5 Tips To Stop Yourself From Overspending This Ramadan
It may be ironic, or even pushed by commerce, but spending tends to be on the rise during the Ramadan month (ninth in Muslim calendar) where Muslims are told to keep things to bare minimum, and fast during the day time (with times allocated region-wise). Overall, it is believed that the month teaches patience, modesty, and spirituality among Muslim. There are even those who are not of the Islamic faith who also practises fasting to accompany their Muslim friends during this period. Not to mention, plenty of other religions that also practise fasting of some sort, such as Lent for the Christians, or Virutham for the Hindus.
The Islamic calendar is based on lunar cycles, so it retrogresses about two weeks backwards every year. What used to be the fasting month a few years ago may not be the same today and therefore, it is important to be alert and keep that in mind when you are saving up for the festive season and plan your budget for that vital period of time.
Here are some pointers on planning a thrifty Ramadan this year, where sometimes consumerism can be overwhelming at times.
1. Moderation is healthy physically and financially
We have all heard it before; folks actually tend to put on weight during puasa period, no matter which religion they are in, simply because they tend to over-compensate their stomach’s need after abstaining from eating and drinking for hours. As for the Ramadan, we are all very inclined to spend the most at the bazaars available everywhere throughout the month.
There are choices of dishes in various stalls that you can choose from. You can plan wisely on what you need to avoid wastage later. In the excitement, you may not remember how much you have spent on one evening alone.
Before you hit the bazaar, set a budget. If you are buying food for iftar for yourself, limit your spending to under RM15, if possible, less. You can also just bring RM15 with you to avoid breaking your budget. There is always a tendency to spend more when you are hungry. All the same, keep an eye on your wallet or purse.
2. Set out the blueprint
During this holly month, it is good to have a financial blueprint set out so that you do not overspend. Remember your financial commitments don’t stop for the fasting month. It’s easy to be swayed to spend more with all the buffets and sales so it’s good to prepare a plan before you start so you know how much you can and cannot afford.
As mentioned, spending tends to go up during this time and it is important that you balance your budget well, considering Hari Raya is coming right after, where spending may go over the roof (sometimes literally if you consider the fireworks).
Cut back on other expenses during the month to accommodate other expenses. One place you can cut down on is entertainment. For example, make fewer trips to the cinema during this period. Ensure your spending does not skyrocket.
Fasting is a great opportunity to keep you aground and assess your financial situation as you prepare for the day of festivity. Always be prudent, and use Ramadan month as a good platform to practice your financial acumen.
3. Shop one at a time
No matter which nationality you are or which race or religion you belong to, gluttony is a very human trait that we sometimes can’t avoid. Whether you are a Muslim or not, the Ramadan bazaar is a prime example where one’s heart just stops (not yet clogged by cholesterol hopefully) admiring array of dishes, drinks and desserts. That’s triple delight for you; and if you are not careful, triple bypass.
Spending is unavoidable in preparation for Raya. However, if you are shopping for new clothes, you can start buying or commissioning your tailor to make them in advance, to take advantage of sale seasons throughout the year. Instead of squeezing all your expenditures into one month, spread out your expenses over a few months so you won’t be overwhelmed.
Take it easy and remember the original intent of fasting in the first place. This is a month for you to keep a check on your physical and monetary health.
4. Avoid lavish buka puasa events
This particular point may be disagreed by those in the sales or public relations department, but there’s no doubt about it, these can get expensive. Keep in mind that even though you feel hungry, you’ll find it hard to eat enough to make the expenditure worthwhile since your body is actually able to eat less after a long period of fasting.
If you can’t live without a buffet for buka puasa, plan in advance, and limit how many times you patron a hotel or restaurants for buffets during this period.
Hotels and restaurants may offer good deals, but when it comes to mass consumption, they are still big expenses compared to quiet meals at home to break the fast with your family and friends.
5. Continue saving for rainy days
Whatever you spend on during this month and the upcoming festive days, make sure you keep your saving activities running (common wisdom says put aside a minimum of 10% of your salary for this purpose).
In fact, you may have already a separate saving that you intent to use to splurge during this once-a-year event, which is fine, but do not forget that life moves on after the festive season and you’ll need your savings prepared for whatever may come.
It is a time to save your energy; keep your mind at peace, and to resist urges to keep your spending as modest as possible.
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