Imagine a sign at the window of your favorite shop that reads, ‘Everything in store 20 percent more expensive today’. You are hardly likely to sharpen your elbows to push back the crowds to the bargain bin. However, unless you are one of those that pays the outstanding balance on your credit card in full every month, this is effectively how shopping with your card can set you back
The temptation to be able to buy what you want, regardless of your bank balance, is one that most people find irresistible. Credit cards offer a vital bridge between expenses due and pay day. With the option to only pay the minimum balance every month, it is quite easy to let your full balance continue to accumulate while you tend to more pressing expenses. However, the minimum balance is only a tiny proportion of the debt – usually just the interest charged. If you only pay the minimum balance, you are taking care of the credit card company but certainly not your own debt. They get paid but you still owe the same amount – does that sound fair? If you do that from month to month, your repayments will quickly become a burden that is difficult to shoulder.
Credit card companies have carefully laid these debt traps for consumers, and it is easy to fall into them. Getting out can be a lot harder. However, knowledge is power, and by understanding how credit cards work you can outsmart the credit card companies, reap rewards and gain financial freedom as well.
Price of Debt
The most important thing to understand about your credit card is the APR, or the Annual Percentage Rate. Effectively, this is how much your credit card debt will cost you. For example, if your APR is 15 percent, a debt of AED5,000 will cost you AED750 a year. However, APR is usually calculated on a monthly basis, so you have to divide the APR by 12. An APR of 15 percent translates into 1.25 percent a month, so carrying a balance of AED5,000 will cost you AED62.5 a month. If you think this sounds manageable, prepare yourself for a shock. We are about to reveal some of the subtle tricks employed by credit card companies to make some money off your card. For a start, do you know what the APR on your credit card is? If you think you know, you might want to check again. An advertised APR rate may not be the one you’re effectively paying. A company can advertise a typical APR, but the APR can only be decided upon application. You will find it buried in the fine print, and in all likelihood it will be a different rate to the one that lured you to sign up for the card in the first place.
Credit card companies also tend to backdate purchases, so you will probably be charged interest from the start of the month regardless of when you bought the item. One of the most costly mistakes you can make is to withdraw cash on your credit card – you will be charged interest daily. The items on your credit card will also not be paid off in chronological order. A credit card company can use your repayments to strike off the cheaper items first, leaving the more expensive items to accumulate more interest.
The easiest way to avoid these caveats is to pay off your balance in full every month. If you feel you may succumb to the temptation of only paying the minimum balance, why not set up a direct debit instructing your bank to take the full amount every month? It may sound drastic, but knowing you will have to face the consequences of that shopping spree straight after pay day may curb your spending.
Be aware of when you will have to start paying interest. Most credit card companies offer a grace period that varies from 50-20 days. You may have signed up for an ‘interest-free period’ – make a point of knowing when these happy days will come to an end. If possible, set a reminder on your calendar so you don’t get caught out. Even if you manage to avoid paying interest, do not make the mistake of thinking that your credit card is free. Many will charge an annual fee, and any missed payments can result in hefty charges. Bear in mind that payments can take a few days to process, and cheques need time to clear. If you send a cheque on the day repayment is due, you will still be charged for late payment.
Debt or Debit?
If you cannot afford to repay the balance amount due in full every month, it might be time to review your spending patterns. For instance, if you spent AED5,000 on a holiday at an APR of 18 percent, and you can afford only payments of AED500 per month, the holiday will in effect cost you AED5,422 and take 11 months to repay. However, if you simply put aside AED500 over 10 months, you could take off on that holiday without worrying about the credit card bill on your return.
Do you really need to have that item now? Will you still want it by the time you’ve finished paying for it? Why not challenge yourself to save up for something you want instead of using your credit card? Time spent in planning is seldom wasted. By the time you can afford it, you may not even want the item any more. If you’re still pining over the latest TV by the time you’ve saved up for it, you can buy it with confidence without dreading your credit card statement.
Once you have saved up and have the cash in hand, you might find it harder to part with it. The most important thing to remember about credit cards is that once that card is swiped, your money has been spent. It is easy to be duped into believing that you are spending the credit card company’s money, which is less painful than parting with your own. However, the truth remains that the credit card company is spending your money for you, and charging you for the privilege.
In India we have the government of Modi and its previous government claim moving towards digitization, yet there is lack of understanding for the need of unnecessary mobilization of resources and paper work involved in any process that needs to be taken up with the government.I look at it with a different perspective. I see the environmental dangers involved in increased used of paper work, filing and storing it by an ever expanding population. People in India lack decent shelter while our documents are stacked in an ever growing and dirt filing buildings or somewhere on the table of bureaucrats.
