Reality Check

As we grow older, the carefree days are slowly replaced by "care-more days". Care for your income, care for your family, care for your spending - so on and so forth.

This post, however is specially dedicated to one thing I have to care about - Care to Save and Spend.

Growing up, I have to admit I have not paid much attention to how much I spend. 

When I was 10 years old, my goal is just to make sure I have sufficient pocket money to buy that ridiculously mouth watering fried chicken for lunch at the canteen. By the time I was 20, my pocket money was to cover for more things - but mostly entertainment and good-to-haves like movies, food, and trips with friends while I was abroad. Now that I am 30, the financial needs are for much crucial things - like home renovation, sending kids to school, pre and post maternity expenses, buying a family car...and the list goes on. All of the quoted expenses are in thousands and yet my fixed salary is growing at a rate that, admittedly is much lower than my growing expenses 😅

I have also made a few silly mistakes which have cost me so much in the past few weeks. Late income tax filing penalty (by half a day!!!) and also overdue dividends which could have easily been an income for me, had I not kept it in my drawer for the longest time. Really wanted to smack myself on the head for my negligence, because those money could have been used for more important things which seems to be a growing list on its own. My heart literally sank when I had to make the penalty payment despite my appeal or when my dividend request got rejected.

I had to tell myself (over and over again) that there is no use crying over spilled milk. The best I can do right now is ensure I don't repeat the same mistake and find ways to improve my income and reduce unnecessary expenses. More importantly as muslims we believe that sufficiency is not driven by amount but rather by barakah (Allah's blessings on the income). A blessed and lawful income will be sufficient, no matter how small - while an unlawful or disgraced income could cause stirs and problems no matter how big the quantum.  

I'm not gonna go into how to increase your income - that is something we all have to look into based on our own capacity and ability. But here's a little reminder to myself on how to bring barakah into my wealth and income...through my everyday actions:

1. Work with excellence, loyalty and honesty. Okay Toots, remember every morning to always purify your intention to earn for Allah's sake - to provide for the family and those in need. Not to escape mommy duties...or to have some alone time to do online shopping...Or to just have a reason to pay Zara a visit at Ground Floor. Hehe.

2.  Give thanks for what you have been given: “And if you all give thanks [to Me, for what I have bestowed on you], I shall surely increase you.” [al-Qur’an 14:7]  Sometimes I say alhamdulillah, but I must admit guys, I dont really feel it in my heart. It feels routine rather than a sincere gratitude which is spoken by my tongue, felt by my heart and displayed through my actions. Clearly I need to reflect more on what Allah has blessed me with...

3. To always give, in charity and in kindness The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Charity does not reduce wealth.” [Muslim, Sahih]  The physical amount outwardly decreases, but the remaining amount attracts barakah so that the actual benefit from it is not less. [al-Nawawi, Sharh Muslim]. Afterall when we leave this world, what we save in our bank account is no longer ours, but what we have spent for the sake of Allah is our true wealth which we present to Allah SWT. And when out of money just remember, smiling is a form of charity too...so Toots, say cheese! 

4.  Increase reading of the Qur’an at home:  Have to make it a habit to start my day with recitation of the Quran because the moment I postpone this to "later", it really is just as good as "never". It is reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Indeed, the house in which the Qur’an is recited- the goodness [in it] increases…[things are made easier for its family]” [Ibn Kathir, Tafsir]

5. Love and serve your parents: this is a means of increase in one’s lifespan and sustenance.  [al-Sha’rani, Lawaqih al-Anwar al-Qudsiyya] Oh...there are 1001 ways i could improve myself as a daughter and daughter in law I really dont know where to even start...seeing this really reminded me of so much that I can do.

6. Start your day early! ...and try not to sleep through the early part of the day. I do feel more productive and that I get more things done when I start my day early. The Prophet (Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) prayed, “Oh Allah, give barakah to my Ummah in their early-morning work.” [Ibn Majah, Sunan] ....now maybe that's why! 

7. Pray for Wealth. Don't hesitate to ask Allah for wealth as this is the sunnah of the Prophet, who prayed for wealth for young Anas (may Allah be pleased with him). More importantly,  Ask Allah to put the wealth in our hands, and not in our hearts....so that we are always rational in our spending and not resort to paying for a Chanel bag when we have so many loan commitments overdue hehe.

Most of the above are things which I picked up from my reading, and further elaborated based on my own experience/reflection. But of course, there are so much more we can do to increase barakah in our wealth. I honestly want to be rich guys, I'm not even gonna deny it. Hehe. Gonna make du'a for a wealthy me, work with good intentions and find ways to improve my income and its blessings!