It’s always a great time during Ramadan because there’s an excess of everything – food, clothes, really joyous Raya songs played too early. We’re never spoilt for choice during the month of Ramadan and yet I still don’t know what to eat to break my fast today.
But it’s very easy to drown in all the grandiosity and forget the reason we’re fasting in the first place- to empathise with those that are not so privileged enough to have food on their tables. As well as to practice prudence, better health and be charitable in our everyday lives. Let’s look how to save money this Ramadan.
1. Bake your own kuih (or everything really)
I had the privilege to live overseas when I was younger in England, but during Ramadan season, that meant there was no bazaar Ramadan, no kuih, no streetside lemang and definitely no multicoloured moutains of balangs of kuih raya at the grocers. OH it was horrible.
But my family became extra resourceful, my mom learnt how to makeshift lemangs from foil, my dad barbequed handmade satay and I used my skill of baking to learn as many kuih recipes I could. With the help of a friend I even took it next level by making a business out of it (the childpreneur before the ladypreneur I guess).
So, even though it might take a bit more time and effort, but you can totally save some money by making your own kuih raya home. And you could even make it a family affair by getting the kids into it!
2. Don’t buy new clothes
Raya-euphoria is most felt when shopping. Don’t lie, you totally have a colour-scheme planned for the whole family and probably have your raya clothes in the cart just waiting to be bought. And I totally relate to eyeing those ridiculously cute but uncomfortable shoes. Sis, I know.
But whilst retail therapy is fun, it’s not exactly fun for your bank account. And let’s be real with ourselves, how many times a year do we actually even wear our Raya outfits outside of actual raya?
My guess would be around 3-5 times a year only. And whilst it’s great to celebrate Raya looking snatched. We have to remember that clothes are most of the time made from polyester which takes 20-200 years to decompose and that the fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries in the world. So if your one the hunt for a new raya outfit, maybe sift through all the previous Raya outfits first and think deeply before making purchase. It’s never unfashionable when you’re making educated choices.
3. Avoid buffets
I think we’re all a bit guilty of gluttony during the month of Ramadan, everything’s just so delicious when you can’t eat it, right? And nothing sounds better than a buffet post-13 (or more) hours of not eating. But it’s important to remember that during fasting we become full very fast when we break fast. This relates to the hormone, Ghrelin, which controls appetite and weight gain. In some studies, after three days of fasting, Ghrelin levels decreases causing you to feel full faster and acts as if your stomach has shrunk.
So is spending a ton of money on an extravagant buffet really worth it when you probably won’t eat the money’s worth of food? We also have to remember that you’re not only wasting money but food too as up to 270,000 tonnes of food go to waste during Ramadan.
4. Set a financial limit
It’s easy to get a bit (a lot) starry-eyed when buying food for breaking fast or even grocery shopping the month of Ramadan. I myself have made the mistake of indulging in food to the extent that I cringed at the bill. It’s no surprise that a large portion of our expenses are attributed to food. But since you’re only eating two meals a day, you can use the opportunity to challenge yourself to financially plan out your meals.
For example, you can set a daily limit for the amount of money you can spend a day for your meals. It can be adjusted to your own needs of course, set limits per day or week, maybe have a cheat day where you’re able to splurge on a nice meal for iftar.
Don’t make this a chore, but rather treat it as a challenge to save more and more money so that even after Ramadan you’ll be able to be more cost-effective when it comes to your daily meals.
Want to know more Tips on a Waste-Free Ramadan? Read this other article!