“Pilgrimage to the House is a duty unto Allah for mankind, or him who can find a way to perform it.” (The Holy Qur’an, 3:97)
Hajj is the fifth pillar of Islam, and thus an obligation on all who are capable. Going on hajj, though, can seem cost-prohibitive for many. In browsing various hajj packages, I’ve seen prices ranging from $5000 to $8000 per person. That’s a lot of money! But by setting goals and implementing a budgeting system that includes saving monthly for the trip, this goal can be attained without hardship, inshaAllah.
How Do I Start Saving?
In my opinion, the best way to budget for hajj is to open a separate savings account that is specifically for that goal. This is based on the idea of “out of sight, out of mind.” Determine an amount of money that you can put aside from every paycheck and do so as soon as the paycheck arrives. Unless you have an emergency that requires you to take out the money, never touch it or even think about it as being part of income that’s available for you to spend.
How Much Should I Save?
Set a goal for yourself that is realistic. Let’s say you want to go on hajj with your husband in five years. Assume that will cost $6,000 a person, or $12,000 total. That means you’ll need to save $12,000/5 years = $2,400 a year, which comes to $200 a month. Of course, if you can’t put aside that much money, revise your timeline and recalculate the amount that you need to save.
What if I’ve Already Been on Hajj?
If you have already gone on hajj, maybe you would like to start saving for your child to go. Assume that the cost of going on hajj will increase at the current average rate of inflation over the next 18 years. This means your savings goal should be $11,000. If you start saving monthly when your child is born, you would only have to put aside about $50 a month to give your child the gift of going on hajj for her high school graduation. (This scenario does not account for any potential appreciation that could come from putting your money in an investment, rather than a savings, account.)
By putting aside the money before you even see it in the bank account that you use daily, you won’t ever miss the money. As with everything else in life, if you have the correct intention, inshaAllah, you will be amazed at how easy it is to reach your goal.
Laura Brown is a stay at home mom of two little ones. She happily holds the title of CFO (Chief Financial Officer) of her family. She blogs about her money-saving ways at Blessings in Bargains.