Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

Happy new year to everybody.

Earn/Save extra in 2010

I am borrowing this figure from Canadian Saver.
I am setting a goal of earning Rs 50250 (2010*25) extra in 2010. This should include earnings from following sources:
  • Dividends (MFs and Stocks)
  • Bank Interest
  • Reward Point
  • Pocket Money Saved
  • Any extra work I do
I did a quick calcualtion on my extra savings for last 5 months in 2009. It came close to 18K. So, I am assuming that this should be achieveable target.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I don't like noida

My DH loves salads so I bought ceasar salad dressing few days back. He wanted to try it out.
On weekend, he went to local vegetable vendor and bought some brocolli and lettuce to prepare salad. These are not the vegeies that I generally include in my weekly grocery shopping. He got brocolli for Rs 40/250 gms, i.e. Rs 160/KG. Assuming that these are not Indian vegies, I knew they are expensive.

Later in the day, DH received a call from his mom and she told him that she got brocolli in Delhi from bulk supplier market for Rs 30/KG. Yes, you read it right. It took me almost half an hour to belive this.
I hate Noida. :(

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Valuating Personal Possessions

I am not a minimalist and have no plans to convert to one. But I hate clutter and definitely hate collecting the things that I am never going to use. One day, after wasting 20 minutes in order to find a dress in my wardrobe, I was irritated and furious. That was the time when DH pointed out that my love for clothes has resulted in an unmanageable wardrobe.

In Retrospection, I realized that it is a truth. I have so many things lying around in my house that I have never used because of my mental blockages:

  • I forgot long back that I owed any such thing.
  • I loved it too much to get spoiled, so I preferred to store it for later rather then using now.

I was sure that I have to do something about it. My personal experience, something that deserve a separate post, taught me hard way that be least attached to your possessions and enjoy them to fullest.

So, I decided that I'll list down all of my personal possessions and try to valuate them. It was an intriguing task initially. Listing down all the dresses, shoes, bags, accesories is certainly not fun. But the process really helped me:
  1. I was able to see how much money I have locked in my wardrobe.
  2. Once I realized all that I already own, I was able to shop from my wardrobe for accessories, dresses, bags.
  3. I was enjoying my stuff more then I used to do before this experiment.
  4. I was saving money every month by not buying new stuff as I had a whole list in front of me of my possessions.
  5. I was able to set realistic goals for myself and in the process increase my self-discipline.

Result of the experiments:

Dresses150Rs. 160000
Coat/Sweaters17Rs. 15000
Shoes34Rs. 40000
Bags/Wallets39Rs. 10000
AccessoriesXXXRs. 30000
Phone/IPod/ElectronicsXXXRs. 20000

In all, I had locked somewhere around Rs 265000, yes, 2.65 Lakh in materialistic possessions.
I also found out at least 5 dresses with rate tags on. :(

I set a goal for myself, till 2010, I have a limit set that my materialistic possessions should not exceed Rs 3L (Rs 300,000). All the gifts that I get are also added in the list of possessions, so scope of buying stuff for my own is even less. But yes, it has a flexibility that if something of great need is lost/torn off, it can be replaced. (Subtracting and adding similar amount should not impact the number after all).

I finished this compilation in Aug 2009, and now I am 4 month into this and can say that I have only added more stuff worth Rs 5K only. So, so far I'll count this as a successful experiment, though it still has long way to go.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Guilt Shopping

My DH's shoes needed immediate replacement as he was wearing them in unwearable conditions from last one year. Please don't get me wrong, this has nothing to do with my budget and no I am not depriving him by any means. He is a real lazy man when it comes to shopping. Three times prior to this we went to buy new shoes for him, but he will make one excuse or another and delay the purchase.

So, yesterday I almost scolded him to get one and we went to a shoe shop. He finalized one for him and there was a huge queue on billing counter. What happened to the entire recession thing that I still hear or is it the holiday season?

Well, so just to pass the time I thought I’ll explore ladies section. Well, this shouldn't be any dangerous as I never ever got my size shoe, from this brand before. Add to that I only wear Flats, a rare commodity. Plus my old experience of the salesmen there was that they are least helpful. They are never interested in showing anything not already in display.

