Lunar New Year costs exceed many Chinese people's monthly pay: online poll

More than half are also worried they won't have enough budget to go home, survey results show

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 January, 2014, 2:23pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 January, 2014, 2:25pm

A majority of mainlanders say their spending during Lunar New Year celebrations costs more than they make in a month, with some even saying their expenditure is equivalent to their salary for six months, according to a recent online survey.

Seventy per cent of respondents in a Yanchang Evening News poll said they would spend the holiday in their hometown, but 57 per cent said they were afraid they would not have enough money for the weeklong festivities.

The online poll, which covered 611 respondents, also showed that 79 per cent of residents who were going home said the celebrations would cost more than their month’s pay. Of that figure, 15 per cent said they would lose half a year’s income on things such as travel tickets and gifts.

Fifty-nine per cent of the respondents said they spent between 2,000 yuan (HK$2,500) and 10,000 yuan, mainly on travel, lai see for their parents, clothes and going out with friends. Just 17 per cent said they would spend more than the 10,000 yuan cap.

Most online commenters questioned if 2,000 yuan was enough, with one saying a return train ticket in a hard-seat carriage to his hometown already cost 1,400 yuan.

Other netizens estimated that a month’s salary would not be enough. “If you have a family, you have to spend at least four months’ salary on New Year’s things,” wrote one commenter.

Another added: “Even three months’ wages is not enough to save face.”

But one Sina Weibo user shrugged off the money troubles, saying: “Spending a little more money to be with family and friends is reasonable.”

Among those who would not make it home, however, 25 per cent cited money as a reason, 8 per cent said they had to work overtime, another 8 per cent said they were bringing their parents over instead of travelling to their hometowns, wguke 4 per cent said they were afraid to go home as they might be forced into marriage.

Hundreds of millions of workers make the tough and overwhelmingly crowded journey to their hometowns for Lunar New Year, as many of them only get to see their families once a year.

Thirty-eight per cent of participants in the Yanchang survey said they most looked forward to seeing their parents over the holiday, while 32 per cent said they just wanted to stay at home and rest.