The Ultimate Guide to Better Health & Wealth (Millennial Edition) - Chapter 11

How To Start A Health Budget Without Overspending


Often, when we talk about monthly budgets, the focus is on savings, housing, transport, food, groceries, insurance, and entertainment subscriptions.

Unless you are a health and fitness enthusiast, your ‘health’ allocation would probably be grouped together with ‘Miscellaneous’ or non-existent.

Here’s why you need to start investing in your health:
1. The health of millennials are starting to decline faster than usual (at the age of 27 instead of 30).
2. A worrying 40% increase in the mortality rates among millennials.
3. Medical costs and medical inflation continue to rise in Malaysia each year (an increase of 13.4% in 2019).

According to the iMoney Monthly Budget Survey conducted online in 2019, around 22% of respondents claim they do not spend money on their health at all.

Furthermore, another survey by the Debt Management and Counselling Agency (AKPK) on the financial behaviour of Malaysians revealed that fewer than six out of ten Malaysians can afford to pay RM2,500 for unplanned medical costs.

Given the rising cost of healthcare, it’s time to start thinking about making health a priority in our monthly budgeting.

Do popular budgeting methods provide for healthcare?

There are many budgeting methods today and the more popular ones usually devise a way for users to adapt their lifestyle to the recommended budget allocation.

A familiar one to many readers online is the 50-30-20 rule. Popularised by Harvard professor and American politician Elizabeth Warren, the 50-30-20 budgeting rule suggests allocating your monthly budget as follows:

  • 50% for needs that include home rental/loan, utilities, health care, groceries, transportation and childcare.
  • 30% for wants that include mobile plan, entertainment, dining out, personal care, shopping and travel.
  • 20% for student loans, credit card debt, savings and retirement.

Another popular one for monthly budgeting comes from famous financial author Dave Ramsey. He advocates a zero-based budget where you allocate your monthly income in such a way that it comes to zero.

In simpler words, you allocate all your money into a category in your budget plan so that there are no extra money hanging around giving a false impression that you are free to spend as you like.

Dave suggested a more detailed budget allocation as follows:

  • 25-35% for housing
  • 10-25% for insurance
  • 10-15% for food
  • 10-15% for transportation
  • 10-15% for personal
  • 10-15% for giving
  • 10-15% for saving
  • 5-10% for utilities
  • 5-10% for health
  • 5-10% for recreation

This way, you know where every ringgit goes and you will be reluctant to spend mindlessly!

More importantly, as you can see the budget allocation templates recommended by the experts are inclusive of healthcare.

After all, nothing says “adulting’ better than starting a monthly budget and more importantly, making room for healthy choices when you spend your money.

How to start a health budget

Don’t take your health for granted. Many neglect their health until a disaster strikes which by then is too late.

Here are some statistics to show the state of health of Malaysian millennials:

• 13.2% of 25 to 29-year-olds have hypertension
• 30.3% of Malaysians who are obese are 20-29 years old
• 3 in 10 Malaysians aged 16 years old and above have mental problems

Your 20’s and 30s shouldn’t only spell fun, it should also build the foundation for a healthy life ahead. With a health budget in place, you are more likely to make good decisions for your wealth and health in future. Here’s how to get started.

1. Adopt new habits that improve your health

Making room in your monthly budget for your health means looking for ways to include healthy habits when making purchases and in carrying out your daily routine.

Here are some of the ways you can cultivate a healthy body and mind:

  • Adopting new habits such as meditation, working out, and eating healthy
  • Consider taking vitamins and supplements if recommended by your doctor
  • Switching to healthy and organic products whenever possible
  • Enrolling in a gym or fitness classes
  • Investing in kitchen utensils to start cooking healthy food
  • Going for regular health and dental check-ups

2. Start a monthly health budget

As your monthly budget is unique to your needs and wants, the percentage allocation is solely up to you.

However, it is crucial to not overspend or you may end up compromising other parts of your budget. It is not advisable to bust your budget just to purchase healthcare items.

Can you lead a healthy lifestyle while still maintaining a moderate healthcare budget?

The answer is YES!

3. Ace your health budget goals with Pulse

Pulse by Prudential will help you to get fit and healthy without spending much money! In fact, the most you will need to spend is just RM10 (its Online doctor Consultation feature is free for Prudential customers and RM10 for non-Prudential customers).

A healthy budget is equally important as a healthy body and mind. With Pulse, you can get a holistic approach to health and wellness without busting your budget.

Pulse by Prudential is an AI-powered health app with interactive features that are efficient and budget-friendly.

Here’s how Pulse’s features will help transform your healthcare budget:

Health Assessment 

Upon signing up, you will be required to answer a series of questions related to your lifestyle, mental health and body to generate your Digital Twin. Your Digital Twin will give you a detailed insight to how each part of your body is doing.

Symptom Checker

As the name suggests, this feature will help you to check any new or persisting symptoms. Key in your symptoms, answer several questions and then you can take the necessary steps based on the outcome.  

Online Consultation

If you have something to worry about after checking your symptoms, you can always connect with a doctor in just a few minutes through a video or phone call, from the comfort of your home.

This feature is free for Prudential customers, while costs RM10 for non-Prudential customers.

Fitness Tracker

Set your fitness goals and make a plan to achieve them! With this feature, you will be able to track your progress, and keep your motivation level high!

Other Pulse features that you can benefit are Find a Nearby Clinic or Hospital and Dengue Alert.

Download Pulse for a budget-friendly healthy lifestyle!

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