Having missed out on a full Raya experience for two years, it can be tempting to go all out with your Raya celebrations this year. With open houses to plan for and festive sales everywhere, you can easily get carried away with overspending.
Before you go full speed ahead into preparations, here are 12 tips to save money this Raya so you can enjoy all the festivities without breaking the bank.
Remember to save first
It is expected to have additional expenses during festive periods but that doesn’t mean you should forget about your savings. Before spending a single cent, save at least 20% of your monthly income for your future.Not only will you enjoy a worry-free celebration, you’ll also have more savings from the compound interest earned. Good right?!
What’s even better? Save in advance for the festive season! Create a ‘Celebrations’ sinking fund at least 6 months before the event. Set a savings target for every key occassion and put aside funds marked for those occasions each month.
Example: Let’s say your monthly salary is RM5,000, save 20%, that’s RM1,000.
Set aside 20% of your savings into your ‘Celebrations’ sinking fund, that’s RM200 per month (RM1000 x 20%). At the end of 6 months, you’ll have RM1,200 saved for celebrations. Party!
Here are a few good sinking fund calculators you can check out:
Settle all monthly expenditure and bills before celebrating
Kaching! Salary is in. Make sure you allocate a portion of your paycheck for all of your monthly expenses and pay off your monthly commitments before celebrating. These funds should only cover your everyday living expenses and not mix with the Raya budget. Having your house in order will bring relief so you will not be scrimping after Hari Raya.
Prepare a budget
With your finances in order, it’s easier to plan your spending and know how much you can set aside for additional celebration expenses. Much like a normal budget, create a special budget for Raya expenses and split it into the following categories:
- Duit Raya
- Raya Food (Catering / Kuih)
- New Clothes
- Gifts / Hampers
Set realistic limits for each category and add in contingencies for any unexpected expenses. We recommend the envelope budgeting method and set a spending limit for each category, this will help you stay on track.
Create a shopping list
Now you’ve set budget, it’s time to create a shopping list for each category. Prepare a realistic list of all the items you need and stick to it. It is easy to be swayed by attractive marketing tactics but don’t let your impulses take over. Use your list as a compass to stay focus on what you ‘need’ to prevent overspending.
Scan social media, websites & apps for deals
With a clear list in place, you can now start shopping! Scan social media, websites and apps to compare prices. You can log the offers, prices and shop details into your budget sheet to keep track of the best deals.
It can be hard to resist the flash sales, free delivery and RM1 deals, when tempted refer to your list to help you stay on track. The RM1 deals can come in handy though when buying snacks for your open house.
Bulk buying is also a good way to save money this Raya. If you won’t use all items, you could split the purchase with your relative who needs supplies for their celebrations.
iPrice compares products from leading online retailers such as Lazada, Shopee, Zalora, Watsons, AirAsia, Agoda and Klook. They also have a dedicated Ramadan & Raya Vouchers page to make searching faster for you.
If you like extra savings and plan to do most of your shopping online, you can earn cashback rewards from your purchases with Shopback. This is an additional perk that you can enjoy.
And for discounted beauty treatments or hotel bookings, Fave is great site/app that offers fantastic deals such as a hotel stay for just RM1! Ensure you always read the fine print as they sometimes have ‘black out’ periods close to festive seasons.
Select the best payment method
Cash, eWallets, debit and credit cards all have great payment offers, but this means extra research time is needed to maximise on savings.
When it comes to sticking to your budget, we find paying in cash is best to prevent overspending. Physically seeing your Ringgits lessen helps with budget management versus the convenience of swiping or tapping.
However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take advantage of great card & e-Wallet deals. If you want to ‘earn points’ from your credit card, ensure it is paid in full as soon as possible to avoid the whopping 18% interest charged.
If you want to earn points from eWallets, we recommend topping up your account with a fixed amount for Raya spending, but that means holding off from other purchases like your food delivery orders. If you can tahan no food orders for awhile, then this can work too.
The latest Buy Now Pay Later offerings can seem appealing but this can be extremely dangerous. According to a recent article by the News Straits Times, BNPL is unregulated, charges fees if you can’t pay the credit, which may cost more than a credit card, all leading to more debt.
Additionally, once you have activated BNPL in your eWallet, you can NOT switch it off. After speaking with an eWallet Customer support team, I was told that I couldn’t delete the BNPL option after activation but could try to reduce my limit. After emailing them to reduce the limit, I was then informed the limit ‘cannot be reduced’ either.
Our advice.. if you cannot control your shopping urges, think carefully before activating Buy Now Pay Later!