While I was browsing the shoes, I saw some real good flat shoes, but none of my size in display. A polite salesman approached me and started to help me. He suggested me other shoes, also fetched lots of shoes from stock. First time ever I saw a salesman so polite, so eager to sell. After trying 5 shoes all showed by that polite gentleman, none of my size, I left the showroom. While I was leaving, that man gave me really sorry look. I felt terribly bad. I really needed nothing, but the way he helped me, and looked at me when nothing fitted me, I probably could have bought something if my size would have been available.

After coming out of store, I was still feeling bad. It was so tough to convince me that I didn't need any new shoes and there were actually none available of my size. I am not going to do window shopping ever. :(

Do you ever feel guilty this way?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

My Garden's Photo for 2009

I started gardening in Aug 2008, after my marriage.
In 2009 I tried growing lots of vegatables, flowers. Here is collections of few of the close to heart photographs from my garden. You can click at the photographs to see them enlarged.

First one is a flower which blossoms all the summers, I love its Pink Flowers.

Second is one of the Lady Finger or Okra from my vegetable garden.

This is bitter gourd, very healthy and one of favourite dishes for my Dad and DH.

It's a collage of some of the other plants from garden, including my Chinese Lemon plant, Chilli plant and EggPlant's plant and my cherry plant at extreme right corner.

It's one more collage of some lovely flowers and my tomatoes.

I miss you all, and waiting for summers to plant some of back. :)

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Not Repeating the dresses

I love dressing up and love my colorful wardrobe. But my stuffed wardrobe resulted in not-so-fun pattern:
  1. I was always wearing the clothes that were at top of the stack.
  2. I will do laundry at weekend and then same set of clothes will be again at top of stack.

As a result, I never got a chance to explore my whole wardrobe. Also, because I was repeating my same set of clothes most of the time, urge to buy new clothes was always there.

So, I decided, that I'll not wear a dress again till my wardrobe gets empty. I changed my pattern to adjust to this new approach of dressing:

  1. I was wearing the dress that was at the top of stack.
  2. I generally wear dark colored dresses twice before throwing them away for laundry, so that is not considered repeat.
  3. Once a dress is out for laundry, I kept it in separate cupboard, without ironing. This helped me to curb my temptation of wearing my favorite dress again.

When I started with this on 22nd July 2009, I told myself that this experiment will be over in 2 months. Here are observations of same:

  1. Initial one month was easy as I was still wearing my recent and most favorite clothes from the top of stack.
  2. As I moved to wearing clothes that I have not worn in long time, I found out that so many of them don't fit well any more and need alteration.
  3. There was a time in middle of this experiment, when I was just waiting for this to end and go shopping for new clothes. This was primarily because at that time I was wearing clothes that I don't love any more for using everyday. But they all still had emotional value for me, too tough to throw them out.
  4. I have many more clothes then my first estimate.

The experiment lasted for close to 4 months (only one week less). I felt bad. I have stuff way more then I need. I didn't feel any more urge to go and buy new ones. After separating out absolute clutter, I love my wardrobe again.


  1. It saved me whole chunk of money and continue to do so because now every time when I look at a cute dress, I tell myself that I don't need it. I have my wardrobe full.
  2. It taught me a great deal of self discipline.

A sure success. :)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Experiments - All Year Round.

This year, I conducted lots of experiments.
I extreme tested myself and set lots of goals for me. I will write a series of post here and share some of them and also share why I consider them successful or unsuccessful and how it impacted my finances or me in general. :)

  • Valuating Personal Possessions
  • Not Repeating Dresses
  • Reducing EO to one-third
  • Merry Christmas

    Happy Christmas to everybody :)

    Thursday, December 24, 2009

    May God Save All Whirlpool Customers

    I have a whirlpool washing machine, front loading, fully automatic washing machine. Description itself speaks that this is one of the high end machines. It stopped working one doomed day, which was some one month back.

    Now, today, four complaints and three engineer visits later, my machine is still not working properly. Sometimes its temperature knob is reversed and this time, so called Mr. senior engineer fitted main knob incorrectly. Machine starts with a spin cycle... woohoo.. save detergent... save water, directly spin.. brilliant concept. At the time of service he was more intrested in selling Water softener to my DH then to work on machine.

    Well, my stint with whirlpool customer care has been so bad that all I wanna do is to pray for all whirlpool customers, because their staff seems to be quite incompetent, i just hope that god saves me and all of you guys there. After all if Rs 7000 gets you this world class service, then who if not GOD.

