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5 Budgeting Tips for Ramadan and Beyond

by in Culture & Lifestyle on 1st April, 2024

Ramadan is a sacred time for Muslims worldwide, as we enjoy a time of dedication and intentional practice, marked by fasting, prayer, and reflection. It’s a brilliant time to prioritise spirituality, family, and community. However, with the cost-of-living crisis in the background, the pressure to engage socially, as well as manage day-to-day life expenses can be overwhelming. 

If you’ve been feeling poorer in the last year or two, you likely weren’t alone. Rising gas and electricity bills, and an overall dip in the available supply of many of our household basics, means “just existing” likely felt more expensive: cue the so-called “cost-of-living” crisis. The “typical” basket of goods in January of this year, was 15% more expensive than it was in January of 2022. So “typical” routines and patterns may end up failing us this year.

By making peace with our limitations, we can show up more sincerely when we do choose to socialise. To support this intention, read on for five ways you can lead a balanced and budget-friendly life, this Ramadan and beyond.

1. Budget Wisely

The simplest budget balances what you have coming in, and what you have going out, over a time period of your choosing.

The tricky part with any budget is that life is variable and things happen. The most important piece of advice to bear in mind for Ramadan is that exceptions will arise: whether it’s donations to the mosque or going all out for iftar hosting. To get to grips with budgeting for it, we need to both look at the past (use that calendar function in your banking apps) and also the present: know what you can truly afford. 

If you tried this last year and still struggled, you will want to spend some time reflecting and understanding why. Was it guilt? Was it performance anxiety (keeping up appearances)? Was it peer-pressure (“everyone is, so I should”)? Was it fomo (“everyone is, so I want to”)?

When you know your “why”, affirming and following your budget comes down to you and what motivates you, but a universal word for motivation is:

“Actions are judged by motives, so each man will have what he intended…” (Sahih Bukhari)

So no matter how large or small your gestures, it is the piety behind them that matters the most.

On the flipside – not tried to budget, but feeling the need to? Allow us to introduce you to some simple budget-friendly strategies that might come in handy this Ramadan and beyond. The goal is to find balance. How? You can choose what works for you, whether that be growing what’s coming in, or slimming down what’s going out. On the practical side, a general budget framework means you really want a few separate numbers that add up for the “outs”. Here are six optional categories below:

  • Committed Outs: Bills you know are going to be due.
  • Estimated “Needed” Outs: Things you expect to pay for like groceries.
  • Estimated Saving Outs: What you want to save, because the beauty of having something like this every month means you can use some of it for category 5 and 6 below.
  • Estimated “Wanted” Outs: Things like clothes or hair appointments.
  • Emergency Outs: Some headroom to account for where we may get our estimates wrong, or when small extra spends may be required.
  • Estimated Seasonal Outs:  Think gifts and special iftars for the month of Ramadan.

What you need to remember is that the order is important. If you’re seeing very little room left after category 1 and 2; it’s worth getting creative now about how you can make do with what’s left. The answer is not to stretch yourself anyway or pray May is good to you – because it may not be.

2. Manage the “outs”

One of the key steps to having control over your budget, is managing the “outs”:

