Ramadan is here again and as this year is also the first time Malaysians are allowed to take part in activities without most of the COVID-19 restrictions, it may cause us to spend more than we intend to.
So, here are some simple tips to help you budget for the season.
- Plan your spending in advance
In a Google survey among Muslim-majority countries, 83% of families changed their food consumption habits during Ramadan (food bills up by 50-100%)1. With statistics showing that Malaysians also plan to shop mostly on clothes and household items this year2, planning our spending will be helpful to avoid overspending.
Here’s how you can do it:
- Make a list of what you plan to spend on (based on your wants and needs) and how much you can afford to set aside.
- Review your list to see if there is any spending you can cut down on.
- Keep track of your expenses every week to make sure you’re staying on track with your budget.
If you ever go over budget, look for other ways you can cut down on spending so that you can stick to your monthly budget. You can use our example below to help you start:
Need help? Use our monthly budget calculator
Now that you have a budget, what do you need to keep in mind when spending?
- Don’t compete with others (social pressure)
Social media and peer pressure can make you feel like you should spend more than you need to this season.
If this kind of spending is over your budget, don’t feel pressured to follow trends.
- You can always search online shopping apps for matching baju Raya sets on sale or
- Buy one or two stand-out items to help your house look fresh for the season.
There are many ways you and your family can still usher in Hari Raya with joy.
- Don’t take loans or use your savings
Just to keep up with Raya spending, some may find other ways to boost their celebration expenses without thinking of the consequences. Avoid:
- Applying for the EPF Special Withdrawal unnecessarily
- Maxing out your credit card spend or
- Taking loans from family and friends
You must remember, it is not worth facing bigger problems in the longer term for short-term (celebrations) gain.
- High interest payments/debts,
- Low retirement or short-term savings
- Estranged relationships
Always keep in mind the budget you have. Spending quality time with family and friends does not depend on how much you are able to spend for the season.
- Use the Ramadan and Raya promotions to your advantage
Retailers, restaurants and online shopping apps will usually offer deals during Ramadan ahead of the Hari Raya celebrations. Check various offers that can help you get more value out of your money.
E.g. Social Media notifications from your bank or favourite shops
- E-wallet/card promotions
- Special discounts and bundle offers
However, be careful about spending unnecessarily due to attractive promotions. We should not take on “debt” that we can’t afford.
- Read the terms and conditions of some promotions carefully, like Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) schemes.
- Avoid temptations by turning off notifications from the online apps
Be Ramadan and Raya-ready, without hurting your wallet.
We know that after almost two years of living in lockdown, many of us are looking forward to celebrating Ramadan and Raya in bigger and better ways this year. But always remember to keep track of your spending as getting in long term debt for short term gain isn’t worth it. Having a modest celebration does not take away from the joy of spending time with dear friends and family.
So, be sure to use our tips to help you keep your spending under control this season.
Multiply would also like to take this opportunity to wish our Muslim readers a blessed and joyous Ramadan!