Sunday, November 23, 2008

R2I: Monthly affairs

Subhash had suggested a few months ago that I do a post on how much it costs to live in India. As a working semi-IT couple. I thought it might not be of any use to anyone, and kept putting it off. Now I've had at least three requests asking for the same data so I decided to do it after all. Husband knows best, yeah yeah, ok!

Disclaimer: Monthly expenses is highly individual. They vary greatly based on attitude and how free you are with your purse strings, so I will try to keep this as generic as possible.

We live in a proper IT-professionals-infested area. Close to major IT companies, and most of the couples in and around us are like us. Twenty-somethings to thirty-somethings, DINK ones. Its easier to get to work for me this way, but if you live a little far off maybe you will end up saving rent.

Without much further ado, here goes

Rent - 16K
This is the average for our area. You will end up in the +/-3K bracket. For a 2BHK apartment. 3BHKs go up to 22K.

Electricity - 1K

Gas - 500
We take private gas, which is twice as expensive as government ones like Indane, so you can cut that in half if you have an Indane/HP cylinder access.

Petrol - 11K
Subhash drives 14KM one way to work. Plus ours is a 6 year old car, not a stalwart for fuel efficiency. If you live closer to work, this comes down. My expenses are about Rs.100 per month (quite negligible) since I travel by BMTC bus ;)

Trips to TOTAL/Nilgiris/Other places - 9K
Total is where we shop for groceries, toiletteries, creams, deos etc etc etc, THIS will be your huge variable. You can be like me in the past spending strictly what is absolutely needed and not be extravagant and you will chop off a few Ks from this figure. But as is, we are not extremely extravagant or anything, so for a decently liberal spend, you will arrive at around maybe 6-7K. (Sometimes, we buy our comfort zone gora stuff like Honey Bunches of Oats, Banana Nut Crunch, Ragu Pasta Sauce and what not, which are nearly thrice as expensive as lets say a locally made Kellogg's cereal brand. So sometimes it is more expensive than others.)

Medicines etc - 2K
For us major spends are contact lenses and related stuff AND my Dabur Chyawanprash ;)

Travel - 3K
If you count second class fare by Indian Railways to Hyd, you can estimate about 1500 per trip; Bangalore-Hyderabad including autos etc. AC will obviously be higher. Some of our friends travel much more often to Hyd than we do, so this is way higher for them. We are relatively sedentary beings, and we are not doing much travel to Hyd or otherwise this year, so this is below normal for us this year. If you want a holiday to Europe once in a year, you can add about 6K per month per person on an average to this for a decent 15-day long trip. Starting point.

Eating Out - 10K

If you visit a decent upscale restaurant twice a week, (we are doing that now because of this house renovation thingy, no time to come home and cook in the night :( )

Other staple items - 2500 (+2 to 5K Phone)

Cable - 200;Car cleaning - 300; Newspaper - 150; Maid - 1000; Milk - 500 (we spend less than that, not a very milk consuming household, we ;) ) (UPDATED: Landline phone + Mobile (*2) + Internet : 2-5K)

Other Miscellaneous spends - VARIABLE
That TITAN watch, this pair of slippers, that new T-shirt, this new sneakers every now and then. On an average maybe ours comes to 5K a month, MAX.

So a MAXIMUM of 60K per month, if you are living an extremely comfortable and upper-middle-class life and don't want to think before spending on anything.

If you add one travel abroad every year, your expenses will go up to maybe 65K per month on an average, minimum.

Figures do not include investments you make. If you have taken a housing loan, you should add EMI. For a 25 Lakhs loan @ current interest rates, you will shell about 30K per month in EMI.

So plan on your India moves people!


After all the comments, I noticed some things that I have to mention

1) This piece was not to encourage/discourage moves, just to give a perspective :D
This is for a luxurious living. In the same apartment complex, we also have single income families with one or two kids. And they employ maids for looking after kids. (I don't know the cost for this). So they balance it out elsewhere I am guessing.

2) Hyderabad is probably 70-80% as expensive as Bangalore but not a whole lot chepaer. If you live in traditional Hyd which is where we all probably grew up, you will pay only 5-7K on an average as rent. But I must say, if you live close to the Hi-Tec city areas (which is roughly equivalent of where we live in Bangalore) you are also looking at 12K+ rents even in Hyderabad. So rejoice not too soon ;) If you live in traditional Hyd, then you have to allow 2-3 hours for travel but then Hyd has MMTS which Bangalore doesn't. So commute is slightly easier in Hyd than it is in Bangalore.

3) If you are a DINK or a DISK couple, with a good 6-7 average work-exp, you are probably earning about 1.25L on an average in a month in take home (strictly IT industry, but then this whole expense worksheet is ONLY for IT or semi-IT couples:) ). So after spending 60K, whatever is left, you can invest, save, put aside for medical emergencies for parents etc. It is common for parents to have pre-existing conditions these days which most insurance companies do not cover. So you will have to plan for that.

4) I forgot to add Maintenance. We don't pay maintenance right now since brand-new first-occupancy apartments don't incur Maintenance charges. So you are off the hook for about a year to a year-and-a-half. After that, maintenance will be about Re. 1 to Rs. 1.50 per sq foot of your apartment area. So in all this could come to about 1-2K.

5) If you want to enrol at a fitness club, that might be an extra 1-2K per month.

(4 and 5 are reflected above now)

Shoot on anymore questions! :)


Anonymous said...

so when you said "plan", did u say that its cheap or expensive?? 60K wow..was a lot when I used to be a resident..probably 10k was more than enough..but I guess I need to let go off, of that number as a start for my move. how much would that be in Hyd then?

DivSu said...

@ Anonymous

Yeah, that is the biggest challenge, to let go of old figures. I was surprised myself @ the 60K figure. Now I am thinking, maybe I should review spending ;) For Hyd you can roughly take in expenses @70% of that in Bangalore as a good yardstick.

Anonymous said...

NICE!!! I was asking around in the R2I forums how much it costs for people who are returning back. Your input was very helpful. I think having kids will increase those expenses by at least 5K per kid? am I right?

DivSu said...

@Anonymous: Thanks! :)

Yeah, I would imagine so. With school going kids, it is going to be a bit more than 5K I should think.

Kishan said...

The very first expense in your list blows my mind. 16K for rent??? and you say it so casually..

My brother, who lives in hyd, told me that he pays 7k for rent in Mehdipatnam and I was taken quite aback when I heard that. My friends later told me that it was a very reasonable price.

I don't know if average income of an IT employee is 60k in India and even if it is, following your post, it does not seem enough if only one person in the household is working.

I wonder what a lower middle class person's life must be like living in that city.

Anonymous said...

You didn't mention the salary levels in India these days. 60k sounds a lot (whether single income or dual). What would be a rough monthly salary for someone with 5-7 years experience working for a MNC like Cisco? If the entire salary is gone in living expenses then the move back is definitely off for me. ;(

Anonymous said...

Divya, you forgot to add savings for the rainy day! very very interesting and useful piece of information, moving or not its good to know how expensive survival at Blr is. especially since am stuck with the perception of 10k per month. i always argued that Hyd and Blr have similar std of living but looks like my hubby is right, so Hyd it is.

DivSu said...


This is only for IT couples. IT couples are not middle class. Middle class doesn't live outside the city in self-sufficient and entirely new suburbs ;) (Average age of all these suburbs is 2 years) So like I mentioned in one of my posts elsewhere, everyone survives pretty well in this country in their own pockets/areas/circles :)


Please to check the UPDATE to the post :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Divs,

Thats a comprehensive list, quite scary too!! :--) Really 60K?! Wht if we have home loans?


Vasu said...

I am not up to giving advice, but i personally think it is up to us to draw the line on how luxuriously we live.
Check this video:

Anonymous said...

What is this DISK /DINK ??

DivSu said...

@Z - Please to catch the updates :)

@Vasu - I agree. Period.

DivSu said...

@ Anonymous

DISK = Double Income Single Kid
DINK = Double Income No Kids

Shilpa said...

Oh my god! I remember when I started working in India 5 years back, I earned less than what your monthly expenses are! Times have surely changed. We want to move back soon but this is scary!

Anonymous said...

Two interesting and tangentially related articles:

India Calling

Mumbai - the city of foreign dreams

Vinod Kandukuri said...


You just wrote down my monthly expenses.However every month my expenses go upto 70K because of a car insurance or some unforseen thingy coming up.

Then again I fall in SISK category :)


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