Celebrations do not have to be expensive; you simply have to make them memorable. When I look back at my childhood, I still remember how we used to walk from door to door and receive gifts or “Saliboo” from our elders. These concepts are still in practice in many part of The Gambia. However, similar to other religious festivals, many Muslims spends a lot of their savings on Eid celebrations.
In this article, you will learn some simple ways to help you make an enjoyable and inexpensive Eid (Tobaski). First, let discuss what Eid Al Adha is.
What is Eid Al Adha
Eid al-Adha means ‘Feast of the Sacrifice’. It was a historical event when God commanded Prophet Abraham in a dream vision to sacrifice his son, Ishmael. However, while he was in the act of sacrificing him, God sent Angel Gabriel with a ram. Gabriel informed him that his dream was fulfilled and instructed him to sacrifice the ram instead of his son.
In the Gambia and other West African countries, we also called Eid Al-Adha as Tobaski.
Here are several ways to keep your spending under control this and still make a memorable Tobaski.
There are different ways to set a festive spending budget. You can set a spending limit or prepare detail list.
- Spending limit – You set a specific limit for the festive, g., one can set a limit of D20,000 for the feast and nothing more.
- Allocate with a detail list – You list all the activities and allocate the amount to spend on each activity. For example D5,000 for ram, D4,000 for new clothes, etc.
After making a list of all the items you want to buy, then go over it and decide once more. If you do not have enough fund to cover the budget? Go through it and cut some items or amounts.
While spending limit can help you make a great budget, it is important to note that a budget should be realistic. If the budget is unrealistic, it can be frustrating.
Do not just pick a number out the sky, think about it well before you attached it to the list. Do you think you will get ram for D5,000 in Serrekunda?
Whatever approach you use is up to you, one thing I know, you need one. Create it before buying anything.
2. Track Your Spending
A budget is of little use if you do not track your spending. Personally, I use Excel to plan and track all my spending for any holiday and festive. I also ensure that money that is not for the festive is moved to a different account or investment.
3. Partner and contribute to buy ram
Sacrificing something on the Tobaski day is a good deed. However, it is indeed not compulsory for any does not have the means. Nonetheless, you have other options to buy ram. Look for three to four other people and partner to buy one ram. You can share it for you families to also enjoy the day.
4. Choose reasonable traditions
It is our traditions that make the festive so unique, but they can sometimes be a financial burden. If your Tobaski tradition includes buying new clothes for everyone, sacrifice three rams, or surprising kids with expensive gifts, you might find yourself with a large budget.
While traditions are important and I love them too, they do not have to be costly to be memorable. In fact, you might find that your family prefer that you spend this period with them, meet other family members, etc.
Teach your kids that Tobaski is not about what you wear, but the time you spend together.
5. Don’t take any loan
If you work in the Gambia civil service, you will understand the one-by-six aka one-by-trouble. The government used to offer a salary advance for repayment within six months.
All the borrowers enjoy the free money, but later some people hate the system as payroll deductions start and their disposal incomes go down.
Whether it is one-by-trouble or micro finance loan, I always discourage all forms of credits to celebrate. If you have kids going to school, remember that schools will inevitably open this September.
6. Go mobile.
Festive is another opportunity to catch up with old friends and family. Depending on your financial ability, you can call some people and send a text message to the rest. At least they appreciate that you have remembered them during the feast.
WhatsApp, Viber, SMS are free or cheap communication, and they do not require postage.
7. Shop Earlier
Last minute shopping is one of the common mistakes among shoppers. You wait until three days to Tobaski to buy clothes or sacrifice. Give yourself at least ten days to festive date. Buy your clothes on time as the last minute’s purchases can be expensive.
8. Invite others to celebrate with you
Your coworkers, classmates or neighbours who are non-Muslims may have no idea about the Eid. Invite them over for the Tobaski and show them what it is all about, and what it means to you. They will feel included in the celebration and have some understanding of you and Islamic traditions.
Always mention to them that you welcome questions and they should always feel comfortable to approach you.
While gift should not be your objective, you will be surprised that one or two invitees may bring gifts for you.
Tobaski celebrations take place with friends and family, and among the whole community. Children often receive new clothes and adults exchange gifts. You should be clear that you do not have to be extravagant about the celebration. Sacrifice is not about spending but the willingness to give up what is essential to our survival.
Do you have a Tobaski or Eid budget? How do you save money during the festive season?