Many of us tend to spend a lot of money during Chinese New year – after all, it’s one of the biggest celebrations of the year for Chinese in Singapore and a great time to be generous with our most loved family and friends.
However, the economic forecast for Asia hasn’t been great in 2016 so far; in fact, there are fears of slowing growth in the region and with the Chinese economy slowing, it’s impact will definitely hit countries like ours.
With this in mind, we might want to be prudent about our spending ahead of the festive season. However, there’s no need to feel bad about spending less if you are smart about it. Here’s a list of small ways to help you save money during the upcoming celebrations:
The reunion dinner is an all important meal for the Chinese during the Chinese New Year. Traditionally eaten on the eve of Chinese New year, it’s a time for everyone in the family to return to the family home for a meal together. This is especially important as modern families seldom make it a habit to eat dinner together. Usually, families will cook dishes that symbolise good fortune but as people in Singapore are usually busy, it’s becoming more and more popular to eat out.
Many restaurants offer Chinese New Year menu sets for 8 to 10 people and these typically costs between $400 to $900, coming up to an average of $60 per head. Instead of spending this amount, perhaps a better way to have a cosy dinner is to do a hotpot. It is easy to prepare(get ready stock from supermarkets) and families can also enjoy a closer time together preparing the meal and eating together. Buying fresh ingredients are cheap and only involves having to cut and wash the vegetables, mushrooms and put slices of meat on plates. It’s so easy! You can even find caterers these days which deliver such steamboat ingredient sets to your home!
For many people, eating abalone during Chinese New Year is mandatory. Abalones are considered a delicacy, much like the shark’s fin and the Chinese love to serve up expensive delicacies during the New Year to signify a prosperous year ahead. But these sea creatures do not come cheap. A 425 gram can comes up to an average of $40 and has about 4 to 7 abalones. For a family dinner, you’d probably need 2 to 3 cans for a meal.
We are a month away from the Chinese New Year and we are starting to see supermarkets coming up with advertisements for abalone deals. Some banks and credit cards are also jumping onto the wagon. Here’s a few deals that’s worth checking out:
The Caltex New Moon Abalone Promotion is available to holders of OCBC credit/debit Cards from 4 January 2016 to 29 February 2016.
There’s also a “Buy 1 Get 1 Free” promotion for the first 1,200 cans, applicable to New Moon South Africa Braised Abalone (U.P. S$50 per can)
Enjoy great deals and promotions at Hosen warehouse sales with Abalone, Pacific Clams, Longan, Mushroom, Frozen Seafood and many more!
Date: 8th January – 4th February 2016
Time: Weekdays 9am – 6pm, Weekends 8am – 6pm
Venue: 267 Pandan Loop, Singapore 128439
From 4 January 2016 to 29 February 2016, turn your HSBC Credit Card spending into Skylight abalone gift sets. A minimum spend of $3,888(maximum 10 charge slips) allows you to redeem a 5-piece Skylight abalone gift set or spend $8,888 for an exclusive HSBC 6-piece Skylight abalone gift set (worth S$412).
Bak Kwa is one of the common food we eat during Chinese New Year. It never cease to amaze me how expensive these fragrantly barbequed processed meat can get during the Chinese New Year period! For those who don’t know, these BBQ meat can increase about 30% of their price during the new year period and prices increase nearer and nearer towards the new year. Additionally, queues can get insanely long as well. If you love these delicacies or intend to buy them for your family, you better start buying them now!
For those who are preparing to cook for your family during the CNY period, you know that fresh food and dried foodstuff price usually increase during the period. This is why going to the wholesale markets is a good idea. Even better, get your friends to go together since buying more will sometimes make your purchases cheaper on a average basis.
Children typically look forward to receiving Ang Bao or red packets during Chinese New year. These days, there are so many pretty Ang Bao packets for sale in the Chinatown markets; they even come in your favourite cartoon characters like Hello Kitty! While it’s nice to use these cute Angbao packets during the new year, I often find it’s a waste of money to buy them.
After all, there are countless ways to get these free red envelopes. Almost all banks print these red packets and you can easily get them when you go to the bank. Many retail shops and shopping malls also give out free angbao packets with a minimum spend. Save your cents and get these free ones instead!
Spring cleaning before the New Year is a tradition in Chinese culture. De-cluttering, throwing away old stuff and cleaning away the dust make way for new beginning. While you spring clean, you might find many things that you’ve kept away in your store room for years and decide to throw them away. Do you know that you can make money from these “old stuff”? Register for an account on Carousell and try to sell off your old belongings! Who knows, you might be able to make a decent sum from these.
One of the things I look forward to during CNY is the goodies – pineapple tarts, egg rolls, almond cookies. You can find many shops selling these from local bakery stores to cheaper factory-made ones at the Chinatown markets. The latter is probably the cheapest place to find CNY goodies if you don’t mind the quality; go nearer towards the CNY or even on the eve of CNY to get them at bargain prices -I’ve seen them going for $1 per bottle.
If you want better quality ones, one way is to go to nearby Johor Bahru to get them at half the price. With the Ringgit at such an attractive rate to the Singapore dollar, you can probably go crazy!Nearby City Square Mall just next to the causeway, as well as AEON Tebrau City are some good places to try to get your CNY goodies!
Another way to do it is to bake your own. You can customise the sugar level and even air-fry goodies that are usually deep-fried for a healthier alternative! Try air-frying crab sticks, arrow root chips and seaweed crisps to keep your waistline in check during this Chinese New Year!
There seems to be many rumours about the danger of eating raw fish in Singapore recently. There’s definitely some cause of concern due to the serious consequences of food poisoning, so it might be a better idea to prepare your own yu-sheng yourself. You can easily find grated vegetables for yu-sheng preparation, which comes at a cheaper price than buying from restaurants. You can even grate it yourself! You can find the recipe here. If you are afraid to eat raw fish for now, you can always switch it with abalone or smoked salmon.