8 Dec 2014

What Counts As Savings?

A personal finance blog talks about saving and being frugal all the time. Are savings and investments the same thing? Is buying an LIC policy saving? Are fixed deposits considered savings? If you wanted to buy a gadget and bought the older generation to pay less, is that a form of saving?

I will answer all the above questions.

12 Nov 2014

Should You Replace The Screen Of Your Smart Phone?

We all love our smart phones, don't we? It is almost a permanent fixture in most hands. We have to check messages, constantly chat with old friends and keep checking emails. So what happens when the screen of this beloved gets cracked? The crack hurts our hearts and we feel "heartbroken" for a while. But; is it worth replacing the screen?

2 Nov 2014

I Paid Off My Credit Card!

This article is dedicated to a friend who recently paid off his credit card. Let us say his name is John.  We are really proud of John!

John had over Rs.40,000 accumulated as credit card debt.

21 Oct 2014

Shopping Spree...?

Today is the day that everybody wants to shop.. Today is Dhanteras, the day where Goddess Lakshmi is worshipped.

Confession -

9 Oct 2014

Should I Record My Expenses?

YES! Please record your expenses. Why should you record your expenses? Here is the answer.

29 Sep 2014

What Percentage of My Income Should I Save?

Let us rephrase that question. What is the percentage of income that you should NOT be spending? 10%,  20%, 30% .....can it go as high as 50%?

17 Sep 2014

Mutual Funds Part 7/7 - Fixed Maturity Plan

What is a Fixed Maturity Plan? (FMP)
It is a fund where money is locked in for a period of time. Exiting it is next to impossible. It has given "fixed deposit like" returns in the past.

27 Aug 2014

Mutual Funds Part 6/7 - Gold Funds

If you believe in investing in gold, mutual funds offer gold funds. The value of these funds increases and decreases with the value of gold.

The funds are taxed like debt funds. Remember the taxation changed with budget 2014.

I have written all about it here

18 Aug 2014

Mutual Funds Part 5/7 - Taxation on Mutual Funds

After doing a few articles on mutual funds (Part 1Part 2Part 3, Part 4) the series would be incomplete if I did not discuss taxation on funds.

Taxation on Equity Funds

11 Aug 2014

Mutual Funds Part 4/7 - How Do I Choose A Fund

How does one choose a mutual fund? It involves looking at a lot of things. In the beginning it might seem like a wave of information, but over a period of time it becomes second nature.

First and foremost, any fund one chooses should be in line with your financial goals. If investing for the long term (at least 5 years; the longer, the better), choose an equity fund. If your goal is short term investing, choose a debt fund. Either way make sure that you take into account the taxation details. Also decide whether you want the dividend or growth option. Choose dividend, only if you need regular income. Ideally, choose a growth oriented fund.

Here is what I look at before making a decision about investing in a fund:

5 Aug 2014

Not Too Late To File Taxes

While writing an article and while reading other articles, I came across something that I really wanted to share. Here it is...



29 Jul 2014

Last Day To File Taxes - 31st July 2014

Hope people have been planning to file taxes! The last day to file taxes for fiscal year 2013-14 (which is the same as assessment year 2014-15) is 31st July 2014.

If your income is greater than 5 lakhs in a year, it is mandatory to file taxes online. There are a number of websites which offer this service. The government website is :
https://incometaxindiaefiling.gov.in/

I hope most of you reading have already filed taxes. If not, here are a few humble reminders:

22 Jul 2014

Mutual Funds Part 3/7 - How To Build A Portfolio With Mutual Funds

This is the third article in the mutual fund series. Part 1 and Part 2 were about mutual fund basics and how to start investing in mutual funds. Today I am going to write about building a portfolio with mutual funds in it.

16 Jul 2014

Mutual Funds Part 2/7 - How Do I Start Investing In Mutual Funds

Is mutual fund investing necessary? It is certainly not mandatory but it is one of the ways to generate inflation beating returns.I introduced mutual funds in Part 1 of the mutual fund series This article is not about how to choose a mutual fund but how to choose the medium to invest in a fund. These are the following ways to do it:

8 Jul 2014

Moving Your Pet To Another Country

Besides being involved in personal finance, I am an animal lover. I have lived a big chunk of my life in the U.S. I returned to India in 2013 and wanted to bring my cat from the U.S to India. I wrote an article about this. Check it out here.

