On Living Below Our Means, Reducing Bills, And Buying A House

Bride Gives Water To Homeless
Today, MrsHM and I locked in our interest rate at 3.125% for a 10 year mortgage with a 20% down-payment. In late May, we will move in and begin our monthly payments. MrsHM has a full-time gig, and we’ve decided that my work will be flexible, consisting of part-time jobs. We were pre-approved for a $250,000+ mortgage.

Instead, we bought a $135,000 townhouse after looking at all sorts of properties. We saw old homes, new homes, townhomes and single-family homes. One day, our real estate agent commented, “I don’t think you guys know what you want.”

Wrong. We just wanted to see what was out there. We knew exactly what we wanted:

– To live WAY below our means
– Something we could easily rent out
– At least 3 bedrooms
– A spacious kitchen
– Outdoor space for gardening
– Little or no grass to mow (What’s the point? I’d rather plant vegetable and fruit gardens!)
– Laminate or hardwood floors
– 2 bathrooms would be best (We ended up with 1 full bath and two half baths)
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Giving up food, drink, sex… and consumerism?

The holy month of Ramadan is upon us, and a major lesson from fasting is that we don’t need as much as we think we do. We realize that much of what we consume is simply out of habit, and the same thing can be said about things beyond food and drink.

But not only are we in Ramadan with a heightened sense of awareness of our consumption, we are also in a recession – and money is tight. A recent article in the New York Times explains that the decline in American spending linked to the economic crisis has allowed us to discover that money doesn’t buy happiness.
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Muslim Career Women (And Their Husbands)

“If a woman has a child [and] she abandons that responsibility in pursuit of an empty career or the idea of making her mark on the world, she has completely misunderstood the great importance and the great responsibility that she has been given by God, in that the fruit of her womb is before her.”
“So if a woman brings children into this world and then dumps them in a daycare centre … and if she thinks somehow she is doing something more important by going out and working, I think there’s something very seriously wrong with her maternal instincts. Because abandonment in the animal kingdom, abandonment is alien to animals.”
“I am amazed that there’s children out there that are really struggling to find a purpose to their life in a world that is telling them constantly, including their parents by abandoning them, that that they are worthless.”
“If you don’t listen to your soul, you’ll end up on antidepressants.”

Interview with Hamza Yusuf, undated.

My father is a very forceful man and he looks it. In high school, my male friends tended to melt away from around me whenever my father appeared. He’s also, in many ways, very conservative: he wears a thobe on a regular basis; is an ardent supporter of the Tabligh Jamaat, which he credits with restoring his faith when he was young; and has often talked favorably about the niqab. He is a strong believer in following the sunnah, though I sometimes think that in emulating the prophet, he’s got him confused with god.

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Thank You For Parents Who Value Creativity

“I’ve never been in a room with a South Asian photographer, filmmaker, and teacher, before… I mean, how do you do that? How did your parents let you get away with that?!”

This past Saturday, I spent the day photographing a Pakistani guy propose to his girlfriend on the ice at Rockefeller Center. After looking for a place to crash, I ended up in Harlem, at my friend Musa’s apartment. His brother Esa was also visiting. Musa is an award-winning filmmaker, while Esa is a talented and successful educator. In addition to their careers, they both have passions beyond their day jobs. Along with their family, they have served as inspirations for me as I continue my journey to discover and pursue what I love.
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Savannah Beach Inn Sucks, Or Why I Love My Credit Card Company

I’ve been trying to cancel a reservation at the Savannah Beach Inn for about a month now. I’ve e-mailed and called four times to no avail.

The Savannah Beach Inn is run by two women and one of the womens’ sons. While I’ve never received a response to my multiple e-mails asking for the deposit to be refunded, our phone calls usually go one of three ways, depending on who I’m speaking with:

“Hi, my name is HijabMan, I made this reservation on this date, and I’ve been trying to cancel it since June 2nd, I’ve sent multiple e-mails and called several times. Can you help me out?”

*Conversation 1:* “We do things by e-mail here. So, I can’t take your cancellation over the phone.”

“But I’ve already e-mailed three times!”
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