Financial Independence in India: An update

We have been working on being good parents and capable workers all of last year or so and a lot of things have fallen by the sides. One of those is this blog and the other one is the discipline which allowed us to amass a decent sum in our balances. This does not mean we have saved nothing but we have been spending lie crazy and most months we couldn’t tell you what actually happened. A few new items have shown up in our expenses like vaccinations and baby stuff while we spent a LOT on the previously big eating out item.

Isn’t sleep amazing… ask any new parent how much we long for it!

Expenses

Below is a quick recap of our spending from December 2018 to September 2019. We changed how we record our expenses and now our expense head is far detailed than it has ever been.

The expenses below show what we term household expenses and does not include our rent, money sent to support parents, travel and EMIs. when we record these they are further divided into following categories. These are how you will now see our expenses detailed.

GroceriesAnything to run home, food, toileteries
FoodEating out, ordered meals, office lunch
CommuteCabs, auto to any place not considered under Travel head
Appliances, FurniturePermanent items, equipment, furniture, mobiles, etc Fresh purchase or repair
Personal goodsshoes, clothes and accessories
Baby goodsConumables like diapers, wipes, furniture, toys, clothes
UtilitiesAll utilities incl one time fees if any, mobile recharge
MedicalMedicines, consultations, equipment
SocialGifts, socializing at food, out station travel for socializing counts in Travel, local in Commute

Since it is quite time consuming to detail these for each of past 10 months here is a total household expense list rounded to nearest ten/hundred.

S. No.MonthExpense
1Dec.201830,800
2Jan 201936,000
3Feb 201918,000*
4Mar 201953,200**
5Apr 201943,900
6May 201928,250
7Jun 201937,700
8Jul 201928,300
9Aug 201929,000
10Sep 201920,400

*We were out of home for over half the month and this was a shorter month nonetheless.

**I bought myself a phone to replace a phone we thought was dead… it turned out the charger was faulty. That phone has since found home in the hands of one of our parents and thus lives on. I am still quite sorry to have it go.

Life updates

Some major things that happened during this time period

  1. We both got raises- Since I was still on my maternity leave I was mentally prepared to get nothing but a decent raise helped us a lot.
  2. I got back into work. While the nature of employment has never changed we have worked in various offices and have filled in different roles. I was allowed to work from home but the project came in with a lot of travel.
  3. We got some performance rewards. We have been using these to supplement our pantry and buying other items we need.
  4. We bought another property. While this is family occupied (no not us) it did free up some rent we paid. The EMI is quite a bit higher compared to the rent we paid earlier but it adds another property to the kitty.
  5. Our kid got a lot of vaccines- well this goes without saying but it is a fairly expensive deal if you are not interested in standing in government hospital or dispensary. We have some pricey vaccines coming up shortly.
  6. We travelled a lot. We love travelling but this year has been a lot of hectic travel to family mainly but multiple trips to buy the property wasn’t particularly rejuvenating. Our travel expense was around 1,80,000/-. We budget 10% of our total pay for travel expenses which left a decent sum untouched but with all the other expenses we are hard pressed to meet out investment goals.

Investments

Our investments are still going at their own pace and we have been steadily contributing to following

  1. Index Funds- this is our main mode of investment but we haven’t put anything in quite sometime
  2. NPS- 50,000/- per person per FY
  3. PPF- 1,00,000/- per person per FY
  4. Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana- 1,50,000/- per FY. We divert most of the cash gifts received for our daughter in this kitty and fill it up whenever we can. With tight finances due to buying a property we are yet to contribute a meaningful sum.
  5. EPF- Automatic deduction and we are beyond thankful since it ensures we save every month.

Take away

While we have bled money in our eyes we have also managed to not accumulate much stuff apart from what we needed (or thought we did) for the baby. From September 2019 we have finally started cooking at home in full force since the baby eats three full meals every day and our eating out expenses were way higher than the grocery budget. This has helped in reducing our expenses.

We are both working towards achieving our target of 15-18K in monthly expenses. I want to reach this before the baby goes into a day care/ school thus resulting is immensely high expenses.

We also intend to move to a bigger house with kid friendly areas like a park and play zones but with rents almost 1.5-1.75 time our current rent we are thinking of sticking out with out 1BHK till baby goes to daycare. We know where we would like to move which is barely 15 minutes from the office and has a few day cares nearby.

Past few days we have been discussing our plans in quite detail and have multiple times referred to our old selves spending money on crap we did not need. Another relative echoed a similar sentiment and I just want reiterate starting savings young beats high salaries later in life.

PS: I have been thinking about how the blog goes forward from where it is now. Please feel free to share your recommendations and suggestions.

Image from Unsplash

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