Ramadan is half way through by now, and we feel that it’s a good time to think about the lessons that we learn from it each year. It’s the time of the year when Muslims are obligated to fast for 30 days. During this month, Muslims especially increase their religious deeds, charitable activities, and good acts in general.
Every year, Ramadan comes with a strong sense of hope. Throughout this very special month, Muslims believe that their rewards for doing good deeds are greatly maximized. With that, this is the best time for them to work on improving virtually all aspects of their lives.
Yet, no matter what our religious beliefs are, Ramadan has plenty to teach us in living a purposeful life. When it comes to managing our money, these are lessons that we could learn from Ramadan.
1. Take the time to reflect
The journey to improvement begins with self-reflection. Muslims during Ramadan are encouraged to reflect on their current spiritual state in order to be closer to God. From that they could have a clear picture of the bad habits that they wish to break, as well as good habits that they wish to nurture.
It’s just as important for us to take the time to reflect on our current financial habits, so that we could be on track with our financial goals. For example, it is worth asking ourselves if we had been saving or investing as much as we’d like to, or if we had been working on that side business that we had thought so often about. Whatever our financial goals may be, self-reflection can go a long way towards achieving them.
2. Review your financial goals often
Each night during Ramadan, Muslims are required to renew their intentions for fasting the next day. It is a way to ensure that they stay focused on the deed, as well as its purpose. Because the more something becomes a habit, the more likely we are to take it for granted.
Similarly, it would be a good practice to consistently review our financial goals. For example, we should keep track of our daily spending to ensure that we are sticking to our planned budget. It’s easy to forget how much you are spending when you are preparing food for breaking fast or planning for the festive celebrations ahead.
You could make a note to check in on your finances every week and do a review at the end of every month. This way we could avoid being complacent on our financial goals, and continuously improve on our shortcomings.
3. Be mindful about your spending
Fasting isn’t simply about being hungry and tired, as it is a way to cultivate mindfulness. As things that were normally permissible (such as eating and drinking) are now not allowed, it forces us to be more rational instead of mindlessly following our impulses. With that we would become more intentional and purposeful in our actions.
It is useful to have the same mindfulness when managing our money. Rather than going on auto-pilot in our spending and making one impulsive purchase after another, we must have the self-discipline to stick to our budget, live within our means, as well as invest for the long term.
One method of doing this is to use a budgeting app and carefully take note of everything you spend. You could also resolve to use e-wallets as much as possible, as they will automatically log every purchase – reducing the chance that you forget to write down something that you bought.
4. Give away to the needy
Ramadan is a time of giving. It reminds us to always count our blessings and help the needy. While being in a state of hunger and exhaustion might just be “a Ramadan thing” for many of us, it is an everyday thing for millions of people who are less fortunate. And that’s why during this month, Muslims are obligated to pay zakat fitrah, or a charitable donation.
While we work on building our own wealth, we must not forget to use some of it to help the needy. Wealth is only meaningful when you have other people to share it with. Plus, it might be a good idea for you to look for a credit card that gives back to charity. For example, the HSBC Amanah Premier World MasterCard-i contributes 1% of your spending to charity organizations.
5. Push through challenges
Needless to say, fasting can be challenging. Yet, as challenging as it can be, it ends with us breaking our fast at dusk every day. It teaches us that if we only persevere a little longer, we will find the ease that we are looking for.
Some of us might be struggling to get out of debt, or to balance a side hustle with a full-time job. And not to mention the difficult pandemic situation that we are still facing at the moment. But that doesn’t mean that our situation will stay this way forever. Sooner or later, things do get better. We just have to keep pushing forward.