As we are nearing Deepavali, many households are busy preparing for the festive season. This excitement often tempts us to overspend. However, if we manage our funds wisely, we need not necessarily be in a financially burdened position with Deepavali celebration and this applies to other festive seasons as well.

Below is a quick guide to avoid getting carried away with our spending:

Prepare a budget

As is your monthly practise, prepare a budget of your expenses for festive seasons. Add in an allocation for the unexpected expenses that come with celebrations. Remember that you need to prepare a realistic budget and stick to it. Ensure that you do not overindulge with food purchases during Deepavali as well, it’s bad for your wallet as well as your health.

Make a checklist

Before you leave home for a shopping spree, be sure to make a realistic checklist of all the things you need to buy. Most importantly, stick to the list! A shopping checklist will help you focus only on things you ‘need’ and not the things you ‘want’. With all the sales and promotions in festive seasons, it is easy to spend on ‘wants’ as well. Ensure the value of the items in your checklist correlates the budget prepared earlier.

Before making any purchase, ask yourself these questions:

Be a smart shopper

Keep a tab on discounts, what shops are selling and at what price. By no means does this mean that you overspend because it is cheap. Shop around for the best prices and promotions on offer. The Internet also serves as a platform for being a smart shopper. You can compare prices of different stores and also check if an online purchase is available and cheaper for the same product.

Not everything needs to be new

Though it is the festive season, not everything in the house need be new. The decorations can be recycled and there will be no need to buy new ones every year. This applies to clothes, furniture, crockery and accessories too.

Taking cash advances

Many employers offer salary in advance of pay date and bonuses during festive periods. One’s attitude and spending habits are important here. It is imperative that one is responsible with these salary advances and bonuses and it will be deducted from the monthly salary in future.

We urge Malaysians to be frugal during festive period so that their monthly expenses are not jeopardized following festivities. We advise Malaysians to prepare a budget and to live within their means during the Deepavali celebration.

Cash vs credit

Only buy things using cash to avoid being financially burdened post-festive season. This way you will be able to limit your purchases while sticking to the budget prepared. If you are making a credit card purchase, ensure that you will be able to pay for it in full so the arrears do not accumulate interest.

Make travelling plans in advance

Plan your 'balik kampung' trip in advance. If you are driving home, ensure that you send your vehicle for a thorough service before the trip. Should you choose to travel by bus, ensure that you have purchased your bus tickets in advance to avoid paying a hefty price for a ticket and to avoid disappointments in case the tickets are all sold out due to the increased demand.

If you are flying home, then look for promotions in airline companies in advance. Where possible, travel with budget airlines to get value for money and when tickets are purchased ahead of travel date, the price is lower than normal prices.

Allocate for current monthly expenditure and pay your bills before the festive season

Ensure that you have allocated a portion of your salary to pay your current monthly expenditure and that all your monthly commitments have been paid off. The allocated funds should not be mixed with the funds you intend to spend shopping in preparation for the celebration and the funds you intend to spend during Deepavali. By allocating this money, you will not be in a financially tight spot after Deepavali.

Do not forget to save

Though additional expenses are expected during festive seasons, one must not neglect to put savings aside. It is recommended that we put aside at least 10% of our monthly income as savings for a rainy day, festive months should be no exceptions.

Festive seasons are an annual celebration and therefore give us plenty of time to save in advance for the festivity. This habit will give you a peace of mind when the celebration arrives as you have already allocated additional funds (saved over a period) and the expenses will not throw you off-budget.

Remember, the only essential must have for Deepavali is family, there is no celebration without your loved ones around you to make the day grander.

AKPK would like to take this opportunity to wish Happy Deepavali to all our Hindu friends and hope this celebration will be filled with many pleasant memories for all Malaysians.

Make Prudent Financial Management A Way of Life - AKPK

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