Eight money tips to be more prosperous during this Chinese New Year!
Chinese New Year is just around the corner. Many Chinese families have started preparations to welcome the new lunar year. Many things need to be done including shopping for new clothes, cleaning and decorating the house, buying goodies, mandarin oranges, food and drinks, getting new notes for angpows, and preparing for the reunion dinner. All these do require spending and can add up to be quite substantial. As with other endeavors, it is prudent to plan and not stress over. Here are money tips to help you prepare for your celebration.
1. CNY Budget
List out all the things that you need to do or buy, and set an estimated monetary value on it. Differentiate between must-haves, nice-to-haves, and extravagant no-need-to-haves. This helps you to know what and where to focus your time and money on. Depending on your budget, you may go through several drafts before your finalized budget. Feel free to amend your budget as you go along or if a friend or relative gives you something that you need!
2. CNY Deco
You can re-use decorative items that you’re only using once a year. Buy a few new nice decorative items and mix them with existing decorative items while replacing worn out or damaged items. Angpau packets and other affordable/recycled items can be made into decorative items. You can turn to youtube for video guides on making fans, lanterns, koi fish and more! You can also sponsor angpau packets to your creative friends who can make decorative items for you too. Be creative!
3. Reunion Dinner
Having your reunion dinner at home helps you draw the family closer together preparation and enjoying it in a relaxed and private atmosphere, and gives you much more value! Eating out for a reunion dinner is overpriced. You can get so much more value eating at home and don’t have to worry about being chased off after 2 hours when the next group of guests are to occupy your table in the restaurant. The traditional reunion dinner steamboat (or hot pot) is a good option where you can get a variety of dishes at an affordable price. Feel free to mix and match too with the best culinary dishes cooked by different family members to make the reunion dinner a feast to remember!
3A. CNY Goodies
The price of CNY cookies are increasingly year after year. It can cost you from RM25 to RM50 just for a single red container! Plan ahead to buy in bulk for a discount and share between friends. Consider baking and exchanging CNY bakes with friends, buying from friends which is cheaper and better, or buying from the ‘pasar malam’ which is still cheaper than from the mall.
5. CNY S.A.L.E.S.!
Discounts are often huge for CNY apparel sales. Shop for yourself and your whole family during CNY sales. Consider buying clothes that will be suitable for the rest of the year too, even if you are not celebrating CNY. Online stores are an option to explore as well for more outrageous bargains especially with credit card discounts.
6. Spring Cleaning
As you clean up and spruce your home, take the opportunity to sell or give away items in good condition that you have not used in the last 12 months. Selling online (e.g. Mudah.com) or pre-loved goods shops are a good place to un-clutter your home and make some money.
7. Fireworks and Gambling
Both fireworks and gambling, although somewhat culturally relevant, is basically money literally going up in smoke. If you really must spend on gambling or fireworks, spend only what you can afford to lose. Don’t go into debt on Chinese New Year! Harmless fireworks can be fun for children to play with. But do be aware that fireworks with explosives are illegal in Malaysia for which you risk being fined or imprisoned. If you really must, do submit an application to get permission or license to ignite fireworks.
8. Angpau Packets and Giving
Take advantage of the free angpau packets being given out in malls, banks, etc. You really don’t need to buy fancy expensive angpau packets do you for something which most recipients are going to throw into a bin soon after receiving them. Plan out your angpow budget especially for parents and family members. Prepare smaller angpaus for random children of friends of friends. The unspoken smallest amount today is around RM5. But it is your choice to make on who to give and the amount to give.
We hope you enjoyed out eight prosperous Chinese New Year money tips. Feel free to share any great tips you have!
Gong Xi Fa Cai!
He has 25 years working experience in different finance-related jobs. He is now a consultant, and personal finance and business writer. His main goal is to help and educate non-finance professionals to understand and solve their personal finances problems. He believes everyone should be financially literate because everything we do has money implications!
Eric currently resides in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with his wife and two young children.