Deepavali Spending

We’re days away from celebrating the Festival of Lights and as we are in an endemic stage, stakes are higher this year as families throng shopping malls and Deepavali bazaars for the much awaited shopping for the festive season. But are we cautious with our expenses?

Image for illustration purposes (taken at Deepavali bazaar at Little India, Johor Bahru pre-pandemic)

a) The difference between Needs & Wants

A need is something necessary to live such as food, clothing, shelter, healthcare and education.

A want is something that can increase the enjoyment of life other than your needs.

b) Overspending on Wants especially during festivals

Wants vs Needs

During festive seasons we tend to overspend on “Wants” such as firecrackers, beverages, decorations, etc. Some people even tend to compete with others by showing off their ‘grand’ celebration, and some even follow celebration trends even when they are actually beyond their means.

c) Preparation for the more challenging year (next year)

The economy is uncertain. It’s always good to be prepared. Are we sufficiently prepared to face these economic uncertainties and challenges?

As smart consumers or heads of the family, we should ensure that we have enough income or financial resources to at least cover expenditures on “Needs” during challenging times, in fact, at all times. Therefore, we should plan early to ensure that we have enough emergency buffer funds.

d) What is an Emergency Buffer Fund?

This is a fund that we put aside as a source of ready cash in case of unplanned expenses due to illness or loss of job and other such circumstances. The general rule is to reserve enough funds to cover 4 to 6 months’ expenditure.

In a nutshell, it is more important to spend on needs than wants. Plan and do your budget if you want to spend on wants, and building reserve funds for emergencies will ensure financial resilience and peace of mind. All of us deserve great peace of mind, so managing your finances will help you stay within your budget, increase your savings and even achieve your financial goals.


Gunasegaran Munusamy
Head Agensi Kaunseling dan Pengurusan Kredit (AKPK)
Johor Bahru Branch

Agensi Kaunseling dan Pengurusan Kredit (AKPK) provides an avenue for current and potential borrowers/consumers ― both households and Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to enhance financial discipline via Financial Education, Financial Advisory and Debt Management Programmes.

Financial Education (FE) programmes aim to nurture more financially astute borrowers/consumers who would take control of their finances, and at the same time, promote good payment and repayment culture through the wise use of credit. Increasing consumers’ financial literacy enhances their appreciation for prudence that serves as the basis for wealth accumulation, preparedness for financial uncertainties and comfortable retirement.

Financial Advisory (FA) assists individuals to work out budgets, among others, which will help them manage their money and expenses so as to improve their cash flow and net worth while helping them meet their loan/financing and credit obligations to avoid defaults and foreclosures. Financial advisory is available for households, and also for SMEs and micro-enterprises under AKPK Small and Medium Enterprise Help Desk (AKPK SME Help Desk).

Debt Management Programme (DMP) assists borrowers/consumers in improving and empowering their financial standing through the provision of a personalised debt repayment plan. The repayment plan helps to reschedule or restructure loans/financing such as housing and personal loans/financing, hire purchase and outstanding credit/charge card balances that are due to financial service providers under the purview of Bank Negara Malaysia and other institutions including PTPTN, Tekun Nasional Berhad and several cooperatives participating in this programme. For SMEs that experience financing repayment difficulties with their financial institutions, AKPK offers a similar programme, i.e. Small Debt Resolution Scheme (SDRS) that provides repayment assistance on their existing financing facilities.

AKPK services are FREE to individuals by AKPK, without the use of any third-party agent and available through an alternative online communication channel via Google form. Customers can visit our website and submit the completed form to be contacted by AKPK’s financial advisor. AKPK also provides financial guidance through financial education modules at

AKPK also uses its official social media @AKPKofficial on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to convey information on financial management, including guides and links to the services provided. The public can use the medium provided, including contacting AKPK’s financial advisors directly online if they are interested in learning more about AKPK’s services.