Ghost Month Financial Tips
by Ma. Rhea Rose Santos and Rose Ann Santos
Since the Philippines has a well-established Filipino Chinese community, it’s not surprising their beliefs and practices have gone mainstream, so to speak. Among these is the belief in the Ghost Month.
The Ghost Month officially starts on the seventh month of the Chinese lunar calendar. This year, it commenced on August 8 and runs until September 6. During this time, Chinese folk beliefs claim that “the gates of the Underworld open and evil spirits bring bad luck to the physical world.” This is supposedly the reason why some people don’t want to spend too much during this time.
We asked some of our colleagues to weigh in on the Ghost Month.
As a Christian, Melanie doesn’t let Ghost Month affect her or how she deals with her finances. However, she recalls being told that it’s better to help others than to spend money for new things or make big purchases during this time. For the record, Melanie strives to be a wise spender at all times.
During Ghost Month, Kathleen avoids spending money on unnecessary things. She understands that planning her expenses and reallocating her funds to essentials will help her get through tough times. So, every payday, she sets aside a portion of her salary for her emergency funds. She also makes a list of things to buy to avoid overspending or making impulse purchases. To further cut costs and save more, she also makes sure to buy certain items from local shops. As she noted, “We should invest on a simple and humble yet healthy lifestyle.”
Jovit is clueless about the Ghost Month, but he’s got things figured out when it comes to his finances. His regular practice is to properly allocate percentages of his budget for his needs, wants, savings, and bill payments. He gives some cash to his parents. If he has money to spare, he uses it for his hobbies or he buys treats for himself. He revealed that he actually invested in something during the Ghost Month. He is not worried. He said he just needs to pay attention and strategize to make sure that he profits from his investment.
Vanessa is not affected by the Ghost Month. In fact, she sees it as an opportunity to buy what she wants at a low price because most items are on sale during this time. The only cash-related superstition she is fond of is the belief that if you give a wallet as a gift, then you should put money inside it so it will bring good fortune to the recipient.
In the past, Charm experienced a lot of hardships during Ghost Month—her mother got hospitalized, her husband had a car accident, and she lost her first job. Since all these incurred expenses, she learned to be more cautious and made sure she would be financially prepared for emergencies. While Charm doesn’t necessarily believe in the Ghost Month, she usually avoids making big purchases during this time. Aside from this, she makes sure that her family has savings based on the 50/30/20 rule. This means that 50% of their (hers and her husband’s) income is for needs, 30% for wants, and 20% for savings.
Just like Charm, May also practices the 50/30/20 rule. This pandemic has given her a window to save more as she hasn’t needed to buy too many things. She stated that how she handles her finances will lead her to a healthier financial life. Ghost Month has no impact on her or her finances.
Joy doesn’t believe in Ghost Month but, she has financial principles that she practices throughout the year. She said, “Expenses should not be bigger than income and don’t put your eggs in one basket. Learn to invest, such as buying properties that appreciates over time and putting up a business.” The only superstition she sort of believes is the advice against paying bills on Mondays. There are those who think that paying bills at the start of the week will lead to even more money being spent. Thus, Joy doesn’t pay bills on Mondays.
James Dela Cruz
Whether it’s Ghost Month or not makes no difference to James, who does his best to always follow his financial plan. He sets aside a portion of his monthly earnings for his savings account, while the remaining amount is allocated for his expenses. He adjusts his daily expenses based on his budget. He said that he’d rather save his money for his future than splurge on luxuries and have nothing during emergencies. He added, “Live within your means, and always remember that you do not need to impress anyone with your personal properties. Always prioritize your savings and family’s future.”
With these insights from our fellow employees, we will surely be inspired to spend wisely and save regularly all year long. Remember: It always pays to be smart about money. You don’t need ghosts to tell you that.
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