Who doesn’t love Raya?
After fasting for 30 days in the month of Ramadhan, we look forward to celebrating Hari Raya Aidilfitri in Syawal. People joke about having a thin wallet after Raya because like any other celebrations, there are many expenses taking place during this time of the year; Raya outfits, duit Raya (Malay version of Ang Pao), travelling cost back to our hometowns, open houses as well as the most crucial thing – food.
What is Hari Raya without a sumptuous spread after a long month of fasting?
If we think about this, it is somehow ironic to suffer financially for the sake of celebrating the holy days with our loved ones. In this article, we will share with you four ways to keep your wallet healthy without breaking the bank.
1. Saving Ahead
Treat Raya expenses like how you would expect to service your car. Have it marked on your calendar annually and be aware that you need to budget some of your expenses for it. Save up an amount every month throughout the year or at least, three months before Raya so that you don’t have to dig deep into your pockets on Syawal itself.
The other way you could go about it is to prepare different aspects of Raya a few months in advanced. For example, if Raya falls in June, you can buy your Raya outfits in April, a new set of curtains in May and get the new buffet sets in June.
Spread your expenses over a period of time so you won’t feel the pinch as much when the Holy month draws near.
2. Envelope Budgeting
Now, this is for those who have trouble splurging and overspending.
Allocate a specific budget and stick to it. Use envelope budgeting for Raya expenses so that you won’t overspend. Put real cash in the envelope for every category and avoid using the credit card if possible. Psychologically, it pains us more when we spend cold hard cash as opposed to swiping our cards without forking out a single cent upfront.
When the money in the envelope is not enough for one category; for example, if you’ve allocated RM 250 for Raya outfits and RM 150 for cookies, but you’ve accidentally spent RM 200 on cookies, then you’ll have to sacrifice by having a cheaper Raya outfit at RM 200.
Stick to the budget you’ve set and never spend money you don’t have or can’t afford to repay at the end of the month. Read our article on retiring early to know more about curbing impulse buying.
3. Plan Balik Kampung Travel
One of the most significant cost for Raya is travelling. Either flight tickets, trains and buses or fuel for your car, you will certainly spend more than how much you would spend in a typical week.
Apply for earlier leave (few days before Raya) so that you could book the earlier tickets which are usually cheaper. Setting the date and knowing exactly when to travel can also help you save money if you can buy the tickets (especially flight tickets) a few months before.
If you’re driving, you can opt to carpool with your relatives and siblings from the same city. As traffic jams use up your fuel, travelling at a non-peak time, i.e. a few days earlier or early morning before dawn can help you avoid the slow traffic. The key is to predict when other people are most likely to be on the roads and then avoid the likelihood of being stuck with them.
4. Focus on the Meaning of Raya
Many people get carried away with Raya spending because they felt the need to conform to society’s standards of celebrating the festive season.
It is that time of the year when people display their best outfits and open up their living space to their families and friends. Therefore, it is understandable that we have the pressure to buy the fanciest clothes and feel the need to repaint their house and change the colour of their couch.
However, if we focus on the real meaning of Raya, which is to celebrate our victory from Ramadhan and to spend quality time with our loved ones, we will care less on the ‘external’ factors.
That way, we can save a lot of resource; time, money and energy from buying things just to impress those around us.
These are the four ways to save money during the Raya season. With the right mindset and a sound strategy, you don’t have to break the bank to celebrate a joyful Raya this year. The most important thing is to stick with the plan and your wallet can stay fat and healthy after the festive season.