30 Jun 2014

Mutual Funds Part 1/7 - Basics of Mutual Funds

What is a mutual fund?
A mutual fund is a fund that invests in holdings of different companies. This offers the benefit of diversification and is professionally managed. I often get emails asking me if one should invest in mutual funds. Here is what one should know before beginning to invest in mutual funds

10 Jun 2014

Education and Education Loan

We feel proud when our children study, do well and earn prestigious degrees. It is a feeling that is immeasurable and we encourage our little ones to strive for the best. The child should be at the top of the class, aim for high ranking colleges and universities and secure a job which pays a big fat salary. Earlier education costs were part of the budget but now it is a strain on the budget. A lot of students are now going in for an education loan. Is a loan worth it? Is it worth starting your first job with a big loan that you have to pay off?

26 May 2014

The Bull Run

The new Indian Prime Minister's oath ceremony is today and there is a lot of hope floating around. Spirits and expectations are at an all time high since India has not had a majority like this in ages. These high spirits and hopes have sky rocketed the Sensex and nifty numbers and foreign investment is at an all time high.

The market and the bull run. I hear this term often these days.

12 May 2014

Change The "No Change" Problem

In India, I am often stuck with this problem where the shopkeeper or delivery person does not have any money to give in return after I have given more than the required amount. "No change madam" is an expression I hear often.  I have always wondered why this is the case.

28 Apr 2014

I Got A Raise! Now What?

There are those times when we are showered with wealth! Okay, may be not showered but occasionally we do get some extra money. If we are salaried then we could get a raise or a bonus. For entrepreneurs, there could be a surge in profits. There are various ways to deal with it. You could spend it, save it or invest it. What do you do with it?

Let me narrate the story of my friends - Dollar, Pound,Rupee, Euro, Bitcoin
"Dollar" got a raise.

21 Apr 2014

All That Glitters Is Not Gold!

Us Indians have an involved relationship with gold. Gold is considered auspicious, pretty, is an investment and and is supposed to provide security to any portfolio. Our weddings are dazzled with the amount of gold displayed in the form of jewellery and ornaments. Not just women, but men also wear gold jewellery in one form or another.

Confession -

13 Apr 2014

National Savings Certificates - NSC Bonds

When we think of investments, we think of big banks and investment companies. Today, there are lots of advertisements that attract us towards private set ups. Amidst all this marketing, we forget that our good old post office has many schemes available. One such sceme is called the National Savings Certificate commonly referred to as NSC bonds.

What is the National Savings Certificate?

7 Apr 2014

Currency Notes - Dated Prior To 2005

Reserve Bank of India issued a guideline saying that pre-2005 notes will be withdrawn from circulation. The last date was to be 31st March 2014. The deadline has now been extended to 1st January 2015.

31 Mar 2014

The Good Old Fixed Deposit!

We all love the good old fixed deposit. A fixed deposit also known as a term deposit is a simple product which offers safety and security. It is valued amongst people and has stood the test of time. So what should we look at before investing in a fixed deposit? Let us have a closer look.

23 Mar 2014

What Is An Emergency Fund?

I have received a few emails asking me about an emergency fund. What is an emergency and why do we need it?
I have mentioned an emergency fund in two of my articles.
http://financesunplugged.blogspot.in/2014/03/how-do-i-plan-my-finances.html
http://financesunplugged.blogspot.in/2014/02/how-do-i-save.html
This article is dedicated to a friend who is saving a percentage of his salary every month in a sincere and dedicated manner.

What is an emergency fund?

16 Mar 2014

How Do I Plan My Finances?

People ask this question in various forms. The words may be different but the meaning is the same. How do I start investing? How do I secure my child's future? How do I save? Is this a good fund to invest in? These questions sound different but ultimately mean the same. This post is dedicated to friend who is about to be a parent and requested an article on sound financial planning for a child. All of us should plan our financial life. Here is how to do it.

