Financial Independence

I have been working for 8 years now and make decent amount enough for saving and yet, I feel I like I live on pay check to pay check basis. So where does all my earnings go? I am too afraid to take a stock at where my pay goes. Where do I spend most? why am I not able to save at least half-my-check towards investments. Just last year I opened a 401k to maximize my savings, that is at least the good thing.

I had wished, if only I started 401k right after I started working I would have saved quite an amount..It bothers me now as I enter my 30’s for being so ignorant and not very responsible for my savings. I spent money for other’s benefits for all wrong reasons and what a mistake I did. Spending money on others meant to display how much I love them and feel responsible for them.. NOT TRUE. I spent recklessly on impulses and at the end of the day – if I question my self – is it all worth it? I cannot ever tell. May be or may not be.

I have determined 3 days ago that I will not buy anything for at least a month. And then I go help shopping with a friend and I end up spending. Then other day I had to give a farewell to my colleague – oh well, I thought this was unavoidable so it is an acceptable spending. Then I was not in a mood to cook, so I spend money on dinner. I will try one week at a time to begin with and let all my close friends, family and colleagues know about it so they would not ask me to attend events where I had to spend money. But in the process I will miss lot of fun but I really want to see what it feels like.

Ever since this minimalism came into picture, I started looking at my finances and ways to save more and spend less, do something more meaningful than just do what other’s think of me doing something is right. This week has been bit roller coaster and very disturbing to look back at my life from a neutral perspective. It is still an ongoing process.

Ever since I started consuming less, These blogs really stand out where I am regular reader

1. Becoming Minimalist ( I have even purchased an kindle version of this author’s book and I like it.. it very short and sweet.. yes and I must say for the content provided.. i think it is over priced)

2. Miss Minimalist

The reason for this post is because of this link I came across – Money Mustache (from becoming minimalist blog)- A guy who did the similar job as mine but retired by 30 and does what he likes to do and still makes money. The more I read about him, the more I feel like being ignorant about my own needs and necessities and goals. But I also understand that every one’s path is different.

Question for you all – how do you deal with your finances?

Dilemma – On clothes

Being an Indian native (not the native indian), I have different sets of Indian clothes and the unfortunate truth is that, when ever I visit India or if some one from my family visits, I will make sure I get many Indian dresses.

At the rate, I got the stuff..I sent back only some of it. Result is that I have more dresses than I possibly get a chance to wear them here in United States.  It breaks my heart to give away any of these dresses that I brought. I really really love them but I do not wear them as much as I want. Yesterday, while re-organizing my closet, I was sure of some dresses (Indian and Western) that I am not going to wear them. I landed them in three bins – 1. Charity, 2. Trash  3. To India. (Total of 20+ pieces and my closet is slightly lighter.. feels great!)

The problem is, I am not sure if I will be visiting India anytime soon nor I expect any of my family or friends visiting India and take my clothes away. One of the reasons, I try to send my clothes to India is…I will be sure these clothes will help many families and they love it. Yes, they could be our neighbors, financially challenged family members or our maid’s children back home. The dresses are worn only twice or thrice by me and they obviously are in great condition and they do not mind at all.  If I give away these to good will, I am afraid they might toss most of it for no relevance but I am certain when it comes to India. Every piece of the cloth will serve some purpose.

And other clutter I have is – My family who rarely visits me, hope that they might visit often and leave their stuff here as if they will be a regular visitor. The hard fact has been that they never visited in last one year and the clothes lie here. May be a lesson learned to not let them leave any of their belongings. It has been difficult to maintain with lot of my own clutter around.  Or probably it all started as I began considering being a minimalist. Ohh the perspective.. it changes!

The journey towards minimalism has begun (Hopefully..?), I would want to sell/give away/recycle/trash anything that I think will not fit in our Tiny home. It hit me hard when the amount of my precious time goes into maintaining the stuff that I hardly need. But as I said in my earlier posts.. It is indeed very hard to part with things even though they are of no use to us.

I digress.. Now if parting with things was that difficult.  it hurts me every time some one leaves the work place. Even though they are not my friends or the mostly friendly people I deal with.. But with time, I get used to the reality. And I hope my new journey towards minimalism becomes part of my life style soon.

And it is easy if we take one step at a time, than trying to do all at once. It certainly helped me and hope it does in case if you are up for simple living.

Distractions – everywhere

I woke up very early this morning hoping to get my work done and be free of any mental taxing this weekend.

Oh I have had plans to go visit a friend this weekend.

But…

I ended up using every minute of my  precious time  browsing blogs, watching you tube videos, reading some random articles, browsing through unknown profiles on facebook.. you know your friend clicked like on some of their family or friends and I end up navigating up there.

At the end of the day – my day goes “Useless” without any real productive work.. and I end up slacking until deadline approaches.. there I go.. start panicking, getting tensed and use up my “Supposed to be fun-filled weekend” to work on the stuff that I have successfully procrastinated.

This repeats constantly on and off until unless I have some serious travelling lined up.  This entry should serve me as the beginning to treat my time as valuable and I should be relieved at the end of the day.  The day I am the most productive, be it at work or returning any emails, finishing any paper work or staying in touch with my friends and family..  is the day I sleep happily.

How does it work for you all? I am seriously on my way to change the way I deal with my time. I want to do more meaningful and be very productive at work and home.  Most importantly I must learn to avoid all the distractions that consume my time.

De-cluttering Jewelry

For now, I guess I am obsessed with “Minimalism” and trying very hard to get out of the cycle of consumerism at least for a month to begin with. Once I read some where, I cannot find the source now.. they listed some great tips to parting with jewelry that I have been accumulating over past few years.

