AS the Eid Fitr or Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration approaches, many Malaysian households are busy making preparations. Sadly, this excitement often tempts people to overspend.
Certain people have the mindset that a lot of money is needed to celebrate Hari Raya. For them, there cannot be a Hari Raya unless there’s a grand celebration.
The typical mentality among these big spenders is that “Raya comes only once a year, so why not spend a bit more”.
Those with poor budget management skills sometimes fail to maximise the benefit of the early disbursement of salary and the additional Raya bonus which some receive. They will spend down to their last ringgit and continue their shopping frenzy with credit cards without sparing a thought for the possibility of running into serious debt.
Failing to settle credit card debts not only means that they may have to tighten their belts, it could also mean that they will not be able to make their house and car instalment payments or pay utility bills and other recurring monthly expenses.
Those who pile up debt like this may soon find themselves on the brink of bankruptcy. As our country is currently facing economic uncertainty with a more than RM1 trillion debt, everybody needs to be more cautious with their Raya spending since we cannot be sure what will happen in the near future.
Though it is the festive season and it is celebrated only once a year, not everything in the house needs to be new. By using our own creativity and putting in a little hard work, last year’s house decorations can be recycled or rearranged to make the space look new. That way, there will be no need to spend a lot of money to buy new items every year just to have the house looking new.
This similarly applies to clothes, furniture, crockery and other accessories too.
At the same time, everybody needs to be smart consumers. Being a smart consumer means spending money wisely and not overspending and living beyond our means or financial capabilities.
As a smart consumer, we also need to use all our consumer power to check the prices of goods being offered by traders, and report any suspicious pricing to the relevant authorities or consumer associations. We should never buy from traders who sell at unreasonable prices.
A smart consumer also always prepares a checklist to focus buying only the essential goods and thus not overspending with impulse purchases.
It is also important to know that Islam teaches us to be moderate in spending. Islam forbids any extreme extravagance, overspending or being wasteful. It has always been the duty of all Muslims to spend cautiously and not to waste their money buying unnecessary things.
Happy Eid Fitr to all.
DR MUZAFFAR SYAH MALLOW