9 Mar 2014

Aadhar Card and LPG Subsidy

Aadhar Card - Aam Aadmi Ka Adhikar. Aadhar card was released by the government as a unique identification card. The government has opened various centers so that one can apply for an Aadhar card. Till recently, it was also said that LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas) subsidy would be given to people who link their Aadhar card to their bank account and their LPG provider.

3 Mar 2014

Money Addiction

This post is inspired by the recent article in the New York Times on money addiction - http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/19/opinion/sunday/for-the-love-of-money.html

On this blog, I have written several articles on saving, being careful with money, investing wisely and on taking charge of your finances. After reading the above article, I wondered about money addiction. Are some of us addicted to money? Do we always wonder how to make and save the extra buck?

24 Feb 2014

Do I Need A Life Insurance Policy?

For a lot of us the answer is yes.  However, there are some people who do not need a life insurance policy. If a policy is needed, one must get the right kind of policy. There are options between term insurance and ULIPs. Which one should you get?

17 Feb 2014

How Do I Save?


This is a question I get asked often.  I posted an article where I mentioned that we should all set aside an emergency fund. This fund should consist of six to eight months of living expenses and is for emergencies like loss of a job, car and house repairs or any sudden need for income in the family. My friends asked me how to save. The answer is simple. Savings are an ongoing process. We have to be at  it for a while and then it becomes the normal way to live
I sat and thought about how anyone saves money and here is what I could come up with :

10 Feb 2014

Should I Invest In A Public Provident Fund ?

YES ! The answer is short, sweet and simple. Public Provident Fund also known as a PPF account can be opened by any resident in India. It is a safe and sound investment which does not get much media attention since it is boring (read secure) and does not have the adventure and excitement that trading in shares or equity has.

4 Feb 2014

The Devil Wears Prada

The Devil Wears Prada - a famous movie about a strict and demanding boss in the fashion industry. It is believed that the movie is based on a real life character. We get to see a lot of big brand names and the top fashion releases in this movie. Prada, of course is a big and expensive brand name which sells clothes, bags, shoes among other things.

A question that has puzzled me often -  why do we love buying expensive branded products ?

28 Jan 2014

"I Am Happy I Did Not Get My Salary"

Unbelievable! Right? The first of the month, all of us who are employed expect that the Goddess of wealth will shower us in the form of monthly wages or salary. We wait for it to credit to our account, smile when the SMS hits our mobile and log onto the salary account to check that all is okay! Then why is this person so happy that he did not get his salary?

27 Jan 2014

Petrol Vs. Diesel – Which Car Should You Buy?


There is a lot of advice floating around on this topic. When asking someone what car to buy the advice varies from the car brand to type to the fuel it utilizes.  Recently, my husband and I bought a car and we received a lot of tips. Many of our friends chose to buy a diesel car. We chose a car that runs on petrol. Here’s why.

23 Jan 2014

Where Does My Salary Vanish ?


I was recently having a discussion with some friends about monthly income vs. monthly expenses. Most of them made the same remark – I wonder where my salary goes every month !

17 Jan 2014

The Actual Cost of Smoking

I am one of the typical Bangalore commuters. My office is a two hour commute (one way) during peak hour traffic. During the long, bumpy drive; I notice a lot of bus stops, junctions and markets where people of all age groups are smoking. This made me wonder - what is the actual cost of smoking ?

14 Jan 2014

Is Expensive Skin Care Worth It ?

Skin care ! It is one of the most advertised categories on any media. I cannot watch more than five minutes of television without seeing an advertisement about a fairness cream, an anti-aging cream, sunscreen, body lotion, face wash etc.

9 Jan 2014

Bank Fees, Charges and Penalties

In this day and age almost all of us have a bank account. I have one, my husband has one, my parents have one and my domestic help has one.

8 Jan 2014

How Does One Get Into Debt?

How does one get into debt? This is a question I have pondered over many times.
 
Yesterday, a colleague (let us say his name is Steve) mentioned that he has Rs.30, 000 in credit card debt.  

7 Jan 2014

Create Wealth

 I have always been interested in personal finance. As a child, my father gave me pocket money just to see if I could make a budget and account for all the expenses. I owe my father my sense of savings, budgeting, investments and also the feeling of contentment.