Put your money to work: ready for the ghost month?

MANILA — Businesspeople typically brace for ghost month, a time when customers stop buying products or postpone plans to avoid bad luck.

This year, the month of ghosts begins on August 22 and ends on September 19, 2017. According to Chinese legend, the month of ghosts is when evil spirits are released from hell and roam the earth, bringing bad luck everywhere or they will. This is why superstitious businessmen, and there are surprisingly many of them, keep a low profile during this period.

Unfortunately, this usually also means a slowdown in business. Cash flow could suddenly be tight. If you are a stock market investor, you may find that the market is in the doldrums. If you’re in sales, you might suddenly find your regular customers postponing their purchases, causing you to miss your goals. You might even find that it’s harder to collect money from your customers, simply because they’re holding themselves back.

Entrepreneurs aren’t the only ones being hit hard by ghost month superstitions. If you’re an employee, you might find that some of your bosses refuse to start projects, simply because they don’t think it’s a good time to start one.

Put your money to work: ready for the ghost month?  2

That’s why you need to be prepared for ghost month and other similar events, when everyone seems to be in slow down mode. While the best way to deal with ghost month is to prepare for it in advance, there are also ways to help you get through it with less difficulty.

Here are 7 ways to help you cope with the ghost month:

1. Stick to the basics. During a downturn, it’s best to prioritize the most important expenses instead of buying non-essential items. You can cut back on dining and entertainment expenses right now and just focus on food, utilities, transportation, and medical needs for now. Find ways to reduce expenses through cost-cutting techniques.

2. Defer major expenses. While uncertainty reigns, it may be good to postpone large expenses that are not urgent. If you’re considering buying a new laptop but aren’t sure about your cash flow, you can defer it to the next month or when your sales are on track and your cash flow situation has improved.

3. Don’t miss paying the bills. When you’re in a cash crunch, it’s tempting to put off paying bills. Don’t. This will cost you much more in penalties and finance charges. Late payment charges can start at P400. You may want to pay only the minimum amount due on your credit card at this time, but be sure to honor all commitments to keep your credit in good shape.

4. Accept additional tasks. If you need extra money, be creative and find other sources of income to help you through this time. You might want to sell stuff on the side, offer tutorials, or run errands for people in exchange for a fee. Use your ingenuity so you can survive Ghost Month and similar downturns in the future.

5. Avoid unnecessary debt. The phantom month may prompt you to take out a loan to pay for your living expenses. While it’s not inherently wrong to borrow money, don’t do it unless absolutely necessary, such as in medical and other emergencies. Instead, try limiting your spending or postponing purchases until business picks up.

6. Start an emergency fund. The ghost month is a recurring phenomenon, and you will encounter many other slowdowns. For this reason, you may want to consider creating an emergency fund that you can use the next time it happens. Start at around 3-5% of your income. If you earn 20,000 P per month, it will be between 600 P and 1,000 P per month. Open a savings account where you can regularly deposit a fixed amount so that you have money to use the next time the ghost month arrives.

7. Stay positive. There’s nothing like having a positive attitude and disposition to get through those lows. Be aware that these are temporary and with a bit of belt tightening you can get over this bump. As things move slowly, focus on preparing for what might come your way. Don’t be discouraged, knowing that Ghost Month will soon be over and things will eventually get better.

Not everyone believes in the ghost month, but when it comes to business and especially financial transactions, preparation is key. You may not be religious, but the people you deal with may be. In such cases, err on the side of caution and be ready for anything. There is nothing to lose by simply being careful.


Grow Your Money is an editorial partnership between News.abs-cbn.com and Citi Philippines to promote financial education and provide useful information to Filipinos on how to better manage their personal finances.

Visit www.citibank.com.ph for more information.

Citi, make your money work, personal finance, August, September, ghost month, superstition

About Wilhelmina Go

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