Lockdown a money saver

Muscat: Lockdown is slowly shaping home budgets. With restrictions on community gatherings, travel and entertainment, people are saving money, which would help them for the rainy days ahead. The stable prices of essentials are also favourable for homemakers.

While business owners are mulling ways to survive the jolt from the coronavirus pandemic, the people in the Sultanate are looking at ways to trim their bills.

“Yes, their spending habits have really changed, and they are actually saving money,” said a financial expert.

According to Mohammed Nasser al Lawati, a retail banking expert, there has been a dramatic change recently. “The restrictions have compelled people to tighten their spending habits. They have realised the importance of maintaining financial health and savings.”

Tariq al Mohammadi, a software engineer with a public sector company, said he is saving more than 30 per cent of his income, which would otherwise gone to weekend outing, shopping and once-in-a-month foreign trip. “This has helped us realise how much we can save if we cut our discretionary expenses.”

For Bharat Desai, a sales executive, the lockdown has helped him to reduce spending, which would help to survive a financial crisis. “You won’t be able to stop spending completely but there are some ways that you can save money as you spend. This is probably the best time we can focus on things that make life worth living.”

Mary Issac, an Indian housewife, said she helped her husband trim expenditure on several fronts. “I used to make elaborate meals based on different culinary styles across the world. I used to look forward to cooking something new every day. However, now, the meals comprise only a few dishes which do not cost much.”

Sayyid al Wahaibi said he is able to save on the sundry expenses like petrol, ironing and grooming. “Since I am working from home, there are only a few clothes to be washed and ironed. With the lockdown, it has been days since I drove my car. So there is no spending on fuel as well.”

Jose Chacko, a finance expert, said that restrictions following the breakout of the pandemic have made people understand the need to focus on savings and control their spending habits.

“Due to the lockdown and other restrictions, many people are staying indoors. They are spending less on food, fuel or gatherings. They are learning to live on a tighter budget.” These steps, according to him, will help them in life after COVID-19. “Developing a saving habit will secure a safe life.”