Covid-19 has hurt Malaysians in more ways than one. With our health still at stake, the pandemic has also turned the economy on its head, causing many to either lose their jobs or take pay cuts. Many small and medium businesses have also either had to downsize or close shop for good.
However, Hari Raya is just around the corner, and despite the gloom, your family is excited about celebrating the coming festive season in some way or another.
But rather than spend enormous amounts of money when times are tough, how about making this year different by trimming the budget with some savvy tips and a little effort.
1. Set, track, and maintain a budget
Setting a budget is a good way to keep your expenses down. You can keep track of your spending by manually writing down your expenses, or with electronic tools like Money Manager.
Maintaining an up-to-date budget keeps you on your toes so you know when you’re overspending. Extra credit if you set separate sub-budgets for different categories of items you intend to spend on.
People seem more than willing to pay for convenience. Pay for someone to cut and sew their clothes, pay for someone to cook and clean.
The question you should ask is which of these things are worth buying ready-made – so you can use the time and energy used to make it to do something else that gives better returns – and which are not?
Depending on your skills, interests, available time and the satisfaction you gain from doing things yourself, here are some DIY options to help trim your budget.
Note: Instructions and recipes can easily be found on Google.
- Bake your own Raya cookies.
- Design and make your own money packets.
- Weave your own “sarung ketupat” instead of buying ready-made ones.
- Sew your own “baju raya”.
- Freshen up old outfits with new accessories.
- Polish old shoes to look like new again.
- Make your own decorative items, such as weaving “ketupat” with colourful ribbons.
- Paint your home yourself.
3. Shop smart
- Download apps that compare the prices of items between leading supermarket chains.
- Do most of your shopping in one or just a select few locations if the prices are good; saves time, petrol, parking charges and the effort of travelling between locations.
- Shop for non-perishable items as early as possible, whenever they are on sale.
- Do you really need the expensive version of an item? Or can you make do with the budget store brand?
- Do you really need to buy a certain item brand new? Or can you make do with a preloved one?
- Just because it’s cheap does not mean you have to buy it. Do you really need it?
Hari Raya can still be special even if you’re on a budget because it’s not about the money as much as it is about family. Selamat Hari Raya, everyone.