Manage Your Money This Ramadan
The most sacred month of the year for Muslims has arrived. Ramadan is a time of contemplation, reflection and increased devotion to and worship of God the almighty. For most of us Indonesians, Ramadan is also a special time of the year when we do things that are usually reserved for this month only.
Attending an iftar (evening meal) with family or friends, wandering the mall or a bookstore while waiting the time for breaking the fast to come, shopping for new outfits for Eid as well as other necessities during the holy month and making the annual ritual trip of going back to one’s home town, also known as mudik – these are the special activities Indonesians do during Ramadan. And these activities are not exclusive to the Muslims; followers of other religions sometimes take part in them too.
But all these fun, exciting events that come with the holy month can quickly put a strain on your budget. You might find that a little bit of financial planning is needed to keep your money in check. Here are some tips from Mekar for managing your money this Ramadan:
1. Know your sources of income
In managing your money, it is important to know your sources of income. Apart from your monthly wage or other form of regular income, this month some of you might receive an annual holiday bonus or what Indonesians call THR, or any other kind of bonuses from your employer.
You may also have set aside some money throughout the year that you can use to pay for all your needs during this one special month and for the big Eid day. Some of you might have previously invested your money somewhere and maybe now it has delivered some returns. If you have invested in small business loans through Mekar, you may want to check if any of those loans has matured. The returns from your investment can be a quite significant source of income.
2. Plan your expenses
Plan your expenses for the month, and stick to it! Budgeting for all your Ramadan needs will give you a clear picture of how much money you need to be able to satisfy them. Then, review your budget – if your expenses are higher than your expected income, you will have to drop one or more activities or purchases off your list, or find more sources of income.
Start by making a list of all the things you will be spending money on. For example, if you are planning to attend five iftar gatherings throughout Ramadan, then you will have to make a budget for each of them. Also remember to allocate money to buy food for your daily sahur (pre-dawn meal) and for breaking the fast. Other purchases to consider are necessities for the Eid al-Fitr celebration, gifts for family, expenses during mudik, alms and the obligatory zakat-ul-fitr charity.
Prevent overspending by not making impulse purchases of excessive amount of food or stuff that you don’t really need. It is, understandably, not easy to avoid the temptation of making a spontaneous purchase, especially when you are waiting for the time to break your fast at a mall or a grocery store. In such occasion, always remember that you have a budget to stick to.
3. Keep track of your spending
Keep a record of your daily expenses. This will help you keep track of the amount of money you have spent and analyze if your spending is higher or lower than planned. This way, you will get even more motivated to spend less and save more.
4. Save for next Ramadan
Of course, there is no wrong in having fun and enjoying the hard work you have put in throughout the year by splurging a little bit. But, don’t forget that Ramadan is coming again next year. So make sure that you have enough sources of income and start saving so you will be financially fit for the next Ramadan. You can start preparing for next year’s Ramadan now by saving your money in a bank savings account or a time deposit.
You can also invest some of your money and grow it, rather than having it sitting in a savings account earning you next to nothing. There are many kinds of investments to choose from. One investment alternative that is safe, profitable and have a positive social impact to the local economy and the environment is offered by Mekar. This peer-to-peer lending platform lets you invest in small business loans and earn a return of 10% a year, much higher than the average savings or time deposit interest rate. If you are looking to invest just a small amount of money, you can go to Mekar’s website Mekar.id and finance small business loans starting at Rp 1 million. Seasoned investors with more cash can finance these loans in bulk.
Learn more about investing through Mekar at https://mekar.id.