Ashrita Prasaad, district manager at U.S. Bank, celebrates Diwali with her family and her community – but starts saving for the holiday years in advance. The five-day Hindu festival of lights is an auspicious time for big life moments and even bigger purchases, which means spending – lots of spending.
“It can be an expensive holiday,” Prasaad says. “It’s a lot of gift-buying, a lot of weddings and engagements are planned around this time, people start to open their kids’ savings accounts.”
Prasaad even bought her home around Diwali. “Any big undertaking we do, we try and plan it around Diwali,” she says. “We close old chapters, and start new chapters.”
With such an emphasis on spending, and on large-scale purchases and changes, it’s important to prepare financially for the holiday. Prasaad sets her customers up for success throughout the year – and shares her tips on celebrating Diwali without breaking the bank.
- Put money aside early. “One of my plans for 2020 is to send my mom and dad on a world cruise for their milestone anniversary,” Prasaad shares. “I’ve been saving for that since last year.”
- Keep an eye out for golden bargains. Gold is an important traditional gift for the Diwali holiday, but of course, can be expensive. “My husband gifts gold coins for the whole family,” Prasaad says. She plans ahead for the purchase and pays attention to sales on gold jewelry and other traditional gifts that can coincide with Diwali.
- Reward yourself. “Saving through spending,” Prasaad calls it. One option is to pay for purchases using a credit card with rewards – for example, travel points that can perhaps go toward traveling to visit family during Diwali. Don’t spend more than you are comfortable paying back, because credit cards can carry a relatively high interest rate.
- Have a back-up plan. “Some people apply for a credit product,” says Prassad, “in the summer, so they have that cushion come Diwali.” If you choose this route, make sure you understand the terms of any credit product and, again, don’t spend more than you are comfortable paying back.
- Get to know a banker you can trust. “Have conversations throughout the year,” Prasaad recommends. “Make sure you have a bank, and banker, you can trust, who knows about the events in your life and can help you plan.”
Prasaad will celebrate Diwali this year with her family and community. Above all, she emphasizes the importance of building relationships and sharing your own traditions and needs with your bank. “Diwali means different things in every home that celebrates it,” she says. “I never assume what it means for someone personally, or what they do. I just ask. It earns respect and means a lot.”
Learn more about U.S. Bank’s celebration of Diwali at usbank.com/diwali