How About Minding Your Money This Deepavali?

How About Minding Your Money This Deepavali?

Deepavali is just a week away and Malaysians are busy making plans to celebrate. Deepavali is the festival of lights and colour. If you swing by Brickfields and Jalan Tengku Kelana, or Little India in Ipoh and Penang, you will be delighted at the sound, sight and smell of festivities.

However, as nice and warm Deepavali is, just like all festivals it comes with a price tag. What’s worse, the price tag has been getting bigger and heftier over the years.

For instance, the cost of tailoring a saree blouse has gone up from RM45 to RM70 in around five short years. While one pair of traditional clothing used to be enough for a meaningful celebration, millennials are now buying heaps of new clothes for their #ootd and #ootn.


Over the years, the complaints of just how expensive Deepavali has been increasing and we truly think you shouldn’t be celebrating Deepavali worrying about your finances.

Hence, here are 5 simple tweaks that you can make for a merrier and financially-healthy Deepavali!

Make smart clothing choices

It is a tradition to enjoy a rejuvenating oil bath upon waking up and donning a fresh pair of traditional attires. This will be followed by a temple visit. While the prospect of a fresh crisp pair of new saree and kurta is appealing, making it an excuse to buy over-expensive traditional attire will lead you to overspend.

Many of us don a grand saree and kurta only during festivities and weddings. Other times, you would feel too out of place and overdressed. Naturally, you will opt for a simple attire and your grand attire will soon face the back of your cupboard until one fine day you decide to Marie Kondo your closet.

To compare,

Designer pieceCasual
Saree blouseRM150RM70
*Based on writer’s survey in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur

Financially-healthy choice

  • Re-use the sarees you bought over the years but mix and match your saree blouses. That way, you will have a fresh new look without the big price tag.
  • You could opt for a simpler and casual traditional attire that you will wear throughout the year.
  • Swap your saree or kurta with your cousins or best friends. You could then Insta your clothes swap and #twinning with a photo collage.

Make your own cookies

Deepavali is synonymous with Murukku and a long list of cookies. However, many of us are conveniently buying it without a second thought. Essentially, Murukku and the likes are what make Deepavali meaningful as family members come together to make them.

To compare,

Murukku (100-120 pcs)RM85RM27
Ghee biscuit (30-35 pcs)RM35RM17.50

*Based on writer’s survey and cooking trials

Financially-healthy choice

Make your own Deepavali cookies:

Murukku (100-120 pcs)

Murukku mixRM9

Ghee Biscuit (30-35 pcs)
Moong dalRM1.50
Cashew nutRM4

Say NO to fireworks

Fireworks have become a crucial element of Deepavali celebration. Despite being illegal in Malaysia, it is too common for fireworks to appear during Malaysian festivals.

Besides being illegal, fireworks are also extremely dangerous, expensive and pollutes the environment.

Financially-healthy choice

Instead of burning your money away, you can light diyas and enjoy a peaceful Deepavali.

Money packets and gifting wisely

Kids look forward for money gifts from the adults during Diwali. ‘Ang pow’ has also become the term Indians use to describe the money packets often given to the kids and elders. While it is definitely nice to gift someone on an auspicious day, it would be better if we give a deeper thought to the act.

Does a 13-year-old really need a RM100 money gift? While RM100 holds enough value to cater positively for an undergraduate, it might do more harm than good in the hands of a young teenager.

Financially-healthy choice

Instead of giving them money gifts, you could gift them with:

  • Books
  • Fund them to open a basic savings account
  • Buy them skills-enhancing items such as painting tools.

In short, you will nurture them to be financially mindful and you would be saving some bucks by cutting down on your RM50 and RM100 money packets.

You could also indulge the kids, adults and the elders with these thoughtful and useful gifts which are below RM30!

Use your credit card wisely

Spending is inevitable during Deepavali. So, you might as well get the most of out of it. Make use of cashbacks and reward points from credit cards when you shop for groceries and clothes, go out for a family dinner, and movie outings with friends.

Instead of mindlessly spending your money, a quick research will show how you can save money by utilising the discounts, get cashbacks and reward points from your credit cards and membership subscriptions.

Financially-healthy choice

The Citi Cash Back Platinum card rewards you with 5X rewards points for every RM1 you spend at major supermarkets and department store.


The HSBC Amanah MPower Platinum Credit Card-i gives you up to 8% cashback on petrol which can save you a considerable amount of money if you have to drive to balik kampung.


Since Deepavali is falling on a Sunday this year, the Maybank 2 Platinum Card which rewards 5% cashback on all weekend transactions will be useful to cut the sting of all the impromptu expenses.

In short, find the best way you could make the best of your credit card and membership subscriptions. True, it may take you some time but it will also make your Deepavali a financially-healthy celebration.

Spend smart, light the diyas and have a joyful financially-healthy Deepavali!


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