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How to save money in Ramadan

A few simple strategies can help UAE residents rein in their spending and save money during the holy month this year

Ramadan can be one of the most expensive seasons of the year. While current coronavirus guidelines offer a way to cut back in terms of expensive social gatherings, the month can easily put a dent in your budget. Even during a pandemic, all those one-off expenses can add up quickly.

But we’re here to help. Consider embracing the following strategies to manage the inevitable increase in your finances over the next few weeks so you end the month in a position of financial stability.

1. Keep it simple

A key tenet of the Ramadan spirit is modesty. From a financial perspective, it’s a good idea to bring that ideology to your spending. Living simply means prioritizing essentials and shunning everything else – a surefire route to spending less money.

2. Plan your shopping

Ad-hoc expenses can put a serious dent in your budget. Shop weekly according to a pre-determined plan instead. The holy month calls for traditional recipes, so it’s likely you already know what you’re going to cook. Slot those dishes into a detailed schedule, then order online, in advance, and only as much as you need for the week.

The financially shrewd already know that supermarkets and other merchants across the UAE offer Ramadan discounts, deals and cash back when you pay with a covered or debit cards. Visit your bank’s website to see what new offers are available and make use of them to reduce your bills.

4. Break your fast at home

More than any other year, it’s easier than ever to cook at home. We have all become master chefs after last year’s restaurant closures. You won’t just save money by avoiding expensive restaurant buffets and deliveries, but you’ll also eat healthier.

5. Share an online iftar

Current regulations mean we can’t invite people over, but that shouldn’t stop online gatherings. Instead of meeting at an expensive restaurant, suggest that family and friends break the fast together online. Each household can even cook the same recipe and share photos, creating both memories and a bonding experience no restaurant can provide.

6. Do your Eid shopping early

Make this Ramadan the year you get your Eid shopping done in advance, without paying extra for express delivery. Start early, compare offers from different merchants, and explore where you could benefit from an offer on your bank card to save extra.

7. Be honest about tight finances

Not only are people generally more understanding in Ramadan, but we’ve all learned over the past year that everyone has their own challenges. If money is tighter than you’d like – or you suspect someone is struggling with finances – have a quiet word with your friends or family. Then set a budget everyone is comfortable with. Talking about money can be difficult at any time but being open can ease the situation for everyone while also emphasizing what truly matters: connecting and caring for each other.