What is the minimum amount of money I would need to live in India?

#1 Nov 9th, 2015, 03:18
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#1
Hi all,

Since I'm new here, I'll introduce myself, and then get to my question.

I'm a 21 year old guy from the UK, and I'm of Indian origin. Recently I'd been suffering from depression, but I have been recovering now. But going through it led to me thinking about what we need to be happy. I was wondering what the least you could have (in terms of money and lifestyle) would be, to still be happy. And that led to me thinking that living a simpler life with less, might not be such a bad thing.

I'm planning to work and save some money, but once I've saved up enough, I plan to pack my things and go travelling, and have some new experiences in my life while I'm still young.

I think by choosing a developing county, my money will go further, and instead of going on an expensive holiday for a couple of weeks, I could spend a couple of years living abroad. India makes the most sense to me compared to other developing countries, as I can get an OCI card, most of my relatives live there, and as I'm ethnically Indian, I won't stand out as much. (Although as I can't speak any Indian languages, I'm sure I'll be charged 'tourist prices' and that people will easily be able to tell I'm not a local).

If I saved up around 5,000 - 10,000, how much time would that buy me in India?

Doing some research made me think I'd want to try and live off something like 2,500 - 3,000 per year (excluding setting up costs like travel, one-off apartment deposits and furniture etc).

So far, Bangalore seems like a good choice to me, as it has a cooler climate, low malaria risk, and English is spoken as a second language rather than Hindi, but I'm open to suggestions as to where would be the best.

I'd want to live in a city, where I can get by with English, and has plenty of coffee shops and shopping malls and stuff like that.

I'm open to any advice, and I'm willing to change my plan if needs be.
#2 Nov 9th, 2015, 11:36
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  • vaibhav_arora is offline
#2
Hi NPO,

Welcome to Indiamike. Before I jump into the money and the cost discussion could you tell us if you've visited India before? If so, how many years ago, where and for how long? Also, since you have relatives here, have you discussed this plan with them? What about discussing this with your family (if they're with you in the UK?)

If for whatever reasons, you plan to live independently (i.e. away from the relatives), and for at least a year, look at tier 2 cities as well for an overall lower cost of living. Tier 1 gets expensive and if you go out a bit, 3000 GBP per year or 300,000 INR per year is going to be tough expense wise as rent will eat up almost all of it (assuming you rent an independent 1Bedroom / studio).

cheers!
Vaibhav
#3 Nov 9th, 2015, 18:25
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  • Nick-H is offline
#3
Quote:
If I saved up around 5,000 - 10,000, how much time would that buy me in India?
You might get a year if you are careful. Really, talking that kind of money, you need to be ten-years-ago. It's what I did, then.

But you'd better forget about the coffee shops and malls --- except for the purpose of being in AC that somebody else is paying for. Think Rs.8 chai from a street stall, not 80 or more in some fancy place. And when I was living on 5,000 a year, tea on the street was only Rs.2.

I don't think I'd pick India to be depressed in ---or, not the small corner that know. One could feel pretty isolated.
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#4 Nov 9th, 2015, 20:21
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Does your health insurance cover diagnosis and treatment for depression ?
#5 Nov 9th, 2015, 21:26
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Hi npo,

I sympathise with your depressions, and wish you all the best. But I'm not sure that India is really what you're looking for.

At the start of your post you talk of "living a simpler life with less", but then you end by saying you're looking for a place with "plenty of coffee shops and shopping malls and stuff like that" - maybe a little contradictory?

I'd certainly say that for a westerner, India can be a wonderful respite from the hell of modern, western consumerism. But if you're after shops and malls, is India really the place for you?

Hmm, I dunno, just pondering.

G
#6 Nov 9th, 2015, 21:49
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Thanks for the replies, everyone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Meta genes View Post Does your health insurance cover diagnosis and treatment for depression ?
I'm in the UK, so there's free healthcare. I've seen psychiatrists, psychologists, doctors, got all the advice I'll need. The one thing I'm doing differently, is although the professional advice is that I should take anti-depressants, I'm going to try lifestyle changes first (exercising, sunlight exposure, etc), and then take the pills only if I'm not better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vaibhav_arora View Post could you tell us if you've visited India before? If so, how many years ago, where and for how long? Also, since you have relatives here, have you discussed this plan with them? What about discussing this with your family (if they're with you in the UK?)

If for whatever reasons, you plan to live independently (i.e. away from the relatives), and for at least a year, look at tier 2 cities as well for an overall lower cost of living. Tier 1 gets expensive and if you go out a bit, 3000 GBP per year or 300,000 INR per year is going to be tough expense wise as rent will eat up almost all of it (assuming you rent an independent 1Bedroom / studio).
I've not been to India since I was a kid, I think it was about 10 years ago, so I don't remember it too well. We are going to visit relatives early next year, so I'll use that experience as a reference point, to see if I'm still interested in this idea.

Most of my family is in or around Surat, Gujarat, but I wouldn't want to live there, I'd want to go somewhere cooler, and more westernised. I was looking at 1 BHK flats in Bangalore, and I was maybe hoping to pay around 10,000 - 15,000 INR per month (excluding deposits), for rent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post You might get a year if you are careful. Really, talking that kind of money, you need to be ten-years-ago. It's what I did, then.

But you'd better forget about the coffee shops and malls --- except for the purpose of being in AC that somebody else is paying for. Think Rs.8 chai from a street stall, not 80 or more in some fancy place. And when I was living on 5,000 a year, tea on the street was only Rs.2.

I don't think I'd pick India to be depressed in ---or, not the small corner that know. One could feel pretty isolated.
Hmm, good to know. I thought I might have been being a bit too optimistic with my numbers. In terms of coffee shops/ malls, they would be more for visiting or one-offs. I understand if I was living on my own, I'd have to eat the majority of my meals at home, cooked using cheap ingredients, (like rice/lentils/dried beans). I also know that my accommodation would have to be extremely basic, with no A/C, no TV, maybe just a mini fridge, and a portable stove.

I definitely don't want to feel that isolated though. That was one of the reasons behind me wanting to travel abroad somewhere. To get away from the UK, with the miserable weather (it rains a lot in Scotland), and the isolation here, with strangers basically completely avoiding each other, and (for example), in public transport, like the Tube, people going great lengths to avoid eye-contact.

My hope would be to go somewhere with a lively atmosphere, with busy streets, different street foods, busy markets, and just an atmosphere which is basically the opposite of somewhere like the UK.

I'm also open to going to other developing countries too, provided they're safe, I can get by okay with English, the weather is cooler, (maybe highs of 25C and not 40C), and there being no visa problems.

This is still very much a hypothetical plan, as in reality I'd probably be working in the UK for 1-3 years and saving up money, but I don't want to be stuck in an office job forever, and I do want to have some new experiences and have a bit of an 'adventure', while I'm still young. And then hopefully be able to return home with a new perspective on things.

I also could probably get my Dad to give me the money, and not work at all, but this whole idea is about independence, which I really need after living at home with my parents for the past couple of years (since I dropped out of Uni). If I can find a job/ source of income while I'm in India, that would probably help with finances too.
#7 Nov 9th, 2015, 22:00
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  • vaibhav_arora is offline
#7
Quote:
Originally Posted by npo View Post I've not been to India since I was a kid, I think it was about 10 years ago, so I don't remember it too well. We are going to visit relatives early next year, so I'll use that experience as a reference point, to see if I'm still interested in this idea.
That's a good idea.

Quote:
Originally Posted by npo View Post My hope would be to go somewhere with a lively atmosphere, with busy streets, different street foods, busy markets, and just an atmosphere which is basically the opposite of somewhere like the UK.
Goa? See this : http://www.indiamike.com/india/goa-f...n-goa-t194433/ (has some price info too). Fits pretty much all that you seem to want (bit warmer though).

I'd have said mcleodganj - fits your other criteria but dies down much faster after dark.
#8 Nov 9th, 2015, 22:01
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Originally Posted by GP&D View Post I sympathise with your depressions, and wish you all the best. But I'm not sure that India is really what you're looking for.

At the start of your post you talk of "living a simpler life with less", but then you end by saying you're looking for a place with "plenty of coffee shops and shopping malls and stuff like that" - maybe a little contradictory?

I'd certainly say that for a westerner, India can be a wonderful respite from the hell of modern, western consumerism. But if you're after shops and malls, is India really the place for you?
Okay, I shouldn't have said "plenty". I just meant that I'd want to live in a slightly more modern city or a bigger town, rather than a small village, which might have frequent power cuts, and not many people who speak good English.

I would be, for the most part, avoiding the coffee shops/malls, just I would want to go to a town/city I can hopefully make a few friends, who are around my age, who speak fluent or near-fluent English, so that rather than just communicate, I would be able to relate to and have conversations with. My guess is I'd want to be in a larger town or a city, which is fairly modern/cosmopolitan, which might have some universities and western companies located in it.

But in general, avoiding the "hell of western consumerism", is exactly why I want to go to a developing country. I'd want to do things like sit in the sunlight and relax, immerse myself in a busy, noisy atmosphere with markets and street food, and go on walks in areas which have some natural beauty, like hills or trees or rivers.
#9 Nov 9th, 2015, 22:09
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Originally Posted by vaibhav_arora View Post Goa? See this : http://www.indiamike.com/india/goa-f...n-goa-t194433/ (has some price info too). Fits pretty much all that you seem to want (bit warmer though).

I'd have said mcleodganj - fits your other criteria but dies down much faster after dark.
Thanks, I'll look in to Goa. I know there's a lot of tourism there too, so I'm sure it would be a good place, with plenty to things to do, plenty of people who only speak English, and maybe other westerners I might meet too.

Interestingly enough, I think my parents went to Goa after they got married, for a honeymoon.
#10 Nov 9th, 2015, 22:28
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Why tie yourself down to one city or country if you plan on a few years?

If you choose India then spend time in one place and eventually move on to another. And there are many countries where the lifestyle your looking for exists. Nepal is great also.

Here's a great place with lot's of travelers and expats and cheap in Central America. http://www.atitlan.com/index.php

And the weather is perfect. Everyday is like spring. And you could find work there, like teaching English.

And they grow good cheap coffee.
"Travel is fatal to prejudice,bigotry and narrow-mindedness" Mark Twain
#11 Nov 9th, 2015, 22:42
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I definitely don't want to feel that isolated though. That was one of the reasons behind me wanting to travel abroad somewhere. To get away from the UK, with the miserable weather (it rains a lot in Scotland), and the isolation here, with strangers basically completely avoiding each other, and (for example), in public transport, like the Tube, people going great lengths to avoid eye-contact.
The view from the other side: I was amazed at how friendly and helpful people were in London, when I visited, first time in 6 years (I lived there for 30), a few months ago.

India is not about living simply with less, unless forced to do so by poverty. Nor is it an escape from consumerism. Diwalli is coming up, right? The newspapers are full of full-page ads from the electrical stores. On other pages, it could be silk, gold, etc etc. Or "modern" restaurants that don't sell real food, but sell the idea of their image.

So do take a long, slightly hard, look at India before deciding to live here.

Do also realise that, just because you shift yourself a few thousand miles, does not mean that you or your life will change.

Otherwise, well, I call it home, and have done for nearly eleven years now, so it can't be all bad .
#12 Nov 9th, 2015, 22:53
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Nick-H,

Out of curiosity, and if it's not too nosey, do you have some sort of right to residency in India, or do you constantly have to leave to re-new your visa?

G
#13 Nov 9th, 2015, 23:05
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do you have some sort of right to residency in India
Mrs N.



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#14 Nov 9th, 2015, 23:09
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I see. If only all of us could have a Mrs N!
#15 Nov 10th, 2015, 04:02
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ananda2193 View Post Why tie yourself down to one city or country if you plan on a few years?

If you choose India then spend time in one place and eventually move on to another. And there are many countries where the lifestyle your looking for exists. Nepal is great also.

Here's a great place with lot's of travelers and expats and cheap in Central America. http://www.atitlan.com/index.php

And the weather is perfect. Everyday is like spring. And you could find work there, like teaching English.

And they grow good cheap coffee.
I'll look into that. I was actually already looking into some countries in South/Central America, there's some places which seem nice, but I'd have to find a city where I can get by with English, with low crime rates.

My system doesn't really like coffee, I'm more of a tea person, so there's one point to India, I'm sure there's plenty of great tea I can get there...

I don't have much interest in teaching English anywhere, but I would be willing to volunteer with some charities, wherever I end up going.

Thanks for the suggestion though, I'm not really tied to India, as long as I can sort out visas, I can communicate in English, it's safe, and the weather isn't too hot.

I also like the look of Thailand, and some other countries in East + Southeast Asia, so I still have some research to do.

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