Cost of Living in Mumbai - Last Part

Further to Part 1 and Part 2 of Cost of Living in Mumbai, here's the final part for the same...

3. Home (Food and groceries) – A couple living in Mumbai could get a monthly bill of 10000 INR to 15000 INR per month on groceries alone. I am listing down a few costs here below just to show you the living costs in Mumbai for Groceries….

Milk (1 Ltr.) – 35 INR,
Butter (500 gms) – 85 INR
Eggs 12 (large) – 28 INR
Rice (Long Grain) – 50 INR
Sugar (1 Kg White) – 25 INR
Corn Flakes (Packet of 375 gms) – 90 INR
Mineral Water (1 ltr.) – 15 INR
Tea Bags (Pack of 25) – 30 INR
Coke (1.5 Ltrs) – 45 INR
Coffee (Instant 125 gms.) – 118 INR
Ketchup (340 gms) – 58 INR
Marmalade/Jam (370 gms) – 80 INR
Chicken (whole Fresh 1KG) – 120 INR
Table Salt ( 500 gms) – 15 INR
Potatoes/Tomatoes/Onions (1KG) – 20 INR to 25 INR
Apples (1 Kg) – 135 INR
Grapes (1 Kg)/Pineapple(can 500 gms) – 100 INR
Lamb Chops ( 1kg) – 250 INR
Laundry Detergent(2.5 Kg) – 250 INR
Dishwashing Liquid(500 ml) – 60 INR
Toothpaste (120 gms) – 34 INR
Shampoo ( 200 ml) – 75 INR
Soap ( bar 150 gms) – 28 INR
Shaving razors (pack of 5) – 20 INR
Beer (Local can 330 ml) – 45 INR
Scotch Whiskey(0.75 ltrs) – 1000 INR

4. Utilities – The largest provider of landline telephone is the state run MTNL which also provides internet, GSM and CDMA mobile phone service. There are also many private players in the landline services like Tata, Reliance, Airtel etc. The average monthly rental for a land line phone is 375 INR, some free calls are included in this cost. You can purchase both CDMA and GSM type phones here. CDMA phones can be directly bought from the service providers like Reliance and Tata Indicom an average phone can cost from 2000 INR, the cost of making a call is as cheap as 0.50 INR depending on your plan. You can buy your GSM phones from Nokia, Samsung etc. and the cost of a SIM card is 90 INR for a lifetime incoming facility free. The energy cost for a couple for a month staying a 1000 sqft apartment could be 2000 INR. Internet for a 2MBPS ADSL connection can cost 700 INR/month.

5. Clothing – You will find all Major brands here including Levi’s, Lee, Adidas, Marks and Spencers, NEXT etc. The cost of Women’s shoes is 850 INR (you could also get them cheaper at 150 INR but then the quality is really bad). Men’s Shoes can cost INR 1000 and a Men’s Suit starts from 6000 INR and a pair of jeans can start from 550 INR. Women’s dresses can start at 1150 INR and a nice Indian Suit can cost 2500 INR.

6. Cars and travel – You can hire a taxi for 13 INR/km, while the fare for local City buses for 3Kms is 5 INR and you can hire a Chauffer driven car for 1000 INR for the whole day limited to some Kms for 8 hours. You can travel by the local trains the life line of Mumbai for 1000 INR monthly pass. You can also buy a car – The Suzuki Maruti Hatchback Swift costs about 500000 INR and the sedan Honda City can start from 900000 INR. You can also take a loan on the car which as an annual interest of 9.5% to 11 %. Being a very crowded city it is better to buy a small car, you can get around faster and also parking problems are solved.

7. Miscellaneous Expenses for living in Mumbai – A visit to the doctor can cost you 225 INR for a general physician to 1000 INR for a specialist. The Domestic help can cost INR 3000 for cooking and cleaning and a driver for the car can cost 7000 INR to 9000 INR. The fee for fitness club per annum can cost 13500 INR. The web Café for 30 minutes is 15 INR.

