Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Spend Smart during Hari Raya

For every festive season such as hari raya, I always worries financially. I have a mindset that a lot of money will be spent during hari raya. I guess living in a society and environment where people tend to throw away their money for the sake of celebrating holidays, tend to set my mind to follow.

This year hari raya is particularly special because this is the first hari raya that I am very much embedded with my microfinancing budget practice. Worring that I might overspend during this time, I set up a special budget for hari raya at the start up of Ramadan which 1 month ahead.

I set a budget of $400 for any hari raya expenditure. Looking at my current money flow, this $400 is something that I will be able to manage and will not be burdening me after hari raya.

Extra money for hari raya
My first spending is to join an affiliate that makes money for selling e-book. This is not really within my plan, but the affiliate scheme is so interesting since it is a quick way to make some money within the month of Ramadan. It only take me less than 15% of my hari raya budget, so it is something that I believe to be manageable. Joining the affiliate and proceed to promote the business through my blog and online advertisement was my activity during the 1 month countdown before hari raya.

I do not expect much on this extra money business. But, I managed to get $50 out of the 1 month business. Since I do not expect the money, I end up took the extra money and give it away at the mosque during the raya prayer.

Home make-over
A lot of people would spend buying new furniture, new curtain, new carpet and so on for their home. I think people believe that since they got visitors that come by their house once a year during hari raya, they will noticed that old furniture from last year hari raya. I find it strange that people have high tendency of thinking that people come to visit them to comment about their house and that old furniture they are still keeping.

I do not see why I should be spending hack of money just to impress others. It is my money, so why should I use it to care about other people view of my home. Of course, I like to have a new outlook of my house that look refreshed and clean so that my visitors will feel most comfortable. Arming myself with the idea that I can change the outlook of my home without spending a dime, I start to clean up 2 weeks before hari raya.

Things that I did to have a refreshing outlook in house:
  • Re-arrange furniture to give an impression of something in my house was changed.
  • Shift around the furniture to give more empty space. This will give an impression that my room is larger that it actually is.
  • Wipe up any surface squeaky clean from dust. Since my furniture consists a lot of chrome and glass, having a dust-clean environment give it a very shiny outlook.
  • Wash curtains and cushion cover. I also rotate the curtain between rooms so that each room seems to have a change on the curtain color.
  • Re-arrange all the small ornament on cabinet top.
  • Vacuum all over the house. Not to forget to clean the ceiling fan (the fan tend to attract dust the most) and spider web on the ceiling.
  • Polish all windows.
  • Mop all over my mosaic floor.
  • Change air freshener to the latest aromatherapy one (this is the only thing that I actually have to spend money on)

It took me 1 week to get the whole thing done. I guess that is the period for 1 lazy person to actually have their house clean like mine. Hehe. Then, on the last week of hari raya, I give the floor another quick vacuum and mop, for the final buff. After I am done, fully satisfied with the fresh outlook and the money that I manage to avoid from using to get that fresh look.

Self make-over
Everybody also like to give themselves a new look. I think if we can strip our skin off and change to new one, we might do so during festive seasons. During previous years, preparing for hari raya means spending time in spa and saloon for facial, hair treatment, hair coloring or highlight and hair straightening. Also, I will be going shopping for new clothes, new baju kurung and new shoes. I tend to even shop for 1 set of clothing for 1st day of raya, another set for 2nd day of raya and another whole set for 3rd day of raya. Kinda funny to think that I would spend all those money just to look good when actually during hari raya, everybody tend to look their best but no one cares how others is actually look like.

I like to join the race with everybody else to look their best during hari raya. But I do not want to spend on clothing. So, I took out all my baju melayu from the past years. I tried to combine the outlook of different color on the baju melayu with different set of old samping. Then, I try to find the size that compliments my body size the best. Since my body tends to grow and shrink by years, some of the clothes are too big or too small. I finally chose 2 set of baju melayu with samping that can make me look good for the 1st day and 2nd day of raya.

I also took out my wardbrobe for my casual clothes during hari raya. To give the clothes a new look, I combined them with different pants, top in jackets, combine shirts with sleeveless, body fit clothes and some fresh white color with darker winter color. I tried all combination on myself and determine which style to wear during different day of hari raya. I also prepare some extra clothing just in case I spilled myself with rendang during making myself full with hari raya meal.

I also make my own facial. Wearing mask, face treatment, tweaking brows and face whitening well early during Ramadan. Repairing your skin is not something that can be done one night before raya. I started early so that my face look renewed during raya. Best still, everything was done at home, no need to spend on expensive spa care.

I also cut short my hair at Indian barber for only $7. Then, 1 week before raya, I tried to create new hair do at home that I can do anytime during raya. That means, to work it only with wax and gel, no hair dryer or comb. Strangely, after a few try, I managed to do spike hair (something that I never manage to do before from my wavy curly hair), giving me even a new look that never seen before.

Kuih raya
My whole spending of kuih raya was less than $100. I tend to grab a lot of keropok, tits-bits, rempeyek, tumpi, kerepek and kacang which normally cheaper but in bigger volume. Top up with a little variety of color and taste of kuih raya. Once put them into its container, I managed go fill up my tables with variety of kuih raya with a minimum spending.

Car and transportation
Another spending that I put in for hari raya preparation is on my car. Spend only $7 for a full car wash. Normally I tend to wash my cash myself, but since it is only $7, I got a team of cash washer to do it for me.

Luckily that my car maintenance is still not due for 2000km, so I do not have to spend anything on the maintenance. But if it is due, car maintenance is something that I will not think twice to spend money on, since it is for my own safety.

Even though I did not have to send my car for maintenance, the basic checklist still was done. That is including inflating my tire to the correct pressure, check my oil engine and check the coolant level. These simple checks can be done ourselves at home.

I also get myself ready with $50 value of Touch n Go so that during the hectic traffic of hari raya, I do not have wait too long queue to pay the toll. Furthermore, since the Touch n Go value can be use during any other time, the money spend there is not lost after hari raya.

Duit Raya
Duit raya is consider sedekah or charity. But some people tend to purposely put extra money for duit raya because they do not want other to think that they are a cheap person for giving a small amount of duit raya.

Since it is sedekah, any amount is alright. Give away duit raya for charity instead of for showing off. My duit raya give away budget is only around $250. I even calculated up front how much money to give those people I have plan to give duit raya. Having a budget, at least, it helps us not to over spend on duit raya. Even though it is good to give others duit raya, try not to overdo it until it burden your own budget.

So, those are my actual personal experiences during this 2009 hari raya. I started to work during on the 4th of hari raya but I am very much satisfied during the month of Ramadan and the 3 days of hari raya celebration which I manage to celebrate the festive season and at the same time, keep it within my own set budget.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all Muslim a Selamat Hari Raya, Maaf Zahir Batin. Wish that everyone is safe and enjoying themselves during this festive season

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