Recently I had to visit the Indian Consulate for some passport work that needed to be handled. The height of paper work that needs to be done is exhausting in a digital age. My passport and my spouse have the our names each mentioned in the spouse section and so do the passports of our children mention our names as parents yet a need arises for us to prove our marriage after more than a decade to the same government that has acknowledged it in its documents and provide legal translation for the same. Thus consuming time day in and day out with an additional burden on the pocket.
This not being enough they need a birth certificate doubting the passport that mentions the birth details in it. Some legal procedures simply prefer living in an ostrich hole rather than bending backwards to get people at ease. When are we ever going to be a developing nation which does not have its own government affairs in place. It is an irony I believe.
This is a Guest Post by Fatema Murtaza
Right from day one women have had everything they needed within themselves. Although the world seems to believe the opposite, I strongly believe that women are empowered because they are born as WOMEN!
Women empowerment is a highly discussed issue these days and like many other misconceptions, some anti-social elements tried to portray a vague image about the Dawoodi Bohra community that the women of the community are suppressed and compelled to stay away from mainstream education as well as professions.
Feminists demand women to be treated equally to men which has often led to scenarios that have often caused more trouble then good to the gender. Equality and equity here are the two terms that are confused very often. Equality may be termed to being equal where as equity can be defined as the quality of being fair and providing according to one’s needs. The Bohras emphasize on equity rather than equality when it comes to justice and fairness between Men and Women. Being a female myself some feminists would not like this idea due to their own reasons which need not be discussed rather I would simply pen down my own thoughts.
The world today has made immense progress in the field of science and technology but just because something is coming from the so called progressive media and liberal or capitalist ideologies does not make it right nor justified. Feminism, another synonym being used for women empowerment and mainly supports the idea that women are equal and they should take a stand for their rights. Being maltreated or being abused is definitely not tolerable but flowing with the flock of feminism without doing any research within our religious, cultural and traditional values is not an option either.
We all believe that everything in this world has a purpose to serve. Therefore what men do is unique but then women are equally capable of doing things that are none the less amazing. Is all the appreciation, love and joy in doing things for your loved ones any less of a recognition for women?? Why do we think that only being an extrovert by working and supporting their family will prove our worth? Such visions and mindsets itself are results of inferiority complexes created by feminist groups otherwise being a woman itself provides enough contentment.
The problem is that we start comparing our success to the amount of money we make. Having career goals and ambitions is not at all wrong. The 53rd Dai al-Mutlaq al-Fatemi Dr. Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS has always encouraged Dawoodi Bohra women towards educating herself, acquiring skills and putting them to use as a clear means to emphasize that educating a man is educating a person while educating a woman is educating an entire generation. Hundreds of Schools and Madrasas were erected for the sole purpose of educating the community while the community’s most prestigious academy Al Jamea tus Saifiyah boasts the finest education for women with hundreds of women graduates every years from all four of its worldwide branches. Hundreds of Bohra Women have memorized the entire Quran and many more are doing so across the world through distant learning.
The Dawoodi Bohra Community Women Entrepreneurs working from home find a lot of opportunities for growth and development. Cottage industry today plays a vital role in the success and growth of a society. Staying at home has never been a draw back to a woman’s success. Today we have so many examples within the community to look at; there are so many women who are successful business persons. Rida and topi making have become a huge business. Catering is another emerging trend among the Bohra community. While there are no less numbers of professional Bohra women within the community who add to the prosperity and growth of the nation.
Having said that, we Dawoodi Bohras still believe that above all a woman is a home maker. People often tend to view HOMEMAKING as a list of chores like cleaning, washing and cooking of course. This concept needs to be rebuilt. Home making is all about making a HOME. All these chores are physical part of the job but we do need to touch the emotional side of it.
Doctors, engineers, artists everyone have a specific job but what a homemaker is capable of doing is most creative and worthwhile. Bringing a child into this world and grooming him to be that individual who would grow up to be a doctor, engineer or an artist and contribute to the well being of the society. Bringing up children, providing and fostering to the needs of the family while maintaining a peaceful and happy home is indeed a huge task. It evolves around knowledge and is a result of the home science education that she has had be it in whatever field of study, be it commerce, medicine or even engineering.
Some might argue that what good is a degree or education if it’s not put to use. Well that is absolutely true, but why do we think making money out of it is the only way to put it to use? If you are passionate enough to do it I believe you can be anything and do anything irrespective of the place. Let’s say you have a degree in food and nutrition, try planning out healthy meals everyday for your family putting your skills and talents to use! It might not provide you a paycheck at the end of the month but appreciation and love from your loved ones provides much greater satisfaction and there is no better sight than seeing your family healthy and happy. Majors in economics can help you manage your monthly budget and you could adjust your expenditures accordingly and maintain a budget accordingly and efficiently. Fashion designers, Interior designers, painters, artists have an entire house at their disposal to utilize their creative juices. And every education or knowledge hence can be put to use. Happiness comes from within. If we cannot be happy within our homes and within our own families, chances are very few of us being happy elsewhere.
