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
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.