Published on 14th Jan, 2016.
Updated on 3rd Jan, 2017.
You can tell that Chinese New Year is just around the corner when the shopping malls have put up their decorations and your colleagues are eagerly talking about going back to their hometowns. But did you know there are many ways to save money this Chinese New Year?
Travel smart during Chinese New Year
If you’re planning the long drive home for Chinese New Year, consider leaving a few days ahead of time or travelling during the off-peak hours. This can save you quite a fair amount of money, as you won’t be stuck in the ‘balik kampung’ traffic jams and your car won’t consume as much petrol. Also, don’t forget to keep an eye out for toll rebates when you’re out visiting friends over the holiday!
Buy your tickets in advance
Don’t want to drive back to your hometown? No worries, there’s always the option of taking a bus, train or flight back to see your loved ones. However, as it will be the peak period during Chinese New Year, it makes sense to book your travel arrangements well in advance! So don’t get caught napping and end up paying a bomb for last minute bookings!
Look out for dining deals
Many of the local restaurants will be taking advantage of the break and won’t be open for business. So instead of bringing your family to a fast food joint, try checking out sites like Groupon for special dining deals. It won’t necessarily be Chinese cuisine, but that doesn’t mean you should binge on junk food or eat unhealthy meals. You really don’t want to be putting on the ‘fat’ in ‘fatt’ over Chinese New Year.
Go easy on the snacks
Every year, you’ll see stores and stalls selling festive snacks and mandarin oranges everywhere you go. However with prices going up and a number of snacks you get going down, you may want to reconsider how much you spend. So set a fixed budget for your snacks, as your guests are there for the company, not the cuisine!
We’re not saying that you should completely go without these snacks, but why not consider stocking up on non-festive snacks as well? They’re just as tasty and more affordable. Don’t forget to bring a few mandarin oranges with you when visiting your friend’s homes as well!
Shop online (if you must)
New doesn’t necessarily mean better, especially if you’re going to be changing your entire wardrobe! So try to refrain from buying new clothes for Chinese New Year if you have outfits that are less than a year old. But if you still insist on getting a new outfit, check out sites like Lazada and Zalora for their Chinese New Year sales items. Don’t forget to check which days your bank’s credit card may get a special discount as well!
Make your own home decorations
There’s nothing quite like adding a personal touch to your home, so instead of buying fancy store-bought decorations that are thrown into storage to gather dust after the festivities, consider making your own! You can check out Pinterest boards for ideas on how to make beautiful Chinese New Year decorations for less or even free!
Manage your ‘ang pows’
This goes especially for our fellow Malaysians who are married and have to give red packets (ang pow) to their friends and family. Pay off all financial commitments and set aside your monthly savings first, even before you start counting how much you need for ang pow money. This will help keep your finances in check, so be realistic!
Ang pows are meant to be a symbolic gift for luck, so there’s no need to be competitive about who’s giving out more money for Chinese New Year. If necessary, you can have a rates card (we’re not kidding, people actually do this) to see who should get more or less, but stay within your budget.
If you plan on giving an ang pow to your friend’s children, ask the parents if they are comfortable with how much you’re giving their child. Don’t be that aunt or uncle that gives a child more money than they know what to do with and end up causing a scene when the parents have to take away the money. Instead, give the ang pow money directly to the parents and explain that it’s a gift for their child to start a savings plan.
Don’t push your luck when it comes to gambling
This one’s a bit tricky but rest assured we won’t be getting preachy about the legalities of gambling in Malaysia. However, we advise that you don’t get too carried away while playing cards with your friends and family over Chinese New Year. Keep the stakes low and friendly so you don’t end up losing all of your ang pow money (or friends and family).
On the other hand, some of you may be tempted to head up to Genting Highlands to test your Chinese New Year luck. As adults, you can make your own choices and we hope that you make the right decision for yourself. Please note that gambling addiction is a very serious problem, so please seek help if necessary. One snippet of wisdom we’d also like to share with you is this:
“If it was that easy to make money off gambling, all the casinos would be out of business. And that’s why the house always wins.”
That’s it for our list of tips to help you save money this Chinese New Year! If you want more of CompareHero.my’s financial tips and advice, be sure to check out the rest of our blog or sign up for our Newsletter here.
See also: The Best Junior Savings Account