Checklist: How not to go broke this Diwali

It’s that time of the year when we all say Mera waala Pink.. We are feverishly preparing. Starting with Ganesh Chaturthi, followed by Durga puja, Diwali and right till Bhai Dooj, its packed with festivals. 

To give you a dekko of what all has played on our minds, here’s a cheat sheet of to-dos:

● New upholstery and wall painting

● Cleaning and home decor

● Sweets and savouries – home made and purchased

● Clothes 

● Gifting

● Pooja essentials and crackers

● Hosting a card party and attending a few 😄

This fervour is not going to leave anyone untouched. To achieve all this, major spends will happen. 

I recollect last festive season came as a big learning for a friend. Saying she went overboard in prep, would be an understatement. Some hasty swipes and she was up against massive credit card bills. Soon the festivals were upon us and she was having a delusional celebration owing to money worries.

To prevent from getting carried away, here’s is a checklist everyone should run past.

1. Have you checked inflow (salaries, bonuses received) vs. outflow (fixed expenses, bonuses paid to support staff or house help)? 

2. Have you made a festival shopping budget?

3. Have you made a list of people you need to gift?

4. Are there things you can up-cycle from some other time – especially clothes / gifts / crackers

5. Have you considered saving / investing a part of your diwali bonus?

6. Can you recycle the ethnic attire in the upcoming wedding season?

7. Are you ditching physical gold purchase for ETFs or a child plan?

8. If bringing home a new car, have you paid maximum possible down payment to keep EMIs reasonable?

9. Have you regularised your festival leaves with your boss to avoid loss of pay?

10. Can you manage yourself rather than calling for professional services like home cleaning, decorations and catering?

A motley of measures can save you the post celebration crunch. Have a happy Diwali Momeys! 😊

Money habits and children

​On a family holiday in US recently, I noticed my sister-in-law engaging her children in money games. Each of her two kids earned themselves $20 as Rakhi allowance. A pre-schooler and a 4th grader then set out to making the best use of their moolah.

Let me add the money was not handed out easily, it was almost labor of love because the kids were made to sit for a small puja followed by an Indian meal (right till plates were empty) and then finishing up some study time. It also came with a rider that screen time, bad behavior, sibling fights will lead to deductions from this amount. Must I  add, this was the best possible outcome since we had the calmest kids in company for one whole day.
Now comes the part which pleasantly surprised me. The kids accompanied us to a nearby mall. I left the kids with their mom for their shopping while I decided to lose my way in Macy’s. The disney store, play zone, toy shop were visited one after another.

A couple of hours later we met to grab a bite together and I saw nothing purchased. I was told, “Well, we are doing a recce”. Post eating, my shopping ensued and so did theirs. Atlast, I gave up after having scoured Sears, Dillard’s and a few other stores. I met the kids & mom to find major discussions about latest spiderman costume, pack of cards, barbie set, glitter colors. Soon the money was less for our boy here and loans were sought and sanctioned from sister, but not without conditions of her taking the favourite seat in car on way back home. Somehow plans changed and our man traded the costume with a copy of ‘Diary of a wimpy kid’. Now he was in surplus. Rakhi feeling finally dawned on him and he gifted his sister much sought glitter colors, saving the balance for piggy bank.
At this point, their money was far from over. But my realization had come on the importance and ways to giving children an early start to money habits.