to retire to, but a good health insurance usually mitigates the risk of excessive health expenditure unless you face a terminal illness.

        Also start travelling today whenever you are free from debt and have your emergency fund set up. Budget travel will serve both the needs- travel and saving money.

  4. Akhilesh Vijayan says: Reply

    Thank you for your advice. I do plan to settle in NZ for personal reasons. NZ is quite bullish about cashless transactions. 99% of transactions are cashless. I never carry any money on me. I like it that way. Regarding travelling, I have planned budget travels for next year, but I reckon I won’t be travelling frequently until retirement.. Like all country NZ has its problems too. Real estate prices have skyrocketed and you need a million quid atleast to buy a decent home here. That’s the biggest issue for me now.

  5. Hello,
    I am an Indian living in the states trying to achieve FI just like you. I think you are on a very admirable quest. I enjoy reading your blog posts. Keep up the good work!

    1. Hi Abhinav,
      It’s great to meet people on similar journey as ours. Keep us updated.

Leave a Reply