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THE fasting month of Ramadan is coming to an end and Muslims all over the world, including in Malaysia, will be celebrating Hari Raya Aidil Fitri. Many will be preparing for this festive season that comes once a year.

It is normal for celebrants to spend more money during this period. Nevertheless, it must be done cautiously and prudently so that they do not end up with more debt later.

It is disheartening to know that some people are willing to spend beyond their means for a single occasion. This can lead to them having financial issues and problems that will be difficult to handle.

We have often read in the news of people burdened with debt after celebrating an occasion. It is important to realise that there is more to life than spending extravagantly on oneself and an event.

Remember that we still need to support ourselves and our families and pay the bills after the festivity is over. As such, it is not wise to be lavish and frivolous to celebrate the festivity.

We must also realise that the current economic uncertainty and the increase in the cost of living demand that everyone live within their means and not overspend.

There is no need to be wasteful as such behaviour is also against the teachings of Islam.

There is a saying on this point, ukur baju di badan sendiri, which means that one should know one’s abilities and thus spend accordingly.

Some people have the propensity to purchase new items when they are not necessary. The mentality is that “Hari Raya comes only once a year, so why not spend a bit more buying new things”. However, this should not be used as an excuse to waste money and buy unnecessary things.

Our homes can still look presentable and beautiful with reusable decorations by just using a bit of creativity and hard work.

A savvy shopper always prepares a shopping list to help him keep track of his spending and control his expenses, and only spends on the items he actually needs. He avoids making unneeded purchases. Before making purchases, a wise consumer will also evaluate the costs of the goods and make comparisons to maximise savings.

Due to the prevalence of online scammers, people should use caution when making purchases online. Scams, especially those conducted online, are on the rise, and many victims have lost thousands of ringgit as a result of their foolishness.

The once-a-year festive season should be cherished with delight and joy rather than burdened with debt, anguish and regret.

Dr Muzaffar Syah Mallow, Associate Professor, Faculty of Syariah and Law, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia. Comments: