From Budget to Bachat (Noor,TFI)

Organiser: Project Noor (Teach For India)
Event Details: 28 Feb 2021 (Phase 2, Session 2)
Session Topic: Introduction to Budgeting
Participants: 18 Mothers from Delhi
Hosts (TFI): Partha Dey and Priyanuj Sharma
Finance Coach: CA. Sanchit Jain

Session Warm-up: Know what you know?

We began the session with questions to the participants:

1. Do you know what was the total spending for the last month?
A few participants responded that they didn’t really bother themselves with the finances. Their husband took care of the money part. Whenever they had any requirement, they simply tell their husband and he fulfils it. For example, they share a list of items required for the household, and the husband procures them. In their words, it helps them remain ‘tension-free’ and the husband manages it all. However, one of the participants mentioned that she takes a keen interest in managing household expenses. Her husband gives her a fixed amount on a monthly basis and she manages the expenses on her own.

2. Do you know what was the electricity expenses for January 2021 (the previous month)?
This question was better received. Electricity being an important expense in Indian households, most women were aware of the approximate bill amounts. A few still mentioned that they rely completely on their husband, hence are not aware of the amount spent.

National Budget & Importance of Budget

To initiate the discussion on the importance of budgeting, we shared a picture of ‘budget’ as held by Honorable Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman. The participants were easily able to identify the picture and also mentioned that the budget was presented by the Finance Minister. The discussion continued from how a budget is prepared for the entire country, to its importance in their households.

A budget allows us to fix limits on how much can be spent on a particular category, and helps keep a ceiling. On one hand, this helps us avoid overspending, at the same time ensuring a minimum savings target is met. This systematic approach also helps to balance today’s enjoyment with securing the future.

Kharcha Khata (Expense Register)

Next, we introduced the concept of ‘Kharcha Khata; or expense register. A few participants were aware of the concept but had not practically done it. They usually felt it was too much work and hence avoided it. We explained in detail how maintaining detailed expense accounts will help them keep a track of where they are spending money. We also shared a glimpse of the next steps once the Expense Register is maintained, to highlight the benefits in long run.

Next Steps

All the participants were very enthusiastic and committed to keeping records from the next day itself.
Before concluding the session, we asked how participants felt after the session today and their key learnings. While all the feedbacks were in a positive light, one notable response was:

We know how to spend. It is through this session, that we are learning how to save.

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