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Money Talk

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A budget allows you to plan, control and account for both your income and your expenses. It helps you to set long-term goals and measure your progress towards those goals. More than that, it helps you to discipline yourself, if like most of us, money tends to slip out of your hands much than it comes in! Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to be a mathematical genius to age your budget. It is a simple matter adding and subtracting - and if you trouble with that, invest in a calculator helps! Start by making a note of your monthly income - that is minus the big the taxman takes out of it and all other necessary deductions your employer makes! Then write down all your salary expenses - the rent, utilities like water and electricity, phone bill, petrol expenses school fees, pocket money for the kids In order to have more barakah in I money, our parents had the wonderful habit of taking out a teensy bit as soon they received their pay to give to the needy in the community. Today, even the modern western world is beginning to realize to attract more money, you need to give more sadaqah. So add and make it a compulsory expense. You may be surprised how much barakah it creates in what is left behind! Now you come to the interesting and most challenging part - the non-essential, long-term expenses. This is the portion with which you have to be extra careful and disciplined. Start by defining your long-term plans and ambitions. You may need to save for emergencies, the kid's education, that long awaited haj, or a new computer. The trick here is to name it before your children can claim it. Once you have defined what you wish to save for, you can set about getting to that goal by pulling away a little bit every month.

Build it into your budget as a necessary expense and commit yourself to it - perhaps by debit order - to help you reach that goal. I have found it particularly useful to put those savings out of reach so that I cannot access it at the first temptation. But more about such savings options in the next column. Once you have deducted your necessary and long-term expenses you have your real expendable income. It is easy enough to set up a budget. Sticking to it is another story! it requires discipline and strength of character, but its rewards are immeasurable. There are however, ways to make sure that you stick to your budget. Take another look at the previous month's budget and cut out those items you spent on unnecessarily. If you go shopping, take a look at your trolley and remove all unnecessary luxuries. If there is more than one brand of a particular product on the rack, don't go looking for the most expensive - R is not a guarantee of quality. Do not buy impulsively. Rethink and ask yourself if you really, really need that item. A sale is not an excuse to go on a spending spree - make sure what you buy is really needed! Lastly, recite Tasbeeg-e-fatimi when you enter a store to stop yourself from over spending (subhanallah wal hamdulillah wa la ilaha ifiallaah wallahu akbar wa lagoula wa laquwwata illabillahil aliyyul 'atheem).

My  Tip  - Allah will always provide and tomorrow does take care of itself. But they can both do a better job if you lend a hand!

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