Sunday, November 13, 2022

Money Matters

Warning: This post discusses money. Like, it's going to talk about my account balance. Now, for some of the people reading this, their account balance might be much lower than mine. And for others, vice versa. So, if you don't want to compare lives, you're better off not reading this.


Like I said when I was interviewing Shreyas for IBComputing, I don't believe that we should wait till we grow old to write about the strategies we use to live our lives. The main reason is that what we do today is probably going to get outdated in a couple of years and therefore writing/talking about it 20 years from now is not going to help anyone.

A few years ago I saw a blog post by Michael Lynch, who had quit job at Google and started out as a solo developer. In that post, M discusses how much money M was making - profit, loss, revenue, everything. M made another post after a year, and another, and another. These annual posts talking about finances were very inspiring to see.

I am also attempting something like that here. For the sake of completeness, in this post I will do a recap of what's been happening to my bank accounts till now.



Like I hinted in the warning, each life is different. Someone who has more expenses than I have might not be able to save as much money as I can. Someone who started out with a tougher deal might not be able to make as much money as I can. And vice versa. The purpose of this post is not to tell people that they can follow what I did and make money. Neither do I think that I'm making more money than everyone else. This is not a self-help/advice/moral blog post. This is simply about making my financial life transparent.


The first salary I have gotten came from the compulsory internship I did as part of MBBS course at Mysore Medical College. Till then it was only my family putting money in my pocket and bank account to pay hostel fees, eat food, etc.

So, from 2016 March to 2017 March I was making about ₹20,000 (if my memory serves me right) monthly. When I started earning my dad stopped putting money into my account. So, it was only when I went home my grandmother giving me 5k-10k once in 4 months or so that was my additional income.

At the end of this internship, I vaguely remember having around ₹1,40,000 in my account.

March 2017: ~₹1,40,000


Then I joined SVYM as a resident medical officer. The rural economy of Saraguru combined with the cheap food and accommodation there meant that I could save almost all of the ₹35,000 I was getting as salary there.

In the last few months of working there, I was also moonlighting (remotely) in a Bengauluru start-up in an engineering role. I was being paid hourly there.

In August 2018 I left SVYM and moved to Bengaluru. This is when I started tracking my financial situation seriously. And therefore, from here on I have very good numbers.

August 2018: ₹4,47,613.61


The first house Swathi and I lived in was in Mathikere in Bengaluru. We paid ₹10,000 rent per month. We did have a splitwise group between us that we maintained quite well in those times. (Nowadays we only put large numbers, like house rent, in that splitwise group). We used to eat outside a lot (lots of Kerala restaurants near Ramiah hospital). Traveling was mostly by metro and BMTC buses. Sometimes Uber.

I have a simple way of tracking money that doesn't take my time regularly, and can be done whenever I have time. I keep a google sheet titled Vitamin M (see picture)

The first column is date. Then there are columns for each bank account I have. Then a column for cash in hand. Another for money I'm owed. A couple of columns for totals (one is total liquid cash, the other is total virtual worth (liquid + owed)). I also kept a column to track the difference between the total at any moment and the money I had when I first came to Bangalore.

There is no rule on when to update this sheet. I used to update it whenever I had a chance, I remembered, or I felt like I wanted my life in order. The procedure to update is also simple. I enter the date. I login to all bank websites and enter the current balance. Then I count the money in my wallet. Then I open splitwise and other trackers to see how much money people owe me. And the rest of the calculations is done by formulae.

If you can see the picture, you'll notice that from August 2018 (when I moved to Bangalore) till the end of 2019, my balance was always below the baseline (of 4.5 lakh). But it was also not going too far below. Basically, I was making almost as much money as I was spending in the initial year of being in Bangalore. This was through working as a doctor and also as a developer.

Around August of 2019 we had moved to a house in Kadiranapalaya which is equidistant from Indiranagar metro, Halasuru metro, and Swami Vivekananda metro. The rent here was ₹14,000. And the living costs were also slightly higher than Mathikere. The startups I was working with were all struggling to pay at that time and by around October 2019, I had dipped to ~₹3,20,000.

But towards the end of that year I started working with a non-profit as a software developer and that's how I first crossed the baseline after coming to Bangalore.

October 2019: ~₹3,20,000


As unfair as it is, as I was making more money, more projects were coming to me with even more money attached. I was an investigator in a public health intervention/research study. I was seeing patients. I was developing software for various people. I was getting paid for workshops I facilitated.

By April 2021, my worth was about ₹10,00,000. I was a millionaire in Indian rupees. And remember all of this was when the world was burning with COVID.

April 2021: ₹10,00,000


About time the second wave of COVID hit I was getting disillusioned by the things I were doing. I quit almost all paid work and sat at home.

My calculation was that at the rate I was burning money, I could easily float for 3 years, or even 5 years if I tried. So I was under no pressure to make more money. 

I did various things from around May 2021 to May 2022. Lots of different experiences. I stretched myself in all possible directions and figured out my limits and possibilities.

May 2022: ~₹7,50,000


In June 2022 at the compulsion of my friend I started another paid, part time role as a software developer at Kinara Capital. Coincidentally on the day I joined there I also took up the responsibility of leading an archival effort through SOCHARA who also decided to pay me against my wishes. And many tiny projects/workshops as earlier still keep coming.

While I'm writing this, I updated the Vitamin M sheet. And it tells me that I'm a millionaire again.

November 2022: ₹10,78,646.30


Addendum: It is not just Michael Lynch who has inspired this post. The financial life of Pirate Praveen is also public information because Praveen has disclosed it as a candidate in many elections. Between those and the financial reports of various non-profits, I do not see any reason why I shouldn't be writing this blog post.

I'm also the director of an LLP and I assure you that the numbers in that bank account changes nothing in this analysis. If you know what I mean.

If you like what you're reading, subscribe!

Get posts via email:

1 comment :

Jishnu said...

I moved to GNU Cash to manage my money sometime around 2018. It is going great until now. I would recommend you that, even if you are interested only in the net values.

From the post, my understanding is you are not interested in tracking each and everything happening with the money, but since the tools is not opinionated, it is up to you on how to make use of it.

Here are a couple of videos on how to get started -

One more time, subscribe via email: