by K.T.Lynn (in collaboration with Team AYEINA)
“…And to Allah from the people is a pilgrimage to the House – for whoever is able to find thereto a way…” [Quran – 3:97]
The Hajj pilgrimage is one of the five pillars of Islam — mandatory for every Muslim that is physically and financially able to make the journey. The pilgrimage runs a course of five days, the 8th to the 12th of Dhul Hijjah, the last month of the Islamic (Hijri) calendar.
As mentioned in Al Arabiya News: “Unless you are a Saudi resident, undertaking Hajj is not cheap. Some experts say that costs have risen dramatically in recent years from countries such as the U.S. and UK. Expect to pay from around $3,000 to $10,000, or even more if you live in a country very far away from the kingdom”.
Five Tips on Saving for Hajj
1) Review your current situation & set a realistic goal
Ask yourself the following questions
•What is the total worth of my assets?
•How much do I spend on housing, transportation, food, entertainment, etc?
2) Set your long term financial target
In order to budget for Hajj, you will need to have a long term monetary target. Research local Hajj vendors and travel agencies to get an estimate on the price of Hajj travel packages. Add an extra 10% for travel essentials, unexpected costs, charity, and souvenirs. For eg: a meal for one may be around 10-40 saudi riyals ($3-$10 usd approx.) depending on what type of food you have), haircut/head-shaving is 20-30 SAR approx., sacrifice is 400-500 SAR approx. etc. (Although with any decent package, your food during hajj/aziziyah/mina days will be included, but it’s best to inquire such things from the travel agent you are considering to purchase the package from).
Automate your bill payments to avoid paying costly late fees. Automate savings deposits to build up an emergency fund. Don’t wait until you have cleared all debt to start saving. An emergency fund will prevent you from going into further debt when emergencies or unplanned expenses occur. To keep yourself from spending your savings, put it into an account separate from your daily banking. The old adage “Out of sight, out of mind” rings true here. Prioritize wiping out debt, especially debts dealing with interest.
“…Allah has permitted trade and has forbidden interest. So whoever has received an admonition from his Lord and desists may have what is past, and his affair rests with Allah . But whoever returns to – those are the companions of the Fire; they will abide eternally therein.” [Quran – 2:275]
Free budgeting printables/Financial Planners
Set your target and commit. Long term goals can seem daunting, but don’t fret. You don’t need to scale an entire mountain in a day. A budget plan will show you how to reach your goals, step by step. Following are some of the free printable planners for budgeting to help you begin in shaa Allah:
1) Family Binder Budgeting Printables by cleanandscentsible
2) Budget Binder by iheartorganizing
3) Family Budget Worksheet by amomstake
4) Financial Planner by pinchalittlesavealot
5) Printable Budget Sheets by printablecrush
3) Reduce your essential expenses
In order to save your desired amount, you will need to free up some of your money. You can do that by increasing your cash flow, reducing expenses, or a combination of both. The first step to do this is to take stock of your needs. A good rule of thumb to follow is to pay no more than 50% of your take home pay towards essentials. Essential expenses include four main categories: housing, transportation, groceries and utilities. If you are spending more than 50% on housing, transportation, groceries, or utilities – examine ways to cut back.
“A human being fills no worse vessel than his stomach. It is sufficient for a human being to eat a few mouthfuls to keep his spine straight. But if he must (fill it), then one third of food, one third for drink and one third for air.” [Ibn Majah]
Depending on your lifestyle, reducing your transportation costs can be quiet simple. The following are small changes you can make to reduce transportation costs:
•Walk or cycle instead of drive (also good for your health – physical fitness is an important factor during Hajj), Use public transportation and/or exchange car with bad fuel economy for a more efficient model.
Small changes do add up and make a difference in the long run. There are countless ways to make your lifestyle more energy efficient and green. Utilities are variable based on your local area and household amenities. Check out the article on LifeHacker for ideas on how to reduce your energy use.
4) Reevaluate your “wants” and use coupons
“O children of Adam, take your adornment at every masjid, and eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess.” [Quran – 7:31]
Coupon Sites to Save Money
From coupons for utilities to restaurants, basic necessities to luxury items etc. – you can look into following options – Groupon (You can see the list of all the countries Groupon operates in), FreeShipping, Coupons, RetailMeNot, AmazonCoupons, Slickdeals, BeFrugal etc.
(you may also consider hand-me-downs or pre-loved items to save the cost)
5) Create your short term budget plan and/or increase the cash flow
Author’s Bio: K.T. Lynn is an American Muslim convert. She is a copywriter by day, and a novelist by night. Her hobbies include reading, scuba-diving, and traveling. She aims to promote cross-cultural understanding through her work, which has been featured in SISTERS, Blue Abaya, Saudi Life, and Productive Muslim. You can read about her misadventures at www.ktlynn.com and follow her on Instagram @author_ktlynn and Facebook @faithisgreaterthanfear