Those who say the Dawoodi Bohra women are deprived are absolutely wrong. The reason I say this with such conviction is because I am a living example of it. We enjoy all liberties to its truest essence. I, in my entire life, have never ever seen discrimination within our household. My parents have supported me in everything that I have ever wanted to do because that is how we have been groomed by our beloved Maula, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS. From pursuing career goals of my choice to traveling on my own and taking decisions within the precincts of my Deen, I have enjoyed independence to its core.
We as a community firmly believe that success is measured not by money but by happiness. His Holiness Dr Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS always guides that whatever we may do; it should be done out of love. A woman, a mother, is the epitome of LOVE, so why not find joy doing what we were created to do! If man is the king, his lady is the king maker! A Woman I believe is a binding force of the family and has the capability to keep everything intact.
We all want to be leaders; we all want to be pioneers. We want to be better than we were yesterday and in the end we all want to change the world in our image.
Change begins when we take a stand, when we are courageous enough to change ourselves.
Ilya abu Madhi says : كن جميلا ترى الوجود جميلة
‘Be yourself beautiful, you shall see all existence as beautiful’
Self awareness is being aware of what traits make you who you are. Knowing who and what makes you is the first step to become beautiful – the first step to change the world; to change our world.
Children are elements of change. The birth of a child changes a couple to a family. We look to the innocence of a child as hope for the future of the world. Even as they grow, they are so innocent as to forgive us for dropping them off a flight of stairs. They strive for change so hard that they stand and fall as many times as it takes if only to move one step. They strive to grow, they strive to change from fumbling bumbling toddlers into people whom we look up to.
At first, this child has to acknowledge that sleeping all day is a hazard and that instead of wailing he should be more self sufficient like the other towering humans. This raises the question of whether the child needs another human at all – and unsurprisingly a research on a real ‘Tarzan’ child, Lyokha, in Moscow, who was raised by wolves has proved the necessity of a human to be true. A teacher in the form of a human is needed for the child to emulate their movements and gain the correct posture. This is the first step of change for any human but even then we need help.
Allah TA states : علم الانسان ما لم يعلم – سورة العلق اية ٥
“(He) Taught man that which he did not know”
Seeing our need to copy the actions of our predecessors, it’s given that the first man would have needed to be taught in order to survive – otherwise we may have never attempted to change from our fetal position.
Concluding that we would need someone to emulate lets us ascertain that change is not possible without someone and that we are in no way ‘independent’. We need a brother to help us change, we need a parent, a teacher or a mirror to show us where we are wrong and support us through our change.
Rasulullah SA states:
المؤمن اخو المؤمن لا يظلمه ولا يشتمه
‘A Mumin is a Mumin’s brother; he neither wrongs him nor insults him’
المؤمن مرآة صافية
‘A Mumin is a mirror to another Mumin’
The child needs someone willing and caring to show him the ropes. He needs love to nurture because fear of the parent teaches very little to the child. Fear fosters hate; while love can teach anything, hate cannot. Love can change, hate cannot. Even today, as we grow up and learn – love teaches where hate will never manage to do so.
المؤمن للمؤمن كالبنيان يشد بعضه بعضا
‘A Mumin for another Mumin is like a structure whose various parts support one another. ‘
A family loves one another, a family strives to become better together. Brother helping brother, sister trusting sister and child emulating the parents. More than blood, it is love that joins us together which makes us stronger. Love for Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS joins every Mumin together – and we are all family. We uplift one another for Maula TUS. Together, helping one another by helping just one brother like little mirrors, teaching and emulating, we can be the best. We CAN change the world.
As Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA states
وواس الذي حبا يواسي اخاه في
امور حيوة موسعا لقلائل
(O Allah TA) Come to the aid of the Mumin who, out of love and affection, assists his brother in all matters of his life and fulfils his needs.
He also states:
كل عمل بالاخلاص – و ان كان صغيرا- يأتي بالاجر الموفور
Any act carried out with unwavering faith, even if small, merits plentiful reward.
Maula TUS wants us to be our best, together. As Maulana Ali states:
من ظن بك خيرا فصدق ظنه
If someone thinks well of you, then ratify his thoughts in you.
So shall we not change and become better? Shall we not become the best family? Shall we not emulate until we change our worlds?
May Allah TA grant our Maula, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS, a long happy and prosperous life as long as the rivers of knowledge flow. Ameen.