Rewear, recycle, and rearrange
When it comes to decorating or styling this Raya, you can easily trim your budget and prevent waste by:
Rewearing your Raya clothes
Reinvent new looks by mixing and matching your sampin, baju Melayu, songkok, head scarves, tops and skirts. Give your outfit a new look by adding details like beading, feathers or lace, or take it for alterations. You could also get new accessories like a brooch which is much cheaper than buying a new look.
Reviving your home for the Raya celebrations doesn’t have to cost a lot. Pinterest and YouTube are great places of inspiration. Repurpose old sampul Raya and cards to make beautiful origami decorations. Make sure you have a good stationery kit of coloured paper, scissors, staplers, glue and string as well.
This is also a great family activity. Not only do you get to spend time together setting up the house, you also save time and money.
Rearrange your furniture
Changing the placement of your furniture can make your home feel different without any cost. Focus on the living room as this will be the biggest room for everyone to gather. Change the main focal point away from the TV to a better set-up for entertaining and conversations. You can also switch positions of artwork to give it a fresh feel.
You can also try swapping items with family, friends or even on Facebook groups to save money this Raya. Here is a list of Facebook Groups that for decorations and clothes swapping:
Get crafty with hampers
Pre-made hampers can be very costly and don’t always guarantee great value. Get crafty and DIY your hampers! This is a great personal touch that your friends and family will enjoy.
Customising your hampers with items bought in bulk can save you a lot. Lazada & Shopee hamper and RM1 deals are a great place to find hamper fillers and decorations. Research and list all the items needed for your DIY hamper e.g food, box, ribbon, wrapping sheets, to calculate the total cost per hamper. This requires some effort and will help you assess if your selections are the most cost effective option for you.
If you are a great cook, you could give your specialty homemade sambal or kuih. This will need more time for preparation but will definitely be a labour of love.
Make travelling plans in advance
Balik kampung can eat up a big part of your budget. To minimise cost and stress, we recommend preparing and leaving early for your balik kampung journey.
Servicing your car before your big trip will help prevent any unnecessary hiccups along the highway. Ensure your oil is changed, wipers and lights are working, windscreen water is refilled and tyres are all pumped. This can save you from expensive tow truck services and the stress of waiting on a busy highway.
When refuelling or topping up your Touch ‘n Go card or RFID tag, take advantage of cashback and reward points with the right cards and eWallets.
To save on fuel, consider leaving a few days before during off-peak hours to skip the festive jams. And for a fuel-efficient journey, avoid overpacking to reduce the weight of your car.
When purchasing flight, bus or train tickets, buy in advance to enjoy cheaper rates. Compare prices easily with sites like Skyscanner or Google Flights and even create alerts to notify when prices are affordable.
Make a plan for duit raya gifting
When it comes to duit raya, there isn’t a hard and fast guidebook to follow. As a general rule, most people decide on how much to give based on how close they are to the receiver.
According to a poll from Cilisos, the majority of voters normally give an average of RM10 or RM5.
Set aside a realistic budget for duit raya gifting and list all the recipients into 4 categories:
- Immediate family members
RM100 for your parents and RM50 for your siblings.
- Relatives who you are close to and speak with often
RM10 – RM20
- Relatives who you only see once a year
- Yang lain-lain including children who attend your open house, children in your neighbourhood
Depending on how much you can spare
- Immediate family members
Giving should not be a source of financial stress. Ultimately, it is the symbolic gesture that counts. As we are still feeling the financial effects of the pandemic, many will still understand that we’re all giving within our means.
It is important to always be grateful for what we have and one way we can show gratitude is by giving back to society.
Plan for your donations by firstly deciding if you want to donate items, food or cash, then set your donation amount. Apps and websites have now made it easy to contribute your sedekah from the comfort of your home. Our friends at Global Sadaqah, a great zakat management and charity crowdfunding platform, always have great initiatives you can support.
Did you know you can contribute directly to Global Sadaqah from the HelloGold app? Select your chosen campaign and just transfer your donation amount from your HelloGold account to firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s super easy!
Avoid taking cash advances from employer
During festive periods, some employers may offer bonuses or salary in advance of the usual pay date. Be mindful of this, as some of these advances and bonuses are actually deducted from your future monthly salary. Sneaky right?
Stick to your allocated budget based on the money you have already saved from your normal income. Don’t compromise your financial future by spending this extra cash.
We believe you can enjoy the full Raya experience without skimping on tradition. To save money this Raya, prepare early, do more research, be a savvy frugal shopper and stick to your budget! This will let you enjoy it all the celebrations with peace of mind!