The Broke Person’s Guide to Celebrating

This article was first published on Huffington Post

October is everyone’s favourite month, there are back-to-back festivals being celebrated all over the country. With those come long weekends, and holidays away from work. This is the time we plan to go home and visit the family, fly our parents down to visit us, or head out on a vacation. This is also the time when every brand worth its salt comes out with shopping festivals and ‘limited time festival offers’, that make us jump with glee and whip out our wallets because, hey, the deals seem too good to be missed.

What all of this means is that the festival season is also a season of plenty, plenty of expenses! Which is why, if you are not in the pink of financial health, you might dread October. Whether it is to travel home, buy gifts for everyone, take a vacation, or indulge in a little retail therapy yourself, everything costs money. Here are some easy tips, to help you celebrate the festival season without breaking the bank.

Cut costs, not corners

Not all the good stuff in life has to come at a big price. Think D-I-Y gifts for your family: handcraft a lamp (a string of fairy lights dropped into a clean, dry, label-free beer bottle makes for a beautiful present), you can grow herbs in pretty pots/mugs, or try your hand at paper crafts. There’s plenty of inspiration and tons of tutorials online. Your family will be delighted because you got them something that has more meaning than a mass-produce something bought off a sale.

There’s no festivity without partying, is there? But partying and dining out can be really expensive, especially when you’re going in a large group. The real fun, though, is not in where you go, but in what you do and who you do it with, so why not move the party home? Host a potluck or BYOB (bring your own booze) party, where everyone brings something. All you’ll spend is on snacks and nibbles, and it will be just as much fun as always.

Be smart with your money

Now, we did ask you to steer clear of consumerist temptations such as sales and discounts that can result in indiscriminate, impulsive shopping. However, if there is something you actually need to buy, there’s no better time to do so than the festival season. A lot of brands offer exchange programs that let you get rid of your old appliances and furniture, and get new ones at a heavy discount.

This is also true for other essential services like house cleaning and medical checkups. If there’s a good offer on something you will have to do anyway, better grab the opportunity and do it now. Also keep an eye out for offers on entertainment: movies released during festivals, music shows, plays… many online ticketing sites offer discounts at this time.

This is also a good time to get rid of all the old stuff lying around at home: the treadmill you got in 2012 when fitness was a life goal, the DSLR with four lenses from when you thought photography was your true calling, the cycle you bought to ride to work until they started the flyover construction. Sell it all off in return for cold, hard cash that you can put to better use.

Festivals are traditionally a time for new beginnings, unfortunately we treat them as a time to buy new stuff. But this festival season, begin afresh and take the first step towards a financially healthy future, so that next year, you are not in the same boat. Here are some things you can do:

  • Learn the basics of investing: different investment options, how mutual funds work, risk versus return, etc.
  • Set investment goals: be it buying the new iPhone X next year, or a home of your own in 10 years from now. As they say, if you don’t know where you are going, how will you get there?
  • Explore the best investment options: compare, and decide where, when and how much to invest.

Or just find a good Financial Advisor to help you through your financial planning for the year ahead! May this festive season be a time of new beginnings for you!

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