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The Hindu Festival of Lights evokes joy, celebration, and a time of auspicious spending or investing. And with some careful planning, Diwali devotees can avoid overspending yet still ensure family and friends receive thoughtful gifts. Since it’s common to have dozens of people on your gift list for the celebration of light, it’s easy to overspend and overextend credit that has lingering financial effects, U.S. Bank District Manager Ashrita Prasad said.
“Every year my husband and I start on New Year’s Day and set a budget for how much we will spend on Diwali in October. It’s a great time of year to set your goals so you’re on the right path for saving up and buying gifts in the months to come,” Prasad said.
Here are 10 tips for managing Diwali this year.
Set your total budget for Diwali gifts or investing on Jan. 1. New Year’s Day is an ideal time to take stock and set priorities.
- Make a list of things you are going to buy so you don’t go overboard.
- Track your expenses in a place that is easy to access so you’ll be more likely to do it.
- Consider using your credit card for purchases if you get rewards on your spending.
- Remember to pay down your credit card balance each month so you don’t incur late fees or build up a large balance.
- Consider buying gifts throughout the year, especially during sales. Just remember not to designate who will receive the gift so that you don’t attract bad luck.
- If you receive a salary bonus, consider setting aside some of it for Diwali gifts.
- Diwali is a propitious time to take a vacation, so be on the hunt for airfare deals.
- If you can, try to save some money at that time since it’s an auspicious time to invest. Opening a new savings account or acquiring investments is well-timed during Diwali.
- A month or so before Diwali is a beneficial time to make financial plans for home improvements so your home is ready for the blessings of Goddess Lakshmi.
“If you are making an investment during Diwali, there are many types of spending to consider and even perhaps purchases you have been putting off that you may want to make,” Prasad said.
For instance Diwali is a blessed time to purchase a car to replace an ageing model, buy gold jewelry, open a college savings account for the kid, take out life insurance policies or buying airline tickets to see family back home in India or wherever you hail from, Prasad said. All of those are bigger ticket items and, for most families, planning ahead for them is essential and potentially rewarding. Prasad uses her credit card to book her airfare so that she accumulates points for other spending.
“People are in such a celebratory mood for the holiday, and with a little planning, the spending during the season can be joyous as well,” she said.