The crisis coronavirus pandemic has drowned the nation and world into is horrifying, as it claimed thousands of jobs and crippled the economy, besides the lives it took. But it also left people with many lessons for the future, like – how to save more and spend thoughtfully
Unlike any other month, at the end of April, Shohag Zaman didn't have to borrow money to support his family.
"The salary I earn cannot support my family during the last few days of a month. So I look out to borrow money from my friends and family at the end of each month. But that changed in April," said Zaman.
After the government announced holidays from March 26 and imposed an unofficial lockdown to curb the coronavirus spike, the private sector opted for work from home.
"After a long time, in April, I did not pay a visit to restaurants, didn't buy any fancy clothing, and my wife didn't go to shopping malls to buy things," Zaman added.
The crisis coronavirus pandemic has drowned the nation and world into is horrifying, as it claimed thousands of jobs and crippled the economy, besides the lives it took. But it also left people like Zaman with many lessons for the future, like – how to save more and spend thoughtfully.
After the unofficial lockdown left people homebound, many hardly found a way to spend their money on except for basic food, medicine, house rent etc. This gave people an opportunity to reflect on the difference between reasonable expenditure and thoughtless spending.
Before the pandemic, Asaduzzaman, a public service officer, used to be a chain smoker. "On average, I used to spend more than two thousand Taka per month on smoking," he said.
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, he hasn't "paid a penny on smoking."
"I didn't have a plan to quit smoking. But in consideration of the health concerns and the money I waste on it, now I plan to quit smoking," said Asaduzzaman.
Mohiuddin Khan, a middle-aged teacher, used to pay the local saloons a visit each week prior to coronavirus outbreak.
But since March, he didn't pay a single visit to the saloons.
"I have learned to shave like a professional over the last few months and my wife and daughters are now the best hairdressers in the world. My younger brother, on the other hand, used to eat at expensive restaurants regularly. Now he is a fan of homemade food," said Khan.
These changes, irrespective of their economic implications, have revealed that at the end of the month, these small expenditures actually cost a lot.
The universal unequal distribution of jobs and wealth have always been agonizing. The pandemic has exposed the inconsiderate spending of the haves all this time, and how the have-nots do not have anything to spend now.
But one thing the haves and the have-nots learned in common these days is – spend, but make every penny count.
The buying-spree, an offshoot of consumerism, has led us to eat and buy more than what we need to survive. It is as if the world itself is a Lotus Hotel and Casino of Percy Jackson and all the 'haves' people were its enchanted customers while the 'have-nots' are those gasping at its doorstep seeking a way to enter.
Now, after a few months of home-bound life, this mad buying-spree may come to an end.
Having the gyms closed for a long time, many have found their new fitness gurus on YouTube, that too for free.
In the absence of favorite master chefs of the city, many turned to YouTube in a bid to become homemade master chefs. Many hotel-bound bachelors learned to cook and now like eating homemade food.
Many parents, spending a long time with their children, have learnt first-hand how their presence and company make their children happier than expensive toys.
"I bought my son many expensive toys. These used to make him happy. But I didn't buy him a single toy in the last three months. But it didn't bother him at all. He has been absorbed playing with his father, whom he used to see only a few times during a day before the pandemic," said Rojina Akter, a housewife.
Moreover, some people – who managed to not get fired during this layoff binge – have found their bank savings go up.
Naher, a journalist based in Dhaka, said that before the pandemic, she barely had any money left in her bank account at the end of months.
But during the months of unofficial lockdown, she nearly had "half of her salary survive each month as she never had to step into restaurants, hang out with friends or travel anywhere far."
"This pandemic taught me a new lifestyle. I think I have figured out how I can have a social life and still manage to save money for emergencies," said Naher.
Besides individual spending, the pandemic has also raised million-dollar questions on whether we are spending enough on our health care and education while overspending on security services.
These pandemic life-hacks, however, are often overshadowed by the crisis over livelihood; as Shohag Zaman says, "It is true that personally I am better off. But I have seen many people losing their jobs during this pandemic that I also fear being laid off as my company is struggling to make money."
"When you are a victim of a layoff, however, all these mantras and newfound wisdom hardly move you," Zaman added.