Conversion Rate at the time of writing the blog -

1 USD = 49 INR
1 Euro = 70 INR

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Cost of Living in Mumbai - Part 2

After my last Article Cost of Living in Mumbai - Part 1, here is a continuation.Buying a property is whole different ballgame. Mumbai is a costly city to buy a house of your own and the costs can be a real strain on the budget. You can get a loan from any bank for the same but the present interest rate is bit too high although you can get a tax benefit.

The Chart above gives an idea about the prevailing property rates (Source Times of India).

And then there are service apartments available in Mumbai, the apartments are usually fully furnished with basic amenities and are usually equipped with a kitchen. For a short term stay they are an excellent option since you save money compared to the rent you would pay in a hotel and you can cook your own food. You can get a medium service apartment at the rate of 4500 INR per day to a good one at 15000 INR per day.

2. Eating Out – If you are the kind of person who likes to eat out a lot and try out the local cuisines then there are a lot options available in Mumbai. You could eat a normal Indian breakfast for as low as 15 INR with a cup of tea for 5 INR. Eating out in a medium sized road side restaurant could cost you from 150 INR per person to 400 INR per person. A good restaurant could put you back by 3000 INR for a dinner for two. It all depends on what you want to eat. You can buy a book called the Times Food Guide which comes for approx. 195 INR and has all the restaurants listed along with the cost of food for two people. Usually all good restaurants accept Credit cards. Eating out in a fast food joint for two could be as low as 160 INR for two. I am really tempted to list down a few famous budget places here to eat –

Moshes (located in Cuff Parade) – Serves Continental, Israeli and mid east style food. A Meal for two could be above 1000 INR.

Leopold ( Located in Colaba) – Although its not a very trendy place but everyone goes there atleast once. And the food is not costly either ( 400 INR for two)

Pasta & Pizzeria Area (Located in Churchgate) - Cost: Rs. 400-500 for two
Now this place has one of the most brilliant locations in Mumbai …bang on marine drive…

Cha Bar at Oxford Book stall Area (Located in Churchgate) - Its USP, read book sitting in good surroundings, sipping whatever kind of tea u want , reading a new pick from Oxford’s book collection.

Swati Snacks Area (Located in Tardeo Road) - Cost: Rs. 350-400 for two. This place is must visit atleast once in ur gastronomic pilgrimage

Café Madras (Located in Matunga) - Now this place has the best Dosas and idlis one can have and all this wont cost more than Rs. 100-150 for two…

Café Brittania (Located in Fort. & near Flora Fountain) - Now this is the place which if one goes by food only will realize still stands out for its Parsi Fare……

5 spices (Located in Fort. & near Flora Fountain) - Cost : Rs. 250-300 for two. Now this place is the ultimate definition of Economy + Quality + Quantity combo. This Chinese eatery might be considered a bit indianized but once u order and see the generous portions they serve and how it tastes….

Conversion Rate at the time of writing the blog -

1 USD = 49 INR
1 Euro = 70 INR

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Cost of Living in Mumbai - Part 1

Well after the article Cost of Living in Delhi, the next best thing would be to right about the Cost of living in Mumbai. The Living costs in Mumbai are certainly more as compared to the living cost in Delhi. Mumbai (Formerly Bombay) is the financial capital of India, hosting the headquarters of the Reserve Bank of India, the Bombay Stock Exchange, the National Stock Exchange, large Indian companies like Reliance, Tata Group, Godrej etc. Downtown South Mumbai is considered to be the nerve center of of the Indian economy. Mumbai is the capital of the State of Maharashtra.

Mumbai is also the hub of the entertainment industry of India, known as Bollywood (Hollywood of India). The epicenter of the Hindi Movie industry, its got all the major television, satellite networks and the production houses along with large studios. You could probably spot a filmstar or a television actor while walking through Mumbai.

