For the mystically inclined, Chinese New Year is about to usher in the year of the Horse – a year of fast victories, unexpected adventure and a good year to stick to your guns and fight for ideals.
Many of the traditions surrounding Chinese New Year are designed to usher in luck and prosperity for the year ahead, Mozo took a closer look at a few of those traditions to work out how you can usher in a year of prosperity and rein-in frivolous spending in the year of the horse.
Fill the Rice Barrel
A very literal way of insuring prosperity for the year ahead, in Chinese tradition it’s absolutely essential that the new-year ticks over with a full rice barrel in order that the new year be prosperous and abundant. For your finances this can translate to topping up your savings. Maybe you could take on a short stint of binge savings and make sure your rice is in a high interest savings account.
Put off footwear purchases for one lunar month
In some parts of China, purchasing footwear is one of a few things you aren’t supposed to do over the Lunar New Year holiday. More of an odd linguistic custom than anything else, footwear purchases are off limits simply because of how they sound. The term for shoes (haai) sound like losing and sighing in Cantonese, not the ideal way to set the tone for a wealthy and happy new year. So avoid shoe shopping for a lucky year and cut down on frivolous spending.
Indulge in something sweet
Food is central to most Chinese festivals, but sugary snacks are especially important for the lunar new-year since they sweeten up prospects for the coming year. Traditional holiday treats include rice pudding, crispy dumplings and candied fruits and lollies. While indulging in sweet things why not indulge your finances with one of the great sweeteners on offer from the banks this month? The banks are bending over backwards with offers to try to gain your business so cash back, balance transfers and bonus points can be a great way to get something for nothing and make for a pretty sweet start to the year.
Make noise to scare away bad fortune
The iconic Chinese lion-dragon-monster Nian comes out of hiding and attacks people during the Lunar New Year. His weakness? Sensitive ears. In the old days, people would light bamboo stalks on fire to frighten the monster. Nowadays, they have firecrackers and spectacular fire works displays. If you’re unhappy with your financial provider (be it dragon, lion or otherwise) take a leaf out of the old Chinese tradition and get noisy about it – call your provider and ask for a better deal and if they wont match the more competitive offers you can find in the market, switch and save.
Give children gifts of money for future prosperity
It’s traditional to give younger members of the family red, lai-see (‘lucky money’) envelopes to pass on prosperity. It’s a time for gifts of money, generosity and charity but also a good time to share your knowledge. This might translate to teaching your kids about money, contributing to a college fund for younger members of your family or opening a high interest savings account for your kids.
Lucky Stuff in the Year of the Horse
Lucky numbers are 3, 4 and 9 and your lucky colour is Green – it’s quite likely that a certain green ally will help you put more cash in your bank account this year.