With Ramadan upon us, our minds are focused on the barakah that we want to obtain and all the good deeds that we want to squeeze into our day. Thinking about the amount of self-control that we use during Ramadan, there is a real opportunity for us to master this discipline on a larger scale. With all the effort we put into making our Ramadan great, we have the untapped potential to make other aspects of our life great as well. Take the opportunity this Ramadan to get your finances in shape. Utilize this discipline and motivation to get out of debt: in other words, let Ramadan be your financial manager.
In a world of self-gratification, where society encourages us to say, do and be whatever we want, Islam teaches us to control and discipline for self-preservation. Let’s look at this from the aspect of money and transactions. When going to the mall, passing by a store, reading a magazine, or observing another person’s possessions, our nature to want what we don’t have comes through like a bolt of lightning. What is it then, that stops us from going out and getting what we want if we can have it? We can control ourselves and our actions. During Ramadan, this same ability kicks into hyperdrive. Our senses are heightened and our minds are much more aware of what we are doing, thinking, and feeling. This is exactly the state that we need to be in if we want to develop good money habits that will stick.
Make An Intention
As you are reading this, make the intention right now to get out of debt and manage your money better. Intend to do this for the sake of Allah (SWT). Anything done for the sake of Allah (SWT) can heighten our awareness because our love of Allah (SWT) encourages us to do the task well. An intention has to be like a decision that you make with absolute and unwavering certainty. It is not a wish or a dream; it is something you want to accomplish with focus and determination.
Once you have made your intention, make dua to Allah (SWT) for this to be easy and attainable, and for the month of Ramadan to act as a foundation for what you have intended. The ability to ask Allah (SWT) for help and support is a wonderful gift and it holds great powers of motivation for the one who is asking.
Organize Your Finances
Get your financial situation organized before Ramadan. One common aspect that prevents us from doing this regularly is being in debt. However, what’s interesting is that you feel less in debt once you have organized yourself. Knowing exactly what you owe is more comforting than not knowing, even with large debts. Create a budget for the rest of the year that covers all your major and fun expenses, anticipates surprises and leaves room for some savings. You also want to cease all impulse purchases immediately; they eat into your budget and you are left scrambling to balance the rest of the month.
Think about where you will spend most of your time during Ramadan. These are places where you are susceptible to unplanned spending. At work, depending on the season, there might be events that you are asked to participate in that require you to pay. Be wary of these. Also, If you are someone who buys lunch at work often, you will save money during Ramadan. However, the masjid is a great place to spend your money because you are spending in the way of Allah (SWT). Often, larger masjids have shops that you might want to be careful about visiting to prevent impulse purchases. Make sure that your budget includes money that you want to give to the masjid so that you are not making that decision at the last minute. The riskiest time is when you are shopping. Studies show that an empty stomach can impact a person’s ability to make decisions. This is especially true when making financial decisions and purchases. Being aware of one’s tendencies and the surrounding risks can aid in reducing the likelihood of unplanned spending.
Budget Your Spending
Be mindful of your critical spending moments and budget for them before Ramadan. The month of Ramadan is such that all good deeds are multiplied. This includes charitable donations and what better time to give sadaqah than this month? It is common for many to give their annual zakah this month in addition to Zakat-ul-Fitr. If you are amongst them, then be prepared with your calculations so that you are confident and organized about how much to give.
Ramadan can be your financial boot camp if you let it. Monitor and change your financial habits during this month and you are sure to see an improvement. Maintain this practice beyond Ramadan and before you know it, debt and financial trouble will be a thing of the past, Insha Allah.
Written by Navin Siddiqui, originally posted on sistersmagazine.com