Diwali With a Bang; Without Breaking Your Bank

October 19, 2022

With Diwali just days away, many seem to be in the mood to splurge. It is a very special
occasion and a time for feasting and reconnecting with homes festooned in lights and fireworks
dazzling in the sky. But as everyone heads to the shops to buy brand new clothes, and offices
and homes are given makeovers, it’s also important to keep track of spending. Often expenses
tend to get overlooked during this excitement hence, consumers should take necessary steps in
order to ensure that they enjoy this festivity as a responsible consumer. These include;

Sticking to a budget

The joy of Diwali can still be kept alight, with families spending their hard-earned cash
prudently. Like any other important occasion, Diwali can be an expensive affair, but proper
planning can help consumers to avoid unnecessary expenditure. One of the best plans is to
make a budget and stick to it. Budgeting is the first and most important step to smartly manage
your spending not only during the festive season but throughout the year. When you set a
budget limit, it means you have control of your money and on your expenditures. This Diwali,
making a budget should be the first thing you should do as it helps you avoid overspending.
Once you have prepared your budget, the following steps should be taken;
• Track your spending – the next step to ensuring you do not overspend and save money
is by tracking your expenses. Your budget does no good if you do not effectively track
your spending. Consider making a separate festival fund. This will make it easier to
separate festival spending from regular day to day expenses.
• Avoid borrowing cash – this Diwali, make a pledge not to borrow any amount of credit
for spending. Make a budget plan in accordance with what you have. Borrowing money
will only cost you more in the long run.
• Limit your splurge on online shopping – several advertisements of sale or discount
offer is common practice to lure millennials. E-commerce sites will attract consumers
by giving specials. It is important therefore to buy only what is needed.
• Avoid impulse buying – to increase their sales, all businesses will come up with offers
to lure consumers. Many of these advertisements sometimes make it difficult for
consumers to resist the temptation of shopping. It is important to avoid getting into such
situations. Remember your budget and stick to it.

Comparative Shopping
Comparing prices is essential before making a purchase. It helps consumers find good deals on
the same item or find similar items at discounted prices. Comparative shopping is a practice
among consumers where a range of available suppliers are compared to identify the best price
of items or services, they are willing to buy. It is an evaluation of potential sellers to see which
one is offering the best deal. When shopping this Diwali, consider the following to ensure you
get the best value for money.
All that glitters is not gold – Festivals can be a notorious time to get carried away, so
here is a word of caution. Always remember that there is nothing such as free lunch.
The moment you see a very unrealistically high discount, you should become wary.
High discounts may at times may be an indication that the stock is going to expire soon
or it could be leftover stock from last year. Maybe the item is not getting sold fast
enough. Buy only after you are convinced that the deal is worth it.
Universal price tags are non-existent – with a highly competitive retail environment
there is no one price for all items. This means that any item you buy either online or in
physical stores will slightly or greatly have a different price depending on where and
when you purchase. Comparing costs across different platforms or stress will help you
save some money.
You can find better deals from the manufacturer – competition has not only
stimulated retailers to offer competitive pricing but manufacturers as well. This means
you may be able to get value for money if you check with manufacturers themselves.
Check and choose quality – When shopping, determine if the item is of good quality.
Low priced items may not always be of good quality. Comparing the quality of products
and similar prices may help ensure you are getting value for money.

Lastly, Diwali is the season of spreading light and joy, making it the ideal time to bank some
goodwill. Pile up all the clothes and household items you do not need during your annual
Diwali cleaning, and donate it to the needy. Be conscious of any food leftovers and unwanted
edible gifts too—you can give them to a local food bank or housing shelters.

If consumer come across any unethical or unfair trading practices when out shopping for
Diwali, they are encouraged to contact the Council via the toll-free number 155 or lodge a
complaint using the Consumer Council of Fiji mobile app.