  • Set it and Forget it: This means automate! Have your most important financial obligations taken care of with either standing orders or direct debits. This includes your Zakat or Sadaqah! These days many charity organisations offer an automated service where you can schedule daily donations for the whole of Ramadan or for the last 10 days. This can ensure that whether you give £1 or £50, you will “Never miss Laylatul Qadr” again.
  • Remember the green pyramid? Reuse, reduce, recycle: This handy rule can go for anything. If you’re in need of a new pair of jeans for a family get-together, maybe organise a clothes swap iftar with a group of friends first? You’d be surprised how much in your wardrobe could be someone else’s new favourite thing. (and vice versa of course, thrifting anyone?)
  • DIY before you buy: As the title says, sometimes we just need to get creative. We can also redefine the phrase so we mean “not just yourself”, but rather, involve your community. Don’t spend a fortune on hosting, make it a potluck. Don’t throw away that coat with the hole in the pocket, ask that friend with a sewing machine to have a go at it.
  • Never. Shop. Without. A list: The logic here is simple, it’s far too easy to be swayed into last-minute add-ons when you’re hauling for your hosting or idly exploring for iftar outfits (or even online retailers like Knowing exactly what you’re looking for will make you pickier about what you buy, and how much you’re willing to spend.
  • Eat at Home: Get creative and try TikTok recipes before you try that new place on UberEats. If you’re getting home with half an hour to spare before Iftar, cooking may seem like a miracle – so have some ready meals on deck. They’re reliable, varied, and they’re cheaper (and quicker) than ordering take away. 
  • Set Boundaries: Don’t be afraid to communicate your boundaries and needs to your family and friends. Offer budget friendly ways to have meet ups like “Let’s go for a walk in the park or by the river post taraweeh”. “I can’t host” vs “Let’s have a potluck, I’ll bring “X” dish”. This can help to keep the load minimal on everyone, reducing stress and ensuring you have the time and energy for what matters to you.
  • For bonus points: separate your lists into “needs” and “wants”: This is about deciding priorities. It’s easy to talk ourselves into thinking we have an endless list of things to buy if we don’t take the time to remember we don’t actually have to buy anything sometimes.

3. Grow the “ins”

Another way to manage your finances and balance your budget is by growing the “ins”.

That green pyramid? Sometimes it pays: Vinted and depop ringing any bells? These are sites where you can offload your less-loved furniture, clothes and accessories. There’s a shop for everyone that said, you can give your furniture a new home and higher end pieces a new life with Vinterior and repurchasing schemes like Farfetch second life and Vestiaire Collective.

Just remember, the goal is balance, not perfection

“And those who, when they spend, are neither wastefully nor stingily, but hold a medium (way) between those (extremes; are the true servants).” (Surah Al-Furqan 25:67)

4. Seek Professional Guidance

If you’re really struggling to manage your finances during Ramadan and more generally, and it’s coming with stress and strain (finances are a popular motivator for familial strain), don’t hesitate to seek guidance from a financial advisor or counsellor. They can help you create a budget that works for you and provide more detailed strategies for saving money and managing debt.

Financial balance and enjoying the season goes hand-in-hand: we all know there’s a strong link between financial difficulty and poorer mental and physical health, and that it impacts women disproportionately because of a number of reasons. Compound this as a member of minoritised communities, there is the additional pain of putting on a brave face, what the Money and Pensions Service calls a ‘double stigma’. This is because it is “particularly difficult to discuss either money or mental wellbeing”, making conversations and open discussions about finding balance this Ramadan less likely though even more necessary!

5. Remember Your Intentions

Finally, remember the true purpose of Ramadan: to strengthen your relationship with Allah (SWT) and renew yourself spiritually for your post-Ramadan life. Keep your intentions pure and focus on the spiritual rewards of the month, rather than getting caught up in material concerns or practices. As a last resort, simply create a savings challenge for the month and compete against yourself to be “richer” by the end of Ramadan – in more ways than one. 

By budgeting wisely, setting boundaries and living intentionally, you can make the most of your time and find balance across many aspects of your life. As the Quran says, 

“And eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess” (Surah Al-A’raf 7:31)

This verse reminds us of the importance of moderation in all aspects of our lives, including our spending and consumption habits. As Ramadan draws to a close, may Allah (SWT) accept all your worship and grant you with ease and focus on what truly matters: your spiritual growth and well-being.


  1. ONS CPI January 2024, ONS CPI January 2022. 
  2. MAPS Financial Wellbeing Survey
Kudirat Olateju

Kudirat Olateju

Kudirat Olateju, CFA, is an experienced finance professional and founder of MWHQ, a UK-based organisation that is dedicated to providing financial education and investment advice to women and underserved communities. She is the head writer of the blog over on Prior to founding MWHQ, Kudirat worked as an analyst at JP Morgan and in investment research and strategy at T. Rowe Price. Through her work at these institutions, she gained valuable experience and insights into financial markets, investment strategies, and financial analysis. With MWHQ, Kudirat is passionate about helping women and underserved communities to achieve financial independence and security.