High Spending during Spring Festival Triggers Anxiety

High Spending during Spring Festival Triggers Anxiety

Most Chinese enjoy sharing the happiness of the Spring Festival, the Chinese New Year holiday, with their families, even if it means they have to spend more money than they originally planned.

However, as this kind of sweet burden becomes heavier each year, more and more people begin to feel apprehensive about the Spring Festival family reunion.

Zhang Ru has the story.

As the Spring Festival ends, people have posted various bills of the money they spent during the Spring Festival on the internet. This has stirred heated discussions about the costs of nationwide family-gathering holidays.

Gu Jun, who works in the internet industry in Beijing, posted his Spring Festival bill on Weibo, the popular Twitter-like Chinese social networking website. According to his recording, he spent more than 10-thousand RMB, or about 1,600 U.S. dollars, on various expenses during the Spring Festival holiday. He says he always spends more than he budgets for during the holiday and feels it is just too much.

"In fact, I had made a budget for the red envelopes, or cash gifts, before the Spring Festival. It was about one month's salary for me, which was five-thousand yuan, or about 800 U.S. dollars. But the actual cost far exceeded my budget up to about twice the original estimate. So I posted my spending record on the net."

Gu Jun is not the only one publicizing his holiday expenses. As people return from the holiday, they are doing it on all kinds of social networking websites or online forums. Looking through their Spring Festival expenses, you'll see that although the total amounts are different, most of the costs are more than twice each poster's monthly salary.

Netizens say that 10-thousand yuan is the standard total spending amount during the Spring Festival. This has stressed out young people who have just started working.

Some netizens joke that the Spring Festival has turned into "spring robbery." They complain they nearly went bankrupt after parties with family and friends during the holiday.

They say their five big spending items during the festival were new clothes and special purchases, red envelopes for both young and old alike, meals and entertainment for family and friends, gifts for family members and friends, and last but not the least, traffic fees. An internet survey on Spring Festival expenses indicates that about 40 percent of those polled said they had spent more than five-thousand yuan. Nearly 30 percent said they spent nearly 10-thousand yuan.

Many netizens joke they have become members of the "home-fear group," which refers to people who can't bear the thought of going back home, especially migrant workers. Besides all kinds of extra spending during the end of the year and the difficulty of buying train or airline tickets, it appears there's even a psychological burden for members of the home-fear group, as Gu Jun tells us.

"At every yearend, those in the home-fear group are also looking forward to going back home, too. But we are afraid of facing problems at home. The relatives and friends back home might think that we live a better and more exciting life in the outside world. They hope we can bring back some fashionable or catchy stuff and more money every year. But actually, our lives may not be that wonderful. We don't want to lose face. On the other hand, we don't want to disappoint them either."