These tips really helped me to get rid of 17 pairs of ear rings and 2 chains. I think this is a lot. I may have to do another round of de-cluttering session in the future but for now I am happy to get rid of them.

Tips that helped me to part with my possessions:

1. Does it suit my current life style needs?

2. Do I look forward to wearing it?

3. Does it mean anything to me at all? – Yes, there are some gifts that my family or friends gave me. Few that I really like kept it and other’s I parted with.

Jewelry has always created mayhem in my head, I guess I had too many and I still have many. Some day, I hope to come down to very few. In the near future, If I do purchase one pair, I will part with at least one another pair and try to maintain the same count.

First round wasn’t that difficult at all.

What am I going do with it? – I will show them to my friends and if they like it they will pick and rest all will make a way to good-will.

Minimalism – a difficult path

As discussed in my earlier posts of my steps towards embracing minimalist life style – here and here.

I must tell you, it is not easy to keep up with my excessive consumerism. I guess I do not have nothing better to do in life. Most of my time goes into organizing on and on and it never ends ..and I give up to re-start the whole process again. On the pretext of shopping for a friend with a friend will only add a dent in my bank account and “More” stuff will land at my home. I am so tired of this and yet cannot restrict myself from purchasing even though I do not need them.

I have been reading a lot lately about minimalism..Be it online articles, books, brought some kindle version of books to get some tips of letting go of things and not getting more into life, and organizing home, be it kitchen, living or bedroom, closet, bathroom and what not.. It has been 6 months and I think I realized “Less is More Joy”.

Every time I read information related to minimalism or organization, and immediately I would want to spring to action. But, by looking at the enormity of task ahead..it kills my spirit and wonder why I have been accumulating and not organized bothers me and I leave it at that. It is the most difficult path than I thought it would be, especially with my never ending purchases.

I read on some minimalist blog as “One in – One out” strategy, but in my case it has been 5 in and one out *Sigh*!

And some one said-  living with 13 pieces of clothes or 100 possessions – this is not going to work for me.

I live in a tiny home where space is at premium and I learned that the less stuff I have, less time would go into organizing and more time for the activities that I love. It is the clutter at home in turn creates mayhem in my head.  One of my friend said, there is no way out if you just crib. If you need to make change, you must start somewhere and keep doing it until you get there. Complaining never benefited any one.

Beyond all, I am exhausted just thinking about it. On a more positive note – I have lately been trying to donate/trash at least 5 things a day from home. So that would be 150 things less in a month. I hope to continue until I reach my goal of “Satisfaction”.  (I got rid of all expired food, non-expired but not opened food items were donated away.. slowly but steadily)

I think I will have to deal with it one-day-at-a-time, after all slow and steady wins the race. I just need to be more persistent and consistent.

All dear minimalists and organized people out there – how do you deal with this?

 

Amala Akkineni – one of my favorite celebrity

One of my favorite actress that I fell in love with when I saw her movie Nirnayam. It is a telugu movie and later on she ended up marrying the lead actor Nagarjuna from the movie in real life. Thus, permanently moved to Hyderabad. She is an animal lover and rescues street dogs or any animals that are hurt or not been taken care of. She is an social activist, currently chair person of Blue Cross of Hyderabad. To know more about her click here .

One of my cousin loves animal and expressed greater interest in joining her. Well they encourage college kids to do part time volunteering if they are passionate about it. What attracts me the most is – her simplicity and going to extreme lengths in protecting the animals by providing shelter even at home. Very environment conscious, believes in leading a simple life. Yes, it is true that she have had great child hood relatively to most of the people with great education and fortunately great career and married into wonderful family. Despite those facts, how many who are equally lucky as she does such work and be simple.. very few. She is one among those few. (Now you know, how I am fascinated by some celebrity personalities or in general any interesting personalities when I meet). Oh yes.. she is a Vegan now.

Here is an interview with her.. yes all spoken in English, at that time she is comfortable with english and just started learning telugu.

If you are interested in watching.. Here it is for you.

If you would like to volunteer or work for Blue Cross at Hyderabad.

Click here

 

Bean and Carrots – Kerala Style (Quick Recipe)

One of my colleague at work hails from Kerela, southern part of India.  One of my dream destination as well. I am looking forward to spend at least a week just roaming in the nature of Kerala.

I have been trying her food lately during my lunch sessions and fell in love with them. When I googled to make bean-carrot kerala style, I came across Vazhayila, her simple recipe that was so quick and easy to make made me do it. My measurements are not as accurate as she specified but here is the link of her recipe. I loved her food photography but I am writing this down for my future self..

Ingredients

Beans – 1 pound – thinly chopped

Carrots – 3 medium – chopped in small size 1/4 inch cubes

Mustard seeds- 1 tbsp

Grounded cumin powder – 1/2 tbsp

Curry leaves – few

Onion – 1 medium – chopped thinly

Grated fresh coconut (I used frozen coconut) – 1/2 cup

Green chillies – 5 (or more depending on your taste buds) – chopped into thin pieces

Salt to taste

Turmeric – pinch of it.

Oil – 2tbsp or less depending on how you prefer using it.

Ginger – minced – tiny bit

Procedure

1. Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds, once they sputter, add Curry leaves.

2. Add all the mix at once – ( beans, carrots, chopped onion, turmeric powder, green chillies, minced ginger, salt , little bit of water) – cover and  let it cook for about 6-8 minutes or until cooked or the raw smell disappears.

3.  Now add cumin powder and grated coconut and let it cook for about 3-4 minutes uncovered and let it become dry.

4. Turn off the stove.. voila..it’s ready! . Goes well with chapathi.

Result

Bean Carrot Thoran

Bean Carrot Thoran

I loved it, Hope you like it too..