Celebration making the count
Families celebrating Hari Raya Puasa counter bleak economy by hunting for deals
It is about making the dollar stretch a little and finding good deals this Hari Raya Puasa.
In an informal poll of a dozen families, The New Paper found that while they are not significantly cutting back on their budgets for the upcoming celebration, the softening global economy and financial uncertainty mean that they are looking for the best value-for-money deals.
According to the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Singapore's economy will see its growth slow down to between 1 and 3 per cent this year - the slowest since 2009.
Speaking to TNP, Madam Rohaya Ramzan, a customer service officer, 51, said: "We have to buy what we need to buy for Hari Raya.
"But if you know that certain items are expensive, get the cheaper ones. We have to really look around and find a way to save money."
For instance, she has been scouring for deals since March.
She recently purchased a dozen bottled drinks after checking out different shops.
"I bought the drinks at Giant supermarket. The drinks were $1.10 per bottle. At the provision shops, it would have cost between $1.30 and $1.50 per bottle.
"I'm also looking out for deals for pineapple tarts. I recently saw two tubs that were sold for $12.90, when they are retailing for $20 each elsewhere."
The other households polled also echoed the sentiment of looking for bargains.
Housewife Nur Hidayah, 33, said she has been on the lookout for good deals.
Also, she said that her regular suppliers are likely to offer her Hari Raya cookies and baju Melayu at good prices.
"For my husband and two sons, I go to the same store every year because it's the cheapest," she said.
Businesses here have indicated that their sales numbers are steady despite the financial worries.
But they are also stepping up their promotions to attract customers.
Supermarket chain Giant Singapore is offering discounts on popular Hari Raya items, and a spokesman told TNP that these deals are proving to be popular. (See report at right.)
She said: "We want our customers to be able to purchase all their needs at Giant Singapore without needing to go through the hustle and bustle of traffic jams and long waiting time to get their shopping needs completed in Malaysia."
Car rental company Motorway confirmed the strong demand for cars this Hari Raya.
They have been having promotions for Hari Raya for the past decade.
Sales manager Debbie Shing said: "Usually we would markup the rental rates by 30 to 40 per cent, but considering the economy, we have decided to increase rates by a conservative 10 to 20 per cent."
When TNP visited Geylang Serai last week, many shops were seen receiving a steady stream of customers.
First Lady, which has three shops near the area, sells both traditional and non-traditional ready-made clothes.
Mr Hasan Marican, director of Second Chance Properties, the parent company of First Lady, said: "This year's sales are on par with last year's.
"But if we're talking about the last five years, there's about a 25 per cent drop in sales."
He cited more players in the market and people crossing the Causeway for their shopping as possible reasons for the declining sales.
To attract customers, there has been no increase in prices at First Lady this year, he said.
"But over the last five years, prices for the outfits at First Lady have increased by about 10 per cent because of an increase in labour and manufacturing costs," Mr Hasan said.
Madam Suziliana Salleh, 35, an educator, said she is willing to spend as long as she keeps within her budget.
"For example, I will look around for nice designs for my baju kurung, and keep it to $120.
"As for the other items, I will look out for good deals to stretch my money."
- Additional reporting by Marian Govin
We have to buy what we need to buy for Hari Raya. But if you know that certain items are expensive, get the cheaper ones.
- Madam Rohaya Ramzan, a customer service officer, on spending money for the Hari Raya Puasa celebrations
Still stocking up on items for Hari Raya Puasa? The New Paper gets retailers to share some of their more popular items:
What: Chocolate Covered Dates with Almonds (100g)
Why: This new snack is great for pre-dawn meals, breaking of fast, and a Hari Raya snack. It is also seedless, which makes it hassle-free and perfect for kids.
What: Fanta Fruit Punch
Price: $1 for a 1.5 litre bottle
Why: During the last Hari Raya festive period, Giant sold 350,000 bottles of Fanta. Its affordable price and myriad flavours makes it a popular choice.
What: Brother sewing machine
Why: The popularity of this sewing machine increases threefold during the Hari Raya season as it is useful for altering clothes and sewing curtains.
What: Rowenta Electric Oven (38l)
Why: This oven has multiple functions to grill, bake, defrost and oven cook Hari Raya goodies.
What: Dresden full leather recliner sofa
Price:$1,749 for a three-seater
Why: This sofa, which is sized for HDB flats, is just right for a living room revamp.
What: Go Pro Hero4 Silver Adventure
Price: $590Why: Capture special family moments with this nifty and trendy camera. It can take high-quality videos and photos that can be shared via the camera's built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
What: Baju kurung
Where: Dwann collection, MV294A/B
Why: These outfits come in vibrant colours and the soft fabric will keep the wearer cool and comfortable.
Where: Amin Carpets, MV166
Why: These carpets will brighten up homes with their dazzling colours and detailed designs. They are handpicked and flown in from Iran.
What: Green packets
Where: Ramadan Shop, MV26/52
Price: One for $2, three for $5 for the regular range. One for $3.50, three for $10 for the exclusive range.
Why: Bored of traditional designs? Impress the teenagers with these hipster-looking illustrations. Younger kids will be charmed by the colourful characters.