FINALLY! After two years of living in lockdown and celebrating Raya separately by following standard operating procedures (SOPs) to combat COVID-19, things have returned to normal. The excitement will undoubtedly manifest when you can reunite with family, relatives, friends, and others and what is more exciting is that we celebrate Raya earlier than expected and become Raya Terkejut.
However, one of the most important things to consider during the celebration is the cash flow of your money. If you don't manage your money well, you might be able to spend more than you planned. For everyone's benefit, here are some money-saving ways for the Raya celebration that you can practice.
1. Setting, Tracking, and Maintaining a Budget
Yes, it may sound cliche, but it is crucial. When we look at it closely, there is a lot to list. Budget for food, baju Raya, duit Raya, and other items as part of your Hari Raya preparations.
After almost two years of living in lockdown, many of us are looking forward to celebrating Raya in bigger and better ways this year. Therefore, having a budget outline may help you to save money on certain expenses, such as transportation. With this budget outline, you'll be able to see the big picture and feel more at ease when shopping later.
2. Plan Balik Kampung Travel
Balik Kampung is always something everyone looks forward to especially after the two years of Air Mata Syawal. However, it is expected that Malaysian traffic is something not to be joked with. Hence, to ensure the smoothness of the journey it is advised to plan your trip wisely.
If you’re going by bus or flight, ensure that you have purchased your tickets in advance with a good deal if you can to avoid disappointments. If you’re driving, send your vehicle for service before the trip so that it doesn't give up on you mid-way and leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere! Or you can carpool with your friends or relatives that are going to the same destination as yours.
3. Focus True Meaning of Raya
Now that you have a budget, what do you need to keep in mind when spending? Social media and peer pressure can lead you to believe that you should spend more money than you need this Raya season.
Have you seen a lot of relatives pose in well-known designer custom baju Raya? Or do you have a friend who is purchasing a brand-new living room set in order to entertain during the Hari Raya?
If this type of spending exceeds your budget, don't feel obligated to follow trends. You can always use online shopping apps to find matching baju Raya sets on sale, or buy one or two stand-out items to help your home look festive for the season.
As we all know, Raya is a time to celebrate our victory from Ramadhan and to spend quality time with our loved ones. It’s also an opportunity for us to express gratitude towards the things that we have now. But, too often we focus on the ‘external factors’ – buying new clothes or accessories, making expensive meals and organizing lavish gatherings. While these things may be important in their own way, they can lure us away from the real meaning of Raya – where true happiness can be found. To enhance your Raya celebration, let’s begin preparing early so that we can focus more on the spiritual rather than the material matters.
Don't let Raya's financial stress cause you anxiety and prevent you from fully enjoying the holiday. You can have a great Raya while spending a lot less than you normally would if you do some research, early preparation, and DIY solutions.
Start planning now and you'll thank yourself later.