Bahrain: The government is doing its part amidst this crisis. Are you?

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“All loan installments for Bahraini citizens and corporates will be auto differed for 6 months at no fees, