- Published on Friday, 04 July 2014 08:35
As we embrace the holy month of Ramadhan, we couldn't help but feel very excited for the Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration that will be coming right after the fasting month.
This is the time where many of us are busy preparing for the festive season and buying things to prepare for the family reunions.
Yes, a new Baju Melayu or Baju Kurung is nice to wear for the special occasion, but a new living room furniture or car for Raya can be a little over-the-top.
Of course, everyone will be worried financially as many would expect themselves to fork out plenty of money to spend for the Hari Raya especially when it is a norm for shopping malls and retail stores to offer mid-year sales taking advantage of the festive occasion.
These are temptations indeed. If so, how do we avoid ourselves from overspending?
Spend smart for Raya
“Always look out for the easiest joy in life,” said entrepreneur, professional trainer and financial coach, Nazril Idrus.
Fondly known as Nash, he said that Malaysians overall are not prone to be extremely lavish when it comes to Raya shopping as most shoppers are still prudent when it comes to spending.
“There is no right or wrong whether to do your Raya shopping months early or near the day itself,” he said.
“Raya tends to focus more on their children in every family as it is pretty normal like every other festive occasions like Chinese New Year, Deepavali and Christmas, as long there is an allocation for spending for that chosen occasion alone,” said the founder of LVG Consultants.
He said that people should be wiser when it comes to spending, as a proportion of the budget will be used for food and catering services.
For instances, Raya is not just an occasion with family and friends as it can be a networking event too with working colleagues and future clients gathering together during Hari Raya.
“I personally don’t buy things in full price as everything that we buy is always inflated. For instances, a premium coffee would cost us approximately RM 15 but it probably cost them (the retailers) less than RM 10,” said Nash.
Among of the tips he offered on how to be a smart shopper during festive season is the one where one should look out for cheaper alternatives like buying in bulk and scout for places that are cheaper for Raya preparations.
Look for the value over the price of the item when you go shopping. He said the value must be higher than the price that you’re about to pay for.
“Say that you’re about to buy new clothes; is the value of your new shirt worth the price that you’re going to pay? There’re always possibilities to buy things that are much closer to the value,” he said. Being prudent, of course, pays.
You can save a lot too when you spend during seasonal sales especially on household items like going to places like Daiso, a Japanese based franchise store that have high value and great quality goods for cheaper price.
“Always question yourself, why would you need this? What’s the budget for this? Of course, it can be tough when you have a budget,” he said, adding that one would be stressed in juggling the finance and deciding what is the best value compared to the cost for that once-in-a-year occasion.
Does everything must be new for Raya?
Some people would go to the extent of buying a lot of brand new clothes and tons of food for Raya celebration but is there a need to spend lavishly?
For Haryati Nasution, 31, an IT officer, she allocates about RM 4000 on her family’s Raya spending, of which a part is reserved for ‘duit raya’ for her family members and kids.
“I spend about RM1500 on baju raya, inclusive of me, my husband and our two daughters. Another RM1500 is for our travelling and accommodation cost when we go for our ‘balik kampung’ trip,” she said.
Haryati said that she prefers all-new clothes for her children and likes to shop before the start of Ramadan and a week before on her Raya preparations. She cited GM Klang and Kenanga Wholesale City as the places to shop in bulks.
“Always plan your budget first and know where to find quality items for good price,” she said.
Even though it is a once-in-a-year celebration, being modest is simply the best for Aidilfitri. Not only it reflects your humble outlook in life; there is the rest of the year and lifetime to think about when it comes to spending and saving.
The Importance of Checklist
A checklist is what needed when it comes to keeping an eye on our spending habit. It has always been the common advice given by our parents, elders, teachers and some wise acquaintances.
“Checklist is important. What’s in your head will not be concrete until you write it down,” said Nash.
“It’s important for people who want to accomplish things; the act of writing the list down makes you visually remember it. Once you finish ‘ticking’ your checklist, it’s like winning because you have accomplished it!”
Al-Fanan Zainal Abidin, 28, a wedding planner, said he would have a shopping list to see what are the things that were left out last year and things needed for this year to avoid overspending.
Yearly, he would spend around RM 3000 to RM 4000 for baju raya, duit raya and delicacies for Raya.
“It may be a lot but I spend my Raya shopping for my parents and siblings more than than for myself. It’s not necessary to have a new ‘baju Melayu’ every year, as I prefer to shop on daily wear since it’s a good bargain during the festive sale,” he told mD.
Cash vs. Credit Card
Most Malaysian’s working adults would definitely have credit card(s) stashed away in their respective wallets or purses, but it’s best to use cash during your Raya spree to avoid post-holiday burden.
“One good thing about using credit card is utilising the accumulated points from those payments that you made. Always ensure that you’ll be able to pay it back afterwards,” said Nash.
Common wisdom is, it is best to use your hard-earned money for important stuffs rather than being ended up like Rebecca Bloomwood, the fictional character from the hit book-turn-film series, “Confessions of a Shopaholic” .
The 5 Jars of Financial Accounts
As the director and lead trainer for Explosive Minds Asia, a training company that aids in business and entrepreneurs development, Nash coaches people the ‘MoneySifu’s Money Management System’ where one should have five jars of financial accounts; a ‘Peace’ account, ‘Basic’ account, ‘Play’ account, ‘Give’ account’ and an ‘Education’ account.
“The allocation that one should do is put 20% of your earning on the ‘Peace’ account, 50% on the basic account while 10% each for the rest of the remaining accounts,” said the financial trainer.
Nash said that the 20% that is being put in the ‘peace’ account would later be divided into two; a ‘Sleep In Peace’ account, where the money will be keep for life threatening or unexpected situations in our daily lives like household damage for instances.
The rest of the ‘Peace’ account savings should be keep in the ‘Retire In Peace’ account, where Nash advise people not to use it as it is meant for future retirement purposes.
The ‘Basic’ account is for monthly expenses like household bills, car loans, rental and other living expenses.
“Leisure is also part of our living cost, so spending up to 10% for entertainment purposes should be sufficient enough. The ‘Give’ account is for you to give to your parents monthly or to other charitable purposes,” explained Nash.
As part of the Raya tradition, the ‘Give’ account also contributes to giving out ‘duit raya’ to your family members and children, as well as paying your ‘zakat’ (a charitable practice to be distributed to the poor).
Nash further explained the purpose of the ‘Education’ account from the five jars of financial accounts.
“This jar is basically for you to learn something new in life as many of us do not spend much on books or other learning materials such as going to seminars or training, so it is good to invest on things that will benefit you,”
“At the end, do not lavish yourself on things and overspending no matter during festive season or your monthly expenses,” said the doting father of twin daughters.
Have an economical Raya
In just less than three weeks left, we would celebrate Aidilfitri, even if it’s just once a year, there’s always a way to allocate your budgets and have a stylish, yet economical Raya celebration.
At the end of the day, your new ‘baju raya’ or ‘furnitures’ would be of no value, if you do not spend your time with your family members, may it be your parents, siblings or in-laws. Without them there is no celebration.
Selamat Hari Raya, Maaf Zahir dan Batin from Malaysian Digest!