How does less become more? Look around your house. Have you forgotten grandma’s advice to reuse plastic bags, turn over shampoo bottles to use every last drop of shampoo, or remove the beautiful lace border from an old dress to be reused on a new one? The pace at which we have all adopted the spending philosophy has got us into the global financial mess that we now have to bear the burden of. In Pakistan, too, the frenzy of consumerism has left its dark mark. Class chasms have widened and the crime rate has shot up. To add to this, inflation, redundancy and falling incomes have left us high and dry.
So how exactly do people make less last longer? Aimen, a young wife, is very careful about spending money. Before spending on any item, she asks herself, whether she can live without it or not. Sometimes, she delays buying an item for two to three days just to find out, whether it’s really necessary. Her strategy works, because curtailing spending lets her save more in her current account at the bank.
Arifa, a grandmother from a middle class background, uses small pieces of cloth left over from stitched clothes to sew small clothes for her grandchildren. This allows her to use the cloth which would have otherwise gone to waste. It also lets her save money that would have been spent on children’s clothes, which they would soon outgrow.
In many families, elder children’s clothes and shoes are handed over to the younger ones. I know of a family where the older sister, who is married and whose husband likes her to wear new clothes frequently, gives away her old clothes to her sisters. The sisters then get the clothes altered and reuse them.
Planning and household budgeting also makes less money last longer. Dividing up the household income into different categories of expenditure and sticking to that right through the month also helps in curtailing expenses and increasing savings. Rahat, a teacher at a training institute, says that shopping from supermarkets where items can be bought in bulk for the entire month, goes a long way in reducing household expenses. The trip to the supermarket can also be turned into a less expensive family outing. Shopping at the local flea market, where items can be bought at a bargain, can also help to control the household bill.
Seeing our savings grow is sometimes difficult, because most women do not have the knowledge of or access to Halal investment options. Savings are usually invested in the so-called committees, where the accumulated pool of savings circulates amongst the participants of the committee. Undoubtedly, savings in committees do come to good use as Nazia, a home tutor, tells us. Recently, she used her savings pool to buy necessary items for her sister’s wedding. Women with greater access and knowledge save in a current account at the bank. Some go further and invest in a mutual fund, where they can actually see their money grow.
To find out more about Halal options for investment, spending, money saving tips and the best way to plan and make the household budget, read our upcoming articles. I pray that in these household tips you would find the secret formula that will help you to make less last longer.
To protect the privacy of the individuals mentioned in this article, their names have been changed.