How Much To Give In Your Lunar New Year Hongbao – A Handy Guide

Whether you’re giving out red packets for the first time, or aren’t sure if the market rates have changed, this guide will come in handy.

By Mandy Lim Beitler      11 February 2021

Facebook: Not sure how much to give your neighbour’s kids, or your younger cousin-in-law? Take a quick look at our guide!

The first thing to keep in mind is to stick to even number amounts. Odd numbers are considered inauspicious and typically reserved for funerals. That means steering clear of amounts such as $5, $15, and $30. To be on the safe side, you may also want to avoid $4, which despite being an even number, sounds like the word for ‘death’ in many Chinese dialects.

The amount to give each person generally depends on how close you are to them. “Blood is thicker than water” applies, so a rule of thumb is that (unmarried) relatives and family members get more than friends’ kids, for instance. Still, there are no hard and fast rules, so give only what you can afford. At the end of the day, it’s the thought – and well wishes that go with each hongbao – that counts.

(Grand)Parents And (Grand)Parents-in-Law: $88 And Up

Your parents and grandparents are the ones who gave you life, so they rank tops on the hierarchy of hongbao rates. Also, they are pretty much the only generation who receive red packets despite not qualifying as ‘unmarried’. Put big smiles on their faces with auspicious amounts like $88, $168, $288, and so on.

Your Own Children: $60 To $100

They’re your offspring, so the decision is entirely yours. Again, it depends on your financial situation, and you may also see it as helping to grow your kids’ savings account. On average, most parents these days tend to reward their kids with at least $60 – together with a reminder to be good and study hard!


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