Ghost Month Dos and Don’ts: What is the Hungry Ghost Festival?

Ricky Publico

Ricky Publico

Last updated August 08, 2023

Our longstanding association with Chinese culture has introduced us to a wonderful world of traditions, from the delicious cuisine (Binondo food trip, anyone?) to the vibrant holidays. Another proof of our kinship with the said culture is our belief in various practices that are supposed to attract wealth and good fortune, such as the observance of Ghost Month.

But what is Ghost Month? Does it actually affect your finances? Read on for everything you need to know about Ghost Month dos and don'ts.

What is the Meaning of Ghost Month?

Also known as the Hungry Ghost Festival, Ghost Month is a belief that comes from Chinese Buddhists and Taoists. During this time, hungry ghosts are in the mortal world to bring bad luck and chaos. It bears some similarities with Halloween, though the latter has less grim overtones.  

You might ask what motivates the ghosts to cause mischief among the living during Ghost Month. It's believed that the ghosts emerging from the underworld are spirits who committed crimes and wronged others during their lifetime or those who died tragically.

Because these hungry ghosts have been robbed of joy in the underworld, they become drawn to food, fun, and prayers. They create mischiefs that cause unlucky situations.[1]

This is why during Ghost Month, many take extra precautions to avoid danger and misfortune. Some even choose to stay home and lie low to keep their luck from running out.

When Does Ghost Month Start and End in 2023 in the Philippines?

ghost month dos and don'ts - start and end of ghost month 2023

Traditionally, Ghost Month is observed during the seventh month of the Lunar Calendar. Since the Chinese New Year varies every year, the start of Ghost Month also changes.

The start of Ghost Month in 2023 is on August 16 and will end on September 14.

Ghost Month Dos and Don’ts for Money

If you’re observing Ghost Month in 2023, preserving your luck in different aspects of your life—particularly money—should be a priority. With that said, here are some Ghost Month dos and don’ts to help you keep your finances safe. 

✔️ Invest in Stocks

It’s not all bad during Ghost Month. Big investors and businessmen tend to avoid August because most of them believe it will affect their finances in the long run. This means the stock market is usually down during Ghost Month.

Take this opportunity to buy stocks for cheap, so you can sell them for a bigger profit once the next month rolls over. Don’t have an active investment yet? Then now would be a good time to get started.

Read more: Which Financial Products Are for You? Find Out From Industry Experts

✔️ Assess Your Current Ventures

Roll up your sleeves and take Ghost Month as an opportunity to assess your business and form a better strategy. Are you not doing enough promotions? How badly did inflation affect your business? Do you have enough manpower to run your operations? Do you need to start cost-cutting to survive?

Meanwhile, if you have investments, ask yourself if you should bulk up your stocks or further diversify your portfolio.

Ask these hard questions so you can come out of Ghost Month unscathed. 

Read more: Get Your Finances in Shape: 23 Goals to Add to Your List

✔️ Donate or Help Others

ghost month dos and don'ts - donate

You don’t need a Ghost Month dos and don’ts list to tell you that donating or helping others is a good thing to do. But since it’s Ghost Month, we might as well tie it to Chinese superstition.

It's believed that building good karma is a lot easier during Ghost Month. Helping others is one way to do it.

Besides, there are still a lot of families and individuals dealing with poverty and inflation. These people could really use some financial assistance during trying times.

✔️ Avoid Getting New Debts

If you run a business, you know that slow and low transactions are common during Ghost Month. People don't actively engage in business since they’re being extra careful. And that will have an impact on your income.

Since your business’ cash flow will be affected, postpone taking in unnecessary debts. To steer clear of such obligations, limit the use of your credit cards—pay in cash instead. If you’re applying for a loan to cover a non-urgent expense, you may want to hold it off and consider going for it once things start looking up.  

✔️ Build Your Emergency Fund  

Ghost Month or not, impulsive financial decisions can bring bad luck. Why not put that money somewhere important, like an emergency fund?

If you don't have one yet, now is the perfect time to start one. Set aside at least 10% to 20% of your pay consistently and you’re well on your way to building a dependable rainy day fund.

This money will help you deal with life’s uncertainties, such as job loss or the hospitalization of a loved one. It also keeps you from taking in new debts.

Pro tip: Create a robust emergency fund by putting your money in a high-yield savings account.

Read more: Best and Worst Places to Put Your Emergency Fund in the Philippines

Subscribe to the Moneymax newsletter

Don’t Start a New Business

What not to do during Ghost Month? This one usually tops the list: don’t start a business. During this period, some investors may be taking time off. Even for those who are too cool for ghosts, August is usually a slow month for sales.

Want your business to succeed? Set it up after Ghost Month. 

Use the downtime to check your business plan once more. Doing this will help ensure a smooth launch.

Don’t Make Big Purchases

ghost month dos and don'ts - big purchases

Making big purchases during Ghost Month is a big no-no, according to the Chinese. Feng shui experts say that buying a new car, phone, or other big-ticket items might make the ghosts jealous, attracting more bad luck your way. On the upside, you can set aside your money for other important purchases.

If you think your desire to make that purchase is about to overcome you, step back and ask yourself: Is it a want or a need? If it’s a need, can you delay it? How do you plan to pay for it? Are there more affordable alternatives?[2]

Probing yourself will help you see the big picture.

Read more: Impulsive Purchases and Financial Decisions You Need to Avoid

Don’t Move In to a New Place

The Chinese believe that moving to a new place during this time is not a good idea. Even if you believe yourself to be a carrier of positive vibes, you might bring bad spirits along and curse your new home in the process.

Don’t Schedule a Major Construction 

Upgrading your home? Or perhaps expanding the square footage of your shop? Either way, you may want to reschedule such a project since it’s Ghost Month.

Construction involves a lot of grinding, pounding, and drilling. These activities create noise and disturbance that attract hungry ghosts. In case construction or renovation already began before Ghost Month started, you’re advised to light incense every day.

During the postponement of your construction project, go through the plan and look for inconsistencies and missing details. Use the time to negotiate the rates with your contractor. Or if you still don't have one, you can start scouting and do your due diligence.

Don’t Throw Lavish Parties 

ghost month dos and don'ts - lavish parties

Hungry ghosts are attracted to large and lavish parties like weddings and birthdays because these events are said to make them jealous. As such, these spirits may be motivated to cause some bad luck. For instance, couples who tie the knot during this month may not get to enjoy a happily ever after.

If a celebration can’t be helped, just keep it simple. On the upside, you don’t have to invite a lot of people, which means you don’t have to spend a lot of money. Put the extra cash towards your emergency fund or stock market account instead.

Related reading: 7 Most Common Money Mistakes to Avoid in Your 20s

Final Thoughts

Superstition or not, there’s no reason to ignore any well-intentioned financial tip—especially if these tips can help you improve your personal finance, investments, or business.

But don’t think you can’t do anything fun or daring within the month. While these dos and don’ts for Ghost Month may seem restrictive, don't obsess over them and let them take over your life.

Apply for a personal loan through Moneymax


Ricky is the zaniest Product Marketing Manager at Moneymax, with over six years of writing experience in the digital marketing industry. He had written for SEO, cybersecurity, and other related industries prior to joining Moneymax. He also specializes in content writing, copywriting, and email marketing. He is a huge fan of pro-wrestling, One Piece, and smartphones in general. Follow Ricky on LinkedIn.


Use a personal loan to consolidate your outstanding debt at a lower interest rate!

Get the latest articles, promos, and deals straight to your inbox. Make us your weekly habit!