First and foremost real estate –

1. Cost of Real Estate – Anytime Anywhere the largest cost factor for the living cost is the cost of the real estate, whether you are thinking of renting/leasing or just buying. has put up the rates for renting of most of the localities on there website and probably you can go through it to get the rates.The range of costs is very extreme for a 2 BHK starting 5000 INR in Western Suburbs and Navi Mumbai to upto 250000 INR in South Mumbai. So actually depending on your preference of location you can either spend a lot and get the location preference or compromise on the location and actually get a cheap flat. Remember the traffic in Mumbai is horrible and the choice of your location should actually depend on two main factors your place of work and your children’s school. Since if either of you has to travel a lot through the traffic in Mumbai its going to get to your nerves. And also the rains actually sink some parts of Mumbai in water so be careful not to take a home in the ground floors. From the same website, I have taken the below costs for a 2 BHK –

South Mumbai

Colaba – 100000 to 200000 INR
Church gate – 75000 to 150000 INR
Opera House – 40000 to 70000 INR
Marine Drive – 65000 to 100000 INR

Western Suburbs

Bandra West – 60000 INR to 150000 INR
Andheri West – 25000 INR to 50000 INR
Goregoan West – 20000 INR to 35000 INR
Vasai – 10000 INR to 14000 INR
Virar – 5000 INR to 10000 INR

Central Mumbai

Byculla – 40000 INR to 70000 INR
Mahim – 45000 INR to 70000 INR
Sion – 35000 INR to 40000 INR
Wadala – 30000 INR to 50000 INR

Easter Suburbs

Chembur – 20000 INR to 40000 INR
Ghatkopar/Kurla – 20000 INR to 30000 INR
Powai/Vikhroli – 25000 INR to 35000 INR
Thane East/West – 12000 INR to 20000 INR

Navi Mumbai

Vashi – 15000 INR to 30000 INR
Belapur – 12000 INR to 20000 INR
Airoli – 15000 INR to 20000 INR

Apart from the monthly rent, the landlords in Mumbai prefer a large security deposit and sometimes even prefer to get 12 months advance rentals. If your company has a policy to lease the home in the companies name, it would be preferable that you do so through the company since you can negotiate better and also get a waiver on the advance rentals and hefty security deposits.

Conversion Rate at the time of writing the blog -

1 USD = 49 INR
1 Euro = 70 INR

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Preserving your Career

In today’s world the most important thing is about preserving and helping your career. About keeping your job. About developing new skills to be multi functional in case you are laid off. To tell you the truth I actually started this blog as a hobby and a way of testing my writing skills, also in the back of mind was an alternative source of income (which of course I am yet to find out). But honestly it’s not a good time to be in now a days, working for anyone has its own risks and rewards and with all this recession talk you never know what can happen next to you. Here are a few pointers I found on the net…

  1. Network – I bet you have been hearing this a lot recently, with all those social networking sites like Facebook, Orkut, Linkedin etc. Its not difficult to start networking, you just have to get around doing it.Networking is a very wide term and doesn’t necessarily have to be through the Internet only, you can maybe just pick up the phone and say Hi, to all those important people that you have known through out your career and are now just a phone number in your phone book.

  1. Work On your Language skills and writing skills, especially if you are planning on relocating or or not working in your hometown. The Language helps you communicate better and the writing skills help you to grow within the organization and also can open up a whole new horizon for you.

  1. Polish your resume – Get professional help, available through all major job portals like Naukri and Monster for writing your resume if you think you are not getting the attention from the companies which you think could be interested in your skills.

  1. Make a list of all the things that you did to help the company you work for. This can help you during your appraisal sessions and also can be useful to present to the HR in case you think you can move to some other more important department within the organisation. It can also help you when you are going for an interview for a new job, many prospective companies like to hear your contribution to your present employer is.

  1. Spend time reading – Reading about new skills, reading about your own line of work, reading about current affairs and anything that you think could be useful to strike a conversation with an unfamiliar person or just help you understand your job better or maybe find ways to do your job better. A well-informed person is always appreciated.

So go on be careful about what you do, and save your career from becoming redundant.

