It is that time of the year when Muslims embark on the religious endeavour of fasting – the Holy Month of Ramadan. Arguably, many households tend to spend more on food during Ramadan. This may appear counter-intuitive since we should eat less. However, the reason may not also be farfetched since we tend to give more sadaqah (charity), pay zakat, sponsor iftar, spend on Eid celebration and several others. Along the line, many drift off-budget and struggle with an unprecedented financial constraint afterwards. To keep your finances in check during the Holy Month, consider doing the following;
- Prepare a budget – it is not too late to draw a budget detailing your source(s) of income during the Month and essential expenditures. Consider making your expense list wholesome to cover from the 1st of Ramadan to Eid. In the process of doing that, ask yourself if you are spending on the right course; sadaqah, zakat etc. and not extravagantly on iftar. Whatever expenses you come up with, ensure that they match your income and not run into debt.
- Estimate your zakat early and set the money aside – zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam. Before you get lost in the tons of expenses you have outlined, try to calculate how much you are offering for zakat and save the money elsewhere until it’s time to disburse to the intended recipients. Doing this does not only help you fulfil your obligations; paying zakat is also a sure-fire investment that generates inestimable returns
- Buy all you need early – you should not delay till Eid draws near before getting your Eid dress, gift items etc. Doing so may cost you more as things generally become pricey during festive seasons. Moreover, what you intend to purchase could become scarce by then since others may have been quick to get them off the shelf before you
- Have an emergency fund– perhaps you may run out of gas while cooking iftar, or your car breaks down when heading to the mosque for Taraweeh. For such and many other unplanned events, it will be a good idea to have some funds locked up somewhere, so you don’t get caught off-guard
- Take advantage of Ramadan promo sales – Lastly, why pay more for less when you can get more for less? Before you make that purchase, be sure there is no Ramadan discount for it elsewhere. Taking advantage of such bargain purchases helps you save or spend on more rewarding courses.
By Muideen Abubakar