by Mini Kolluri, Sakhi Media Intern ::
How does one manage and save on a small budget? How does one prepare for contingencies? How does one control spending? Survivors discussed these issues at a financial literacy workshop conducted by Economic Empowerment Coordinator Jyotswaroop Bawa on September 27th.
“The attendees were in different places. Some were unemployed, others were working and there were those who were job-ready and were looking for work,” said Jyotswaroop. “But all of them needed to know how to save on whatever budget they are on.”
The session started with each participant making a rough monthly budget expense to get an idea of where they were spending money. “When they made a list of their expenses many of them realized that they were spending some money on unnecessary things,” Jyotswaroop said. “Some of them wanted to re-allocate money spent on some things for other things.”
One survivor, who is currently unemployed, lives in a shelter and has a three-month-old child, noted, “I realized that I could make cuts. Right now my situation is bad. Though I get very little money, I realized that I should save some…The workshop helped me set financial goals and made me want to work towards them.”
Simple strategies to save money were exchanged during the workshop. Jyotswaroop observed, “For example, all groceries need not be bought in one place. If vegetables are cheaper in one place and toiletries in another, they can be bought in separate places.” Management of children’s needs was also discussed.
The importance of setting aside money for contingencies was another critical concern. After a discussion, the group of six agreed that at least one month’s income needs to be set aside for emergencies.
During the session, Jyotswaroop stressed the importance of opening up bank accounts in order to get interest on cash deposited. Survivors also asked questions on 401K accounts and online banking.
“Many of these women do not learn about banking and financial services because they think it’s a man’s thing or because of financial abuse,” Jyotswaroop said. “But they want to teach it to their daughters and we should encourage them to discuss these matters and educate themselves.”