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Did not file Income tax returns yet

I have come across several cases where the people have not filed their income tax returns on the 31st of July. They keep asking is it necessary to file ITR? What to Do now? How to go about it?

Now lets see if I can explain this, firstly YES it is necessary to file your income tax returns if you income is above 1.5 Lakhs and 1.85 lakhs respectively for men and women. And as per Section 234(A, B, C) of the income tax act, Anyone who has some tax liability but has failed to file returns will be required to pay 1 percent of the total tax liability every month till the time tax return is filed.

Now comes the big question what to do now, well let’s see…

1. All your tax liability has been deducted at source and you have Form 16 issued by your income source for example your employer then you can file your returns till March 31 of the next year (eg. - Mar 31 2010 for this year) without any penalty. However if you miss this deadline then you have to pay a fine of Rs. 5000/-.

2. You still have tax to be paid, and then you will be charged a penalty of 1 percent per month till the time you pay it. For Example you had to pay an income tax of Rs. 3000/- as on 31st March 2009 but some how you missed paying it then you can do so by paying a penalty of 1 percent per month i.e. Rs. 30/- till you pay the tax. So if you pay the tax on 31st September 2009 then your penalty will be of Rs. 60/- for 2 months (Calculated from 31st July 2009), which can be paid. And you can file your tax return by 31st March 2010.

3. If you forget to file your returns before the end of the Assessment year i.e. March 2010 for this year, then you will have to add another Rs 5000/- as penalty. For example if you file your returns in May 2010 for the above example, then your total tax payable will be Rs. 3000/- plus Rs. 5000/- (Penalty) plus Rs. 300/-(Interest).

Then there is the question of losses. Basically if you have faced some major loss in your business or sale of shares, which you want to carry forward to be set off in later years, then filing the income tax returns is extremely necessary. And do not forget that filing of Income tax return is not just an obligation but also a very important proof of income, which can be used for getting bank loans or applying for foreign travel Visas etc.

It is better late then never, so go ahead and just file your returns.

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My Investment Strategy

I have been writing a lot about where and how to invest and why to invest. But today I am going to tell you about my investment strategy. I like to diversify, if you talk to any professional financial Consultant, he will tell you that diversification is the key to any successful portfolio. A concentrated portfolio, can be of very high risk, since if at anytime god forbid the stock or the investment goes down, its going to take down your entire portfolio with it. Let me tell you about my Portfolio –

1. Stocks – I have invested across sectors like banking, IT, Power, Infrastructure etc., I hold stocks in at least two companies in each of the sectors. But one mistake that I have done of course is that presently I hold a very small portfolio and have just a few shares in each of the companies, which should be avoided. This way any gain in any sector does not help the overall portfolio. Well I am planning to correct that shortly.

2. Debt – I have bought things like KVP, NSC, and Bank FD’s etc. Invested in PPF account and also have a EPF account that my employer holds (Yes I work).

3. Gold – I have invested a little money in Gold ETF and have also bought physical gold in the form of a coin very recently as an investment.

4. Land - Well yet to make any significant investment in this part of my portfolio although have invested a small amount of money in a yet to be developed colonies but am planning on buying atleast one property shortly.

5. Mutual Funds – I have invested in only two Mutual funds through an SIP route, since I mostly like to manage my own money although many people tell me I should get more exposure through this channel. Lets see in the future.

6. ULIP’s – Unit Linked Insurance Plans is another investment strategy that I have adopted, wherein I have bought one ULIP and make a monthly deposit in the same.

7. Insurance – OK this is where I am focussing presently since I have come to believe I am underinsured. Although I have a couple of Endowment plans and the ULIP mentioned above, I sincerely believe in term Policy only and am planning to increase my investment in the same since that secures my family’s future.

Well that’s about it about my confession, I don’t know how many people like my investment strategy or what they have to say about the same but presently I am happy about it except for a few glitches here and there which I plan to fix very soon. Keeping my fingers crossed. Do write to me what you think about the same.

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