3 Steps to a Frugal and a Terrific Diwali

Festivals like Diwali test our inherent nature of that being a spender and saver.

Women like me who often hear “why don’t you plan it in advance” from their mums all the time, are the ones who end up spending more than what’s really needed. I often develop short term amnesia around festival time. I forget about left overs like lights diyas from last Diwali and buy more of the same stuff each year.  The same happens with clothes as well.

Since last year, your Great Gruhini promised to be frugal every festival season.  Sharing some tips that will ensure don’t end up saying “Diwali pe Diwala nikal gaya” (I am bankrupt due to spending so much during Diwali)

A. Frugal Ways to Gift

 1. Good Gifts come in smaller brands too: When you shop  around for gift packs such as chocolates this time, consider the lesser known  brands such as Amul’s Dark Chocolate

great, gruhini
Bournville pack of 5 costs Rs 250      Amul’s pack of 5 costs Rs 100

A 40gm bar of Amul dark  chocolate costs Rs 20 whereas a plain Cadbury bar of 38 gm costs Rs  25.  A Bournville’s pack of  5 (33gm each) will cost you around Rs 250  and an imported dark chocolate like a 100gm Lindt bar costs more  than Rs 300. The fact that Amul is a value for money and has got  higher cocoa content has been  certified by an independent agency too.

Make your own gift pack by purchasing 5 Amul bars and a fancy gift bag (Rs 15 at the most), you save more than Rs 135 as compared to a Cadbury Bournville pack. You can add more variety like a juice or flavoured milk and a pack of popcorn. The kids will simply love this goodie bag.  I just called up my super store guy to keep 20 bars aside for me.

2. Gifting home-cooked sweets and snacks: Take out time to create life time memories of home made Diwali goodies for your kids

We grew up eating Dahi wadas, maida-based snacks and other sweets made by moms and grandmothers, every Diwali. Depending on the time, I try to follow the same rituals every year. This year my 5 year old son suggested that instead of buying sweets from a shop, he will teach me how to make besan ladoos and chivda (thanks to what they teach him in school). So no matter how busy I am i will have to log into to my favorite food bloggers like  Sharmilee’s Sharmispassion and Pratibha’s Chefandherkitchen for some new and easy to do recipes to impress not just the kiddo but his and our family friends too.

You can gift the home made snacks and sweets in Tupperware boxes.

B. Frugal Ways to Re-decorate Your House

1. Renovation: Think of items around the house which can get a new  look with few changes and won’t pinch your wallet too.

great, gruhini
Old  Look of the Sofa                                                 New look of the Sofa

For two months, I hopped across  furniture shops, scanned through designs on online  stores for a new sofa set. The classy ones pinched my  wallet and the cheaper ones didn’t look sturdy. It never  occurred to me that I could renovate the existing one  until my mom suggested a makeover that came at about  one third the price of a brand new sofa.

So now I am on a renovation drive: the old curtains will be cut off into rectangular pieces for table ware and old table cloths will turn into cushion covers.

2. Do It Yourself Diwali Decoration: Home made decoratives will not only be cheaper but will bring more charm, warmth and good luck

Readymade Decoratives?

Ready made Diyas                                                         Readymade String of Lights

A set of four colorful diyas cost Rs 60 and a Chinese string of light costs Rs 80 bucks eac

But if you do it at home, involve the kids in making diyas and lights, this is what you will get. Spend the Rs 140 bucks on buying the material for diyas and a string of balloon lights.



OR Home made decoratives?

great, gruhini
Hand painted diyas                       A string of balloon lights (Pic                                              Khushboo Narayan)

  For diyas you just need acrylic colours and earthen diyas and stones to decorate. For the string of balloon lights, you need balloons or air-filled balls, good quality yarn, fevicol and light holder. Take a balloon of desired size. Apply glue or fevicol all over the balloon. Wrap the balloon with the yarn. Keep applying glue over the balloon after every layer of yarn that you wrap it with. When the balloon is sufficiently covered allow it to dry. Once the fevicol dries up, release the air of the balloon and you get a ball shaped balloon lamp. Repeat the process to make a string of balloon lamps.

C.Frugal Ways to Give

Anything you plan to give to your maids, drivers, watchmen or other needy people, a simple gift wrap will do wonders to boost their festival mood too. 

Wishing you a very happy diwali. Do write to me at thegreatgruhini@gmail.com to tell me if these ideas got you the title of a smart or prudent spender? 

Idea of string of balloon lights contributed by Khushboo Narayan.


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Rachna Monga Koppikar, is an AMFI Registered Mutual Fund Distributor and founder of this blog. She is on a mission to help Women create and preserve wealth through mutual fund investing.