Living in times where there is an epidemic of impulsive shopping and extravagant spending it is important that we stay informed about how to manage our finances as a Muslimah. We all are aware of the fact that one of the most important duties of the wife is to guard the wealth of her husband in his absence. In the organization of a family, if the husband is the CEO, the wife naturally assumes the responsibility of the CFO (Chief Financial Officer). Holding such a big position warrants that the women should know some tips and tricks on how to carefully manage the finances and start saving for putting the money to better use. Here are some important points you should keep in mind about managing the finances:
1. Stay Away From Credit Cards: Debt is something very serious in Islam and we know how our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAS) has warned us and urged us to stay away it as much as possible. We often come across people who justify its use saying that they pay off the bills before they have to pay the interest, so it is not *technically* haram, but whom are we trying to cheat? The moment a person signs the form to get the credit card, it means he accepts that he will pay interest on the amount borrowed for a particular term. A person who pays interest and who stands as a witness are seen as the same who takes interest so, please, my dear sisters, urge your husbands not to use the credit card and if you have one, don’t use it too. Also, be wary of those *free credit cards* which comes with the opening of a new account, etc. The kind of financial system we are living in forces us to use things that are otherwise prohibited in Islam, by giving us such things for free. Stay informed and stay away.
Al-Nasaa’i (4605) narrated that Muhammad ibn Jahsh (may Allaah be pleased with him) said:
We were sitting with the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) when he raised his head towards the sky, then he put his palm on his forehead and said: “Subhaan-Allaah! What a strict issue has been revealed to me!” We remained silent and were afraid. The following morning I asked him, “O Messenger of Allaah, what is this strict issue that has been revealed?” He said, “By the One in Whose hand is my soul, if a man were killed in battle for the sake of Allaah, then brought back to life, then killed and brought back to life again, then killed, and he owed a debt, he would not enter Paradise until his debt was paid off.” Classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Nasaa’i, 4367.
2. Make a Shopping List: Financial discipline begins with proper planning. Don’t step out to the supermarket without the list in your hand, or at least in your mind. That ways, you will know what you exactly need and will not end up in spending your hard earned money on things that are completely unnecessary. Have you ever wondered why you have to walk such a long distance to reach that bottle of milk or eggs in the supermarket? How many times have you bought that bar of chocolate from the billing counter, without even realizing that you didn’t plan to buy one? There is something called ‘Impulsive Buying’ in Marketing, which you buy on an impulse when you find something attractive even though there is no need. That gives the supermarkets a lot of profit and leaves you with a big drain on your savings. Have you noticed that the cheaper brands of lentils and spices are kept on the lower rack and the one that is kept in the middle are the most attractive and priciest? Marketing specialists and retail giants are always on a hunt for their share of your wallet-don’t give them way. Phrases like “Shop till you drop”, “Shopping Therapy”, “Retail Therapy” are all very common these days and makes us feel like shopping extravagantly is not all that bad. But, remember we are answerable for every Dirham that we spend, so better to be careful than to be sorry later on.
3. Be Conscious of your Behaviour as a Consumer: In a recent study, researchers have found that going out for shopping hungry makes you buy more than what you intend to. Ghrelin, the hormone that is released when we are hungry, makes food appear tastier and also enhances the brain’s ability to notice individual items of food more clearly. It is fascinating to see the level of research and studies that go into tracking the consumer behaviour and using it for the benefits of companies? Can you believe that technologies used in medical fields like functional MRI, EEG and biometrics are extensively used in learning and changing consumer behaviour called Neuromarketing? It may sound like something you read in fiction, but remember, it is a fact. Develop a deep sense of accountability every time you spend your money, you didn’t get it so easily.
4. Buying things on a Sale: We all get excited when we see a SALE going around at our favourite stores right? Make a plan: buying clothes and toys for your children during a sale will save you a lot of money and it is worth waiting for a sale to happen. Also look for deals on the internet (don’t waste a lot of time) and buy things. As always, remember that you may tend to buy a lot more than you need just because something is on sale or is cheap. Be careful of these traps and be a smart buyer. Know where to get what at the best price: the supermarket near your home may have cheaper vegetables, you may get your cooking oils and spices for a lower price at the hypermarkets. It is also good to buy fruits and vegetables from the market directly, which can also save you a lot of money.
5. Teach your Children about the Value of Money: Does your child always wants something new and pester you every time you go to the supermarket? You may buy something for 10 Dhs to calm him down at the moment, but his/her demands only keep increasing. Spending that small amount will not make a big impact on your savings, however, it might make our children not understand the value of money. So, if you buy a set of toys, give them one by one and not all of them at once. Whenever you pass by a construction site, tell them stories about the workers and how hard they have to work to earn money. Encourage sharing and make them be happy with what they have.
6. Be Wary of Schemes like “Zero Loss on Gold Exchange”: This is one of the most famous marketing tricks of gold jewellers and as always we want something new to wear this Eid, so isn’t it a good option to exchange old for new? There is no harm in buying things we like, but keep these things in mind before you head out to that jewellery shop: a) If you have a necklace that weighs 100 gms, you cannot exchange that for another new one with the same weight. You have to either pay around 15-20% as making charges of the total value of the new gold jewellery or can take only 80 gms of a new one. b) there is a good chance that they reduce at least 4 Dhs per gram if your jewellery was bought in India or some other country. There will always be some amount of reductions, so make a careful choice. c) You have to pay for the total weight in gold even if it is made of stones. For example, if you are buying a pair of earrings studded with semi precious stones weighing 8 grams in total and 2 grams in stones-it means it only has 6 grams of gold. In most of the shops, you have to pay for the total 8 grams in gold only. Also remember you are going to suffer a loss when you exchange.
Islam encourages us to spend our money wisely and not hoard it. We should be careful in spending and but at the same time we should not be miserly. As a smart Muslimah, we must make sure that at least a small amount of money goes into the savings. Money spent on wasteful expenditures should be controlled and spent on charity, good quality education on our children, eating good, healthy food, investing in halal businesses, giving loans, etc. Make your intentions sincere dnd seek the help of Allah swt, you will clearly be able to see Barakah in everything.