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Making Blessings Stretch

Ameera Rahim shares her ideas on how to cut costs when bringing up a family.

Alhamdulillah, as parents, we want to be able to give our children the best of the best and sometimes the best things to give our children do not actually have to be expensive. There are some of us who may be experiencing hardships with our finances and some of us may just want to save money. The cheaper option may also be the healthier way.


There is no doubt that our homes and children can feel the strain if we make a big deal out of our financial difficulties, always being negative. Ideally, when the money runs low, our iman should not. Insha Allah, our hopes and trust in Allah (SWT) are high.


When things are tight, we have to make our blessings stretch. Here are a few suggestions on how we can save money in our daily lives.


1. Menu plan
I can honestly say this helps us to save a great deal of money. We take one day of the week, usually Saturday, to write down the week’s menu. The best thing in my opinion is to make a menu based on what you have in your home already! This way, you’re getting rid of leftovers and saving money. Then compile a grocery list of items you do not have to complete the meals you are putting together in your home. You may have flour and milk to make a cake, but no eggs. So you would put eggs on your grocery list. Alhamdulillah, menu planning also takes the stress off when trying to think ‘What’s for breakfast? What’s for dinner?’.


READ MORE: The Single Parent Guide to Quick and Healthy Cooking

Faaizah Asmal Laher has some tips for making family meal preparation a less stressful affair when budgets and time are limited.



2. Foundational Cooking
Get back to the foundations of making it ourselves. Alhamdulillah, we saved money making our own yoghurt rather than buying it at the store. You get more of your money’s worth making it and it lasts longer, Alhamdulillah! Baking from scratch has also saved money; there is so much you can make with flour: bread, cakes, biscuits, pizza bases and even crackers.


READ MORE: Cooking with the Kids

Umm Suhayb likes to prise her munchkins’ hands away from those keyboards and get them into the dough. Here, she brings you some tips and tricks for some edible family fun.


3. Homeschooling on a budget
Alhamdulillah, if we sisters can get together and start sharing our unused homeschooling materials with each other and those in need, many of us may not need to spend a lot of money on educational materials. Masha Allah, even if we sell them, they do not have to be expensive for others to buy. Alhamdulillah, the local library has many books that we can borrow over and over again that can help us. I have been blessed Alhamdulillah with good friends and this has helped in our homeschooling so much.


READ MORE: Raising a Reader Among Viewers

From the latest edition of Fitra Journal: The Muslim Homeschool Quarterly, Asma Ali details how to get children interested in reading books.


4. Spend less on trips
One of the things we love about the summertime (and a lot in the winter too) are the free fun trips for children in our city. Find out if there are days in the month when the museums are free or have discounts. You would be surprised how much you can do for free or on a budget, masha Allah. Also, never neglect the simple joys of taking a nature walk and exploring your local community. The fire station loves when you bring children in to visit – they were so happy when we brought the children by to sit in the fire truck.


READ MORE: Camping, Da’wah and a Tin Foil Gourmet

J. Samia Mair shares the delights of camping that give some guaranteed screen-free time for our kids.



5. DIY cleaning supplies
Alhamdulillah, you can save the planet and save money by making your own natural and healthy cleaning supplies. Here are some recipes so you can make your own:

Deodorise carpets:
Mix baking soda with a little scented oil (cinnamon or clove, for example); be sure to test it on a small spot first. Sprinkle it on the carpet, let it sit for a little and then vacuum it.


All purpose cleaner:
Mix equal parts water and vinegar and add tea tree oil for its scent and anti-bacterial benefits masha Allah. Place it in a bottle and label it.


Fruit and vegetable wash:
1 lemon, 2 tbs of vinegar, 1 cup water
Squeeze the lemons and mix with the vinegar and water.


You can also get cleaning done with baking soda, lemon, salt and vinegar individually. Or combine some, such as baking soda and salt for a good oven scrub. Use vinegar as a fabric softener or lemon juice to help whites in the wash. Essential oils, such as tea tree oil, disinfect, are antibacterial and antifungal and safe for cleaning your house added to vinegar in an all purpose cleaner. I love the smell of lemon essential oil for cleaning the floors.



READ MORE: Green Spring Clean Recipes

It’s amazing what a bit of baking soda and vinegar can do!



Alhamdulillah there are many things you can make yourself that are better for your family health-wise, as well as financially masha Allah.


Being financially stretched, Alhamdulillah, is all a test; how we respond and react is important. We just need patience, prayer and positivity.


“We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger, and the loss of wealth and lives and the fruits (of your toil), but give glad tidings to those who patiently persevere, who say – when afflicted with calamity – “To God We belong, and to Him we shall return!” They are on those whom descend blessings from their Lord, and Mercy. Such are the rightly guided.” (Al Baqarah:155-157)

Ameera Rahim is the mom of five super cool children, author of three books, avid homeschooler and homemaker. She can be found blogging at Traditional Muslimah Homemaker and Habeebee Homeschooling.