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2019 – Year of the Piggy Bank


New Year traditionally offers a chance to make a fresh start as welcome the start of spring. While many Chinese people celebrate the holiday by exchanging red envelopes, known as hóngbāo in Mandarin or lai see in Cantonese, these envelopes contain money as a sign of good luck. With 2019 being linked to the pig, it’s the perfect opportunity to consider how to look after your piggy bank this year.

Red - the colour of luck?

Whilst we might associate “being in the red” and red as a financially negative colour, In China red is considered a colour of luck and wealth. People decorate their homes with red decorations and add red clothing to their wardrobes for New Year.

If you didn’t already make yourself a financial resolution in January, Chinese New Year provides a second opportunity to consider exactly what we need and how to turn negative ideas surrounding saving into a more positive way forward.

Budgeting and compromising is key to help you save. Think about which small changes you can make to add a few more pennies or pounds to your piggy bank each week which are likely to add up quickly. Here are a few suggestions…

  • Swap your take-out coffee for a reusable flask from home every day.
  • Cut your gym membership if you don’t use it - especially if you’ve just joined last month!
  • Use your freezer and avoid food and financial waste by planning meals properly and making full use of your home freezer.
  • Focus on the outcomes from the savings, not the compromise you’re making today.

Stocking Up and Feeding Up

It is tradition to eat either dumplings or spring rolls in China for New Year. Help yourself to save by making a meal-plan for the week’s ahead and bulk buy on certain items of food.

By writing a list before you shop, you are more likely to stick to what is on it. But also compare prices and quantities by shopping around and looking for the best deals. As supermarkets become more competitive, you can take full advantage to save more in 2019.

Chinese Lantern Festival - Light at the end of the tunnel

On the final day of the Chinese New Year Festival, there is a Lantern Festival to celebrate. It’s important to remember that, whilst making changes to your day-to-day life may be difficult, a little compromise now provides peace of mind in the future. Chinese New Year and the ‘Year of the Pig’ encourages making those changes to become more thoughtful around savings and to enjoy the rewards that come our way as a result.

The red envelopes are a way of teaching children how to save money. They’re often encouraged to deposit it.

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