    Update: I got the engineer today. He called us on friday but I had some unexpected emergency to deal with on Friday and Saturday. So, he called back sunday morning and visited my machine. It seems that knob need to be changed. He committed to do same by tomorrow evening. My fingers are crossed till then.
    Update: Engineer came back as promised and changed the knob. I'll wash one round of clothes and see what all is not working this time.

    Wednesday, December 23, 2009

    We Indians

    I read an article on FB's blog, which triggered me to stop reading her. This was not because I am a hypocrite and can't take any criticism. But I can't stand people who are biased or people who love to have an opinion on anything and everything, without possessing any significant information on that topic.

    I have worked in a BPO (call center as popularly known) and have many friends who work for US based call centers. I have heard and faced numerous stories of Dumb Americans. But, does that entitles me to say that Americans are dumb and that is why they are facing layoffs and all? No! My take on such a topic, or any topic for that matter will be, there is good and bad in everything. May be I have met few people who seemed dumb in any particular situation, but they can be good at other so many things.

    So, if FB has met few Indians who lied or couldn’t deliver what they promised, simply doesn’t mean that all Indians are corrupt.

    My blog is named as “Indian Thoughts”, simply because I believe we Indians have the capability to think “Out of Box”. Our culture and value system is far better then North Americans in my opinion. And above all, we don’t judge people based on nationality.

    I am proud to be an Indian and pity for those who can’t appreciate beauty but rather love to crib about everybody and everything they know of.

    Tuesday, December 22, 2009

    Personal experience - Medical Emergency

    Personal experience why medical insurance is a must.

    There is Mrs A I know. She looked quite healthy. One fine day, during one of the regular health checkups, she was diagnosed with Cancer of stage 3C. Result was "surgery + chemotherapy", which led to huge medical bills. Given Mrs A was a house wife through out and Mr A is a retired man, this bill would have been sufficient to take away all the savings of this elderly couple.

    The couple had a son, who had medical insurance through the corporation he worked for. Parents were also included in this. Son filed the claim of the surgery to insurance company and after one month and two days, they got back their claimed money (minus some deductions of course).

    Here anyone can be "A". Emergencies are Indian, they give no prior notice before arriving. So, please beware of them and prepare in advance. Please insure your family properly.

    Monday, December 21, 2009

    Car bought in Down Payment

    Setting a goal and achieving same gives Out Of World Joy and Ecstasy. After successfully saving for my studies, I achieved one more financial success that I wanted to mention here. I succesfully saved in cash for my new Car and bought my new car. Yup, it's a new I10 in white color.

    • I saved religiously for it for last 8 months.

    • I spent almost 2 days and roamed around all the dealers in Delhi to get the quotes. This made sure that all dealers understood that I am not here to do window shopping but am really serious for purchase.

    • When I got the best deal, i tried calling all other dealers and politely asked them if they can match/beat this deal. This served two purposes, 1) I double checked that I am getting the best deal if no other dealer could actually match it. 2) If any other dealer could give me a better deal, I would have saved even more.

    • Then I booked the car and initiated series of cheques to collect all my funds in one account to order a DD. I didn't pay in cash because I am really scared of fake currency. :(

    • After one week, I paid the DD and got the car.
    And now, I am a proud owner of a brand new car without any debt.

    Duplicate Charges on my Debit Card

    The last week I had one more financial mishap, other then finding out the discount after three days of placing an order and now duplicate payment on my Debit Card.

    On 19th Dec, I made a payment on a store using the ABN AMRO Debit Card, first time it showed card declined. Vendor again initiated the transaction using same card and second time it succeeded. Later in the day, when I checked my online statement, I noticed that money was deducted both the times from my account.

    I immediately called customer care of the bank and he told me that I should wait for 24 hours to see if money gets credited back automatically into my account. If not, then I should initiate the complaint process. I waited for 24 hours and today morning called the customer care again. They politely told me that servers are down and I should call them back in half an hour. Will do so again around lunch time. Though the amount is small, Rs. 200 only, but I am still not sure if I'll get it back or not.

    Always check your online statement, esp. at the end of days when you know you have used it to do some transaction. In my 4+ years of using the ABN AMRO Card, it is the first time that something like this has happened.

    Update: I got my Rs 200 back. Woohoo..

    Sunday, December 20, 2009

    I am feeling Cheated

    I am feeling cheated.
    I am a big fan of personalized products as gift and I am very loyal to one online site from the day one I used it. I used it three days back to book three gifts for three of my close friends, one for Christmas, one for new year and one for birthday. I booked well in advance so that they all get it well in time. Well they all got well in advance because the service is excellent as always. They delivered all the products within two days. I love you PicSquare.

    And now, exactly after three days, I get a mail in my mailbox saying they offer a flat 20% discount on all of the products. I am feeling cheated. I also want by Rs. 270 back. :(

    P.S. This is not a sponsered post. I am writing this as personal recommendation and personal rant.

    Monday, July 20, 2009

    not PF related

    Emily over at Mumbling from Troy Ohio has tagged me. She is such a good friend that i had to do this post. She would like to know a photo story and the rules are to go to your first photo folder and select the 10th photo to post along with a story. Here goes...

    It is Gateway of India and Taj hotel, Mumbai on 2nd Jan 2009. My DH, me and his cousin were going to see elephanta caves when visiting Mumbai. It was fun and as I am crazy for water, I absolutly loved this one hour journey.

    Well, i have no body to tag further, so sorry Emily to break this chain from my end. :(

    Wednesday, February 18, 2009

    Secret Savings – Will I allow?

    Stacking pennies posted an interesting question, what if your partner surprises you with some secret savings.

    I thought about this and I guess my answer is as simple as the crow flies; I am strictly against this and will tell my DH in face the same. Reason is not that I don’t love him or I don’t want to give him his space.

    My reason behind this is very simple; we have common budget and common goals, payment of mortgage and saving for retirement. Allowing once secret splurge savings can open a possible hole in budget, which then can be used without guilt for almost anything. Once allowed, I will never be able to stop this. Hence, not allowed the first time, DH beware!

    Tuesday, February 17, 2009

    What have I received from my parents

    Stacking Pennies brings up a post discussing "what you have received from your parents". So, I couldn't stop and ponder over this question my self.

    I guess being Indian this question is a sin to ask. Here parents only give to their kids and never expect anything in return, of course except love and respect. Kids are very spoiled here, and most of kids are very alien to idea of paying for their own education, forget about rent and food. Here people stay with parents even after marriage, to save on rent. Please don’t get me wrong, this is the culture for us. We look down at those people who move out after marriage. We are still a country of joint family, though I know this trend is diminishing now.

    Well for my parents, my ma is a house wife and my pa was a government servant, but now is a retired man, still working with some private contractor. All food, lodging and education is fully paid by them not only for me but also for my other two siblings. Well infact, when I took a break in my studies and worked for one year to save money for my further educations, my parents were surprised and proud of me.

    Given my dad was the only earning member of our family, and he used to earn quite less, meeting ends used to be a challenge for ma. But she never compromised on our studies. We were never spoiled though. Gifts are a big no in my family, I still remember how I once bought a birthday gift for my dad from my monthly allowance and he slapped me back, teaching me not to waste money on no-use things. We always used to get new clothes to wear, even though not frequently. We never used used books, and never sold back my books, ma used to say “books should never be sold, its education, it should be passed.” I must say I still abide by those words.

    My parents got us married too, I mean my elder sibling and me. My younger sibling is still studying. They still give us gifts on all the festivals, but never a no-use thing. Even if I’ll offer some money in return, they will not accept it. In India, its not considered good to take money from your girl child. I know that sounds very different in today’s time, but that’s how they are. They only love to give us, expect nothing back in return, other then a call every day. Love both of you ma and pa.

    Monday, February 16, 2009

    Me back... first blog in my second season

    I was absent from this blog for quite some time now. But I was reading all the blogs on my GRS.
    Finally, I re-gained my motivation and spirit to restart here. Hopefully, I’ll have more information to share with you all.

    In the period in-between, what I have been doing? Well, a glimpse:
    1) Trying to manage my home on budget.
    2) Trying to be smiling in this tough time.
    3) Trying to learn more about my new work.
    4) Learning new recipes.

    This tiny list was my to do along with so many other chores of house and office. Time management has been a challenge lately and also new problems that I faced in my professional life. Life has been a roller coaster ride for me from last 5 years. No matter how much I try to enjoy my ride, a bump or two makes me utterly disillusioned and frustrated. I am not at all a believer of luck, so seeking all the responsibility on my actions and onto myself really bog me down.

    But here I am, once again to find solace in what I like the most, writing.