Hijabi of the Month August 2013 - Isra Hashmi

Posted on Aug 06, 2013
Melanie Elturk


Our Hijabi of the Month, August is Isra Hashmi from Boston, Massachusetts! Isra a mom of three that took her family from fancy to frugal in three years, with three kids and one income. She's been featured on Anderson Cooper, NPR and Redbook among others. Say hi to her on twitter and facebook and don't forget to check out her blog, The Frugalette.

1) When did you start wearing hijab?

I started wearing hijab soon after I got married in 2004. I always felt in my heart compelled to wear it and knew that it would be part of me. One evening after my prayers I told my husband I didn't want to take off my scarf. All he said was to be sure it's what I really wanted.

2) Tell us about your blog, The Frugalette and how it started!

Aah, The Frugalette, my alter ego! Back in 2010 when my husband and I found ourselves in a tremendous amount of debt, 56k to be exact, we realized that we could either continue on our path and ask our family to help us or we could take responsibility and get ourselves out of it. I made the decision to change our life completely, 180 degrees. I made my husband move apartments, twice, to save money. We started using coupons (which I don't use anymore), stopped all unnecessary shopping and cut up every credit card. We did pull ourselves out and in 2012 became completely debt free. We still don't use credit cards and rarely buy brand new clothes for the kids. I'm a consignment shopper! We have since added kid number three and pay cash for everything. I'm a writer by nature and wanted to tell our story to hopefully inspire and encourage other families to get out of debt and live within and many times, under their means. My husband named me The Frugalette and in 2011 it was launched!

3) How has hijab impacted your journey as a blogger, if at all?

Since my niche is not religious based at all, it's definitely been an interesting journey. I've been featured on Anderson Cooper, in Redbook, All You Magazine and NPR among others. One thing I made a conscious effort to do from the beginning is put my picture everywhere! I never wanted it to be a surprise that I cover my head. When I sent in pics to Redbook magazine, I wasn't nervous wondering what they would think, they knew I covered from my profile pics. I've been in meetings, and even spoke at conferences and I've always been very candid that I'm a covered Muslim woman. There was one time last year at a blogging conference where I won a complete makeover with a new outfit and meeting with a celebrity stylist. I had to do a lot of explaining of what I could and couldn't wear and ended up passing on the hair and makeup because they couldn't find a woman stylist! So, it's definitely been an eye opener for brands and companies that I work with. But I've had nothing but a positive experience with other bloggers.

4) What's the best piece of advice you could give to families on a budget?

It's not worth it. Putting your family finances in strain to impress your friends, neighbors or family members is a temporary, fleeting moment that doesn't last. Live with what you have and you will have more than enough.

5) What is one motto or statement that you live by? 

I have a year long series on my blog called 52 Ways to Be Happy for FREE. The question I get asked most in interviews is what do you do for fun? How are you so happy? So I show every week that the path to happiness is not paved in gold.

6) If you could give one piece of advice to someone struggling with hijab, what would it be?

You need one person to support you, not hundreds. My close friends, family, and even my mother don't cover at all. However, I always felt very strongly about covering and my husband is my biggest supporter. His mother and sister don't cover either, so we are an island but a very strong one. If you have one great person to cheer you on, you have more than enough.

Be sure to follow Isra on her blog at thefrugalette.com and on facebook at facebook.com/thefrugalette and facebook.com/simplemuslimfamily