wellness program how to budget

Wellness program : learning how to budget while baking 1/2

After the meditation workshop we had on the 20th of august, we hosted last saturday a new one which aimed to give basic budgeting hacks while baking. This is the part 1 of the follow up on our event. In their simplest forms, Part 1 is about money and Part 2 is about cake.

This post is a guest post from Joanne Ng

The Wellness program

Coins for Change runs our very own Wellness Program. Our wellness team has designed the program with the primary objective of empowering young women in Vietnam; our events are run not only for the benefit of single mothers within the C4C community, but also welcomes women from the wider community.

Last Saturday as part of our wellness program we hosted Let’s talk around a cake in the Tay Ho house, the result of one brainstorming session that the team had in the process of constructing the Wellness Program when we thought that a baking workshop would be an interesting, engaging way to start discussion on the concept of budgeting. During the workshop, discussion built upon adapting baking to work for individual budgets, using this as a springboard to get participants into a discussion of what budgeting is and how to make their own budgets. Incidentally, the event was also a good opportunity for cultural and language exchange.

Basic budgeting

Budgeting is the most basic form of financial management; it forms the foundation of financial wellbeing. This financial wellbeing is what gives an individual the security and flexibility to pursue his or her goals without constant worry about day-to-day living.

The bare bones of budgeting are such: You have a certain income, and so your total spending is not to exceed this amount.

The 4 categories of spending:

  • Fixed/ essentials such as the rent, electricity bills, children’s school fees, commuting costs, food, household products. These are non-negotiable and form a chunk of money that must be set aside as a priority.
  • Short term unexpected costs. To account for unexpected costs that could be anything from the fees for your child’s school trip to a computer repair to visits to the doctor.
  • Savings. Savings are also important in that they give you a cushion when you meet with unfortunate events. A prime example would be an accident or unexpected illness. Another example would be that if your boss at work becomes abusive or exploitative, having savings would give you the flexibility to extract yourself from the situation.
  • Non-essentials such as treats like ice cream or new makeup; a trip to a museum with friends; a computing course to boost your employability; pursuing your hobbies. In fact to label this category “non-essentials” is a misnomer as being good to yourself is essential for emotional wellbeing. Of course, being good to yourself doesn’t always have to cost money but sometimes it will.
    To budget is to set yourself a specific amount of money to put towards each category. In a month, how much money must be set aside for essentials, unexpected costs and savings? What is the maximum I will let myself spend on non-essentials? Do I mindlessly spend to the maximum of my non-essentials budget, or do I want to put the money towards for something I really want? It all depends on your income: your budget may allow you to live in luxury or it may mean that for the moment you have to live frugally and find ways to stretch the đồng.

Making a budget is easy. The hard part is sticking to the budget that you set yourself, and learning to say no to things that you really want. It is so easy to find excuses to spend beyond your budget (“Oh, it’s just a little bit over!” “I need this yoga membership to keep fit” “I can’t miss this opportunity” “I am getting my bonus next month”), but it is this lack of self-discipline that could potentially force you into a vicious debt cycle. Of course, borrowing money is not inherently bad. If used in the right way it is incredibly useful—majority of people are able to go to university because student loans are available, or enjoy home ownership because of the possibility of mortgages. However, it is unfortunately the case that if you are on low income you are much more likely to be charged a much higher interest rate or have to resort to borrowing from exploitative lenders. Even borrowing from friends and family involve some risk. It could cause strain to relationships. Additionally, this relationship of dependency may prevent you from pursuing the goals that you want to pursue.

The final point I wish to make is that it is important to review your budget. There can be many reasons why a budget does not work. If your budget is not working for you the first time, it may simply be too unrealistic. Find some time to sit down and analyse why the budget is not working for you, and make the necessary changes.

Cake lightens up heavy discussion


Some helpful links to do with basic budgeting:

6.4 Budgeting


Soon to follow is Part 2 of Let’s talk around a cake in which we will be revealing our baking top tips as well as clever tricks to bake on a budget. Watch this space!

By Joanne Ng

0 121