Saving Money and the Environment this Diwali

January 12, 2021

With Diwali just days away, many seem to be in the mood to splurge. From shopping for gifts to renovating and decorating houses, everyone’s on toes with excitement. However, often expenses tend to get over looked during this excitement hence, consumers should take necessary steps in order to ensure that they enjoy this festivity as a responsible consumer.

These step sinclude; 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 tomake 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 abudget 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 moneyis by tracking your expenses. Your budget does no good if you do not effectively trackyour spending. Consider making a separate festival fund. This will make it easier toseparate festival spending from regular day to day expenses.

Avoid borrowing cash – this Diwali, make a pledge not to borrow any amount of creditfor spending. Make a budget plan in accordance with what you have. Borrowing moneywill 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 onthe same item or find similar items at discounted prices. Comparative shopping is a practiceamong 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 whichone is offering the best deal. When shopping this Diwali, consider the following to ensure youget the best value for money.

All that glitters is not gold – Festivals can be a notorious time to get carried away, sohere 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.

Go Green this Diwali

Traditionally, Diwali was celebrated by lighting earthen lamps in houses signifying the triumph of good over evil by dispelling darkness with light, exchanging sweets and wishes, followedor preceded by the Lakshmi pooja. Celebrations have developed beyond this over the years with lights and firecrackers however, revisiting how Diwali used to be celebrated as a certain ‘Green: element to it. So how exactly can we ‘Go Green’ this Diwali? Consumers can considerthe following tips to help ensure a more environmentally friendly Diwali.

Say no to firecrackers – For many, childhood memories of Diwali are associated with lighting up some fireworks on the night, but did you know that they were never a part of traditional Diwali festivities? It makes sense if you think about it—after all, the festival of lights predates the invention of fireworks by a large margin. With the surging levels of toxic smoke in the air, firecrackers (yes, all types of them) are a definite no-no. Along with polluting the air, these also cause high levels of noise pollution, which affects not just birds and stray animals, but also children, pets and the elderly.

Light your home with diyas and candles – Be mindful of the electricity you are consuming this Diwali. Limit the number of electric lanterns and fairy lights, and remember to switch them off before heading to bed. Or better yet, substitute them with traditional diyas or candles—they are much eco-friendlier and more cost-effective, and will also give your home a warm, traditional feel.

Take a mindful approach to Diwali parties and gifting- The festive season calls for celebration and lots of friends and family time, but all the dinners, get-togethers and shopping can be kept in check with a few tweaks. Give your gifts a personal touch by wrapping them up in recyclable paper yourself, make use of biodegradable cutlery and plates over plastic or thermocol option, re-use the decorations you put up last year,discard any office or home waste responsibly, and keep Diwali shopping to a minimum;buying only what you need and not a thing more.

Reinvent Diwali traditions to be more eco-friendly – A big part of the festivities are the traditional sweets and treats. Instead of taking the easy way out and buying packaged goodies, resolve to stick to homemade snacks this time around. Not only are you taking care of your health by doing this, you are also avoiding all the unnecessary packaging that can harm the environment.

Give back to your community – Diwali is the season of spreading light and joy andlight, making it the ideal time to bank some goodwill. Pile up all the clothes andhousehold items you do not need during your annual Diwali cleaning, and donate it to a non-profit.

Be conscious of any food leftovers and unwanted edible gifts too—youcan give them to a local food bank or housing shelters.Plant a green – One of the easiest ways to stay environment-conscious is by plantingsome green around your home. Gift air-purifying plants to your loved ones this year—we all know we need plenty of these to clear up the smog; plus, they make adorable Diwali presents too.

For any consumer concerns, contact the Council via toll free helpline 155 or download the Consumer Council of Fiji Mobile App on Playstore.