2nd June 2021: How the Idul Fitri holiday affected diarists’ personal expenses and revenues

Eid ul-Fitr or Idul Fitri as it is known in Indonesia is a big celebration across the country. During the celebrations, Indonesians usually wear new clothes and offer sweets and gifts to each other. It is no different in Temanggung and Wonosobo, Central Java, home to our corner shop diarists from Indonesia. Members of the community visited each other at their homes despite restrictions on travel in the middle of the pandemic.

The graph above shows the diarists’ total revenues and personal expenses from April to May, 2021. It shows a positive trend from the end of April to early May, 2021. The rising revenues in weeks 29 to 31 indicated that customers bought more supplies before Idul Fitri to prepare for the celebration. This explains the 34.5% increase of the average total revenue per week during those weeks near Idul Fitri. Understandably, the average personal expense per week shot up by 69.4%, while the percentage of personal expense of total revenue increased between before and near Idul Fitri. In week 27, the proportion of personal expenses took up to 9% of the revenue. But in week 31, it rose to 16%. 

We also analyzed the proportion of expenses during week 31 to see how the social and cultural habits played a part in the Idul Fitri spending. 

The pie chart suggests that clothing purchases contributed to 40% of the diarists’ total personal expenses[*]. The new clothes were not only for the diarists, but also for their families.

For instance, Utami, a mother of two, spent around IDR 1,200,000 (~USD 83.3) for new clothing. Meanwhile, Heri, albeit childless, spent IDR 1,250,000 (~USD 86.7) because he bought new clothes for his nephews. Such examples are commonplace during Idul Fitri in Indonesia. The tradition of buying new clothes also applies to those who follow other religions besides Islam. Mira, a Catholic, spent IDR 633,000 (~USD 43.8) to buy new apparel because she wanted to celebrate together with her Muslim relatives. 

Diarists had different ways to cover their extra expenses during Idul Fitri. Fatimah said she prepared for Idul Fitri by taking some of her savings from CU Lestari, a microfinance institution, while Heri took a loan worth IDR 10,000,000 (~USD 694) in March, 2021. Besides using the loan to restock goods for his shop, he also prepared the money for extra expenses during Idul Fitri.

Utami said on a phone call with us in early June, 2021 that she was overworked during Idul Fitri. “I had to close my corner shop several times during the week to visit relatives and neighbors. I even forgot what I spent my money on because I was really busy,” said Utami. However, as the festive season ended, diarists gradually returned to their routines, including reopening the corner shops to recover their financial flow. 

External events, such as social or religious events influence the financial decision-making of the diarists, particularly in a close-knit community. Social pressure continues to affect the diarists’ decisions to sustain the traditions, despite the pandemic or motivation to save more money. 

[*] Household expenses include house rent, transportation, cash gift, groceries, religious expenses, cigarette or tobacco, food at home, salary of domestic help, sweets or snacks, vegetable, expenses on cooking fuel, food bought from outside, such as snacks and soft drinks, jewelry, toiletries, and non-vegetable items.

[**] Utilities include water charges, bill for post-paid phone, internet bill, and electricity charges

Last Updated: August 10, 2021