Are you aware of a certain ancient festival approaching where dragons and lanterns fill the streets?
Chinese New Year kicks off on February 8 and as it turns out, we need to beware of a mischievous zodiac animal called the Fire Monkey. The monkey is a smart, wily, naughty and vigilant animal so we should be careful he doesn’t lead us astray from healthy money habits with his cunning tricks this year.
Here’s eight easy tips to help you outsmart the monkey and celebrate Lunar Year prosperity.
Tip #1 Spring clean your accounts
According to Chinese tradition, before the Spring Season you should give your home abode a deep clean to wash away burdens of the past year. But don’t get out the broom! If you sweep, you’ll brush away good luck, so look for other ways to neaten up your life.
We recommend tidying your bank account to get rid of any unnecessary account-keeping fees and charges. If your bank statements are littered with things like ATM fees and overdrawn charges, it’s time to put a plug in them by switching to a more suitable provider using Mozo’s bank account comparison tool. The same goes for cancelling direct debit payments draining your funds for no reason like that one hit wonder gym membership. After all, a tidy bank account will keep you financially fit for the year ahead so you can put more energy into things that count, like giving your home a refresh which brings us to…
Tip #2 Feng Sui your home
Don’t hold off on renovating or redecorating until the “right time” because the Lunar year calls for a Feng Sui overhaul, which means creating optimal energy flow in your home. Just be sure to resist the Fire Monkey’s influence of impulsiveness and fund it the right way to avoid financial stress. Whether it’s redrawing the extra repayments you’ve made on your home loan, taking out a renovation loan or refinancing your home loan, ensure you’re getting the best deal by conducting a little online comparison.
But before you start knocking down walls, consider these Chinese superstitions:
- It is bad luck to build a house facing North or Northwest
- The first three days of the New Year need to be restful for a harmonious year
- All staircases should have an even number of steps. Odd steps are an unlucky omen
Tip #3 Stay up late and ward off debt
Debt is the worst financial position to be in on the first calendar day of the Lunar New Year. In fact Chinese folklore states that being in the red on day one will define your debt status for the rest of the year!
So if you are indebted to your credit card provider, as per Chinese New Year custom we advise you stay up late one night and switch over to a 0% balance transfer card. Not only will it ward off a year of bad luck but save you some serious cash. Just check out this scenario:
- Say you have the average card balance in Australia of $4,300 and can make a $500 repayment each month. Based on the average credit card interest rate in our database of 17.40%, Mozo’s credit card debt payments calculator shows you’d be up for $327 in interest and it would take 10 months to repay! But by making the switch to a 0% balance transfer card you won’t have to fork out a cent in interest, and will kiss that balance goodbye one month earlier. Good fortune here we come!
For tips on using a balance transfer card the right way read our tell all guide here.
Reject your impulses
Keep your cash away from the gambling scene, especially if you were born in the Monkey years of 1956, 1968, 1980 and 1992 as Chinese superstition states you’re more likely to lose it all. If you really want to fall into good fortune this year, an easy place to start is by ditching a vice and stashing what you would have spent in a high interest savings account. Or if you need to see gold to get motivated, drop the dollars into a giant clear jar to track your progress. When we crunched the numbers we found beer drinkers could potentially save $4,000 a year just by boycotting their drink of choice and limiting trips to the pub. Imagine how full your glass jar could get!
*We didn’t include tip #4 because it’s an unlucky number, so we turned it into a bonus tip!
Tip #5 Pamper your money tree
Have you ever noticed red envelopes hanging from Cherry Blossom trees for Chinese New Year? They actually have dollars in them for children and unmarried people to pluck for good fortune’s sake. You could apply this concept to your own money tree and top up your super, open a term deposit or lock in some long term shares. But if you’re worried about making a monkey money move, check out this recent guest blog on three things to consider before you invest first.
Tip #6 Keep the shoes you have
Don’t buy new shoes during the New Year festival because if Chinese superstition is anything to go by, you’ll run out of luck. Stay away from shopping centres unless necessary, but if you do need a fashion fix, avoid charming retail assistants and shop online using these insider tips.
Tip #7 Get your shapes right
Take a break from the big supermarkets and nourish your body with healthy fresh food instead of junk food. The Fire Monkey believes round edibles, long noodles and vegetables will bring prosperity and happiness, so for maximum good fortune, grab a wicker basket and head to your local farmers’ market. This habit is going to save you dollars because you have more choice, haggling is the norm and you get to snap up seasonal (thus cheaper) food. Our tip is to head there half an hour before closing time for the last minute bargains, and your shopping receipts will likely shrink to a frugally acceptable size!
Tip #8 Choose your lucky number
This blog post wouldn’t be a lucky one without having an eighth tip, because eight is the luckiest number in Chinese culture. On that note, this tip is about deciding on how much you want to save this year and sticking to that number (e.g $800 or $8000). You may as well have a number eight in there! Once you’ve picked your goal, crunch the numbers with Mozo’s savings calculator to see what it will take to reach the target.
We hope these tips inspire you to fast track your fortune in this Fire Monkey Year. If you have a lucky tip you’d like to share, enlighten us with a comment below!