Some personal expense stuff
If you’re someone like me who works out a city they’re not originally from (and especially if you’re staying in expensive places like Bangalore/Mumbai), you definitely have a lot of expenses on hand like rent, maintenance, utilities, food, dine-outs, transportation costs, various kinds of subscriptions, etc.
There are many people I have come across who can’t even give a rounded-out guess of their expenses. I am not here to preach any lifestyle changes (ohh, you should not drink coffee at Starbucks, you should use the bus instead of using Uber, etc etc). I just want everyone to be aware of how much they are spending in different categories (not the exact amount, just a best-case estimate) and maybe try to optimise those spending.
People treat their finances similarly to their health. They don’t want to analyse or get a test, otherwise, it might show them the root cause of their issues, and it would just scare them. They just don't want to face the imminent truth. However, this is just elongating the time you’re keeping your health/finance bad. Just take a look, and try to make small changes (which would work for most people) and you just made your life a little bit better, I guess?
This is a Notion page I created when I decided to move to Bangalore. It’s a very raw version that I created in a way only I can understand. I am not here to ask anyone to use this template as it might be hard to understand and no one needs to analyze or have these many credit cards. I enjoy exploring cards.
What I would like for everyone to do is at least make sure you are able to jot down or look into the following sections (in a way you understand). It could be an Excel sheet, a Notion page, or just on the Sticky Notes app on your laptop.
The following are those sections (in the priority order):
Expenses: Just make a brief estimate of all your expected yearly expenses. many of these expenses like rent can be easily calculated just by multiplying your monthly ones by 12. However, a lot of people don’t consider the frequent one-time expenses that people do on buying that smartphone, watch, or vacation in Thailand. At least try to make the best guess, and also don’t forget insurance (I know, I know, no one likes insurance, but it still could be a major expense).
Subscriptions: A lot of people forget that they started this subscription, and it auto-renews every month, and then just ignore that small expense of 499 that gets cut out multiple times a month. However, these expenses can easily add up to a lot of money for people who are endlessly subscribing to random stuff. Also, noting them down makes you think at least once if you seriously need that subscription or not. Maybe you don’t need the Hotstar subscription you bought for watching GOT which you have already completed.
Things that I have but might forget: For me, this section is about vouchers/stuff that I bought some time ago which I would probably forget about if not written down somewhere. However, for you, this section could have a completely different meaning. Just note down some stuff that you might forget throughout the year.
Additionally, (not compulsorily), you might want to check out if you can earn back some money for the stuff you anyways have to pay for. It could include getting a credit card (please don’t buy some random card with a lot of annual fees, you will get a lot of YT videos on which card to get based on the direction your expenses are geared) or getting some subscription such as Zomato Gold (if you order a lot online), or checking out Dineout, Eazydiner offers before going to a restaurant, or not buying subscriptions for multiple music streaming apps.
I know it feels like a cheapskate employing these measures, but know that you’re still keeping your lifestyle intact while paying less. Also, once you start keeping notes of the expenses, you will definitely find a couple of items where there is no point paying for them, or you might find spending too much for that stuff which you might want to reduce. An additional benefit, I guess!!
One more thing I would recommend is to get at least two bank accounts (an idea from Let’s Talk Money by Monika Halan). All of your expenses, bill payments, rent payments, etc are done from a single bank account (where you don’t receive salary/income), and you can easily track your total expenses just by calculating the money you put inside this account.
Anyways, I hope this helps one person. Ta-da!!