Executive Summary: Festival shopping can be quite expensive. Planning well in advance for such expenses and understanding if you really want what you plan to buy is important. Research your options well before buying. Using reward points, buying at a discount sale, using coupons and cash back offers and reusing products wherever possible can reduce the cash outflow. Opting for zero interest loans can reduce the burden as well.
- Plan expenses well in advance: Purchases for Diwali and Dussehra usually involve big ticket items for most households. Given this, it makes sense if you plan for all your expenses many weeks or months in advance. You should atleast estimate how much you would need to buy all the things you want.
- Evaluate if you really need what you plan to buy: Many a time when you plan for the expenses, you may realise that you don't even need many things. For example, you may plan to buy a new microwave for Diwali because your existing one has a problem. But instead of jumping to your decision, if you call the maintenance person, you may realise that the existing microwave can be repaired. Therefore always evaluate if you really need what you plan to buy, especially the big ticket ones.
- Research options: Before you buy any product, remember to research different options, both in offline and online stores. Sometimes, the same product can be available at a lower price when you look at an online store. If you are buying products online, check the terms, benefits if any and when the delivery will be made. When you order too close to the festival, the delivery of the product may be delayed or may not be as you wanted.
- En-cash reward points you have collected: When you use credit cards, you earn reward points. You can en-cash these points at related outlets to buy what you want. You can also consider using these points in third party websites like 'Payback'. Using points can reduce your cash outflow. However check the applicability and convertibility before using these points.
- Use discounts and vouchers: Buying from stores where there is a sale or discount can help in reducing the price of things. However, make sure that the price is not already hiked, as you would then not receive a huge benefit. Similarly, if you have vouchers which can be used at any store, you can use them to reduce your cash outflow. Again, go through the terms and conditions of the voucher before relying on it.
- Use cash back offers: Credit cards, websites and mobile payment applications offer cash back offers when you make purchases. This usually is accompanied by conditions of spending a certain amount or at certain retailers. Although you will have to pay the full price when you make the purchase, a cash back offer will reduce the overall price.
- Reuse products where possible: In many cases you can reduce your expenses by using the previous years’ things. A good example for this is by using lights and decorations which are in good condition from the previous Diwali. Also check if you can make some of this yourself at home.
- Consider zero interest loans: NBFCs grants loans at zero percent to buy consumer products. This means you can pay for the product over a period of time rather than immediately. However, there are a few things to be kept in mind here - 1) Compare your overall cash out flow with the price of the product. If you are paying more, this means the loan comes at a cost or has processing fees. 2) Check if you are losing out on discount or a lower price if you opt for a loan. 3) Understand the underlying conditions before jumping in to take the offer.
- Buy coupons if they make sense: There are third party websites which allow you to purchase discount coupons or deals. This could either be for a small price or for free. Check the underlying conditions carefully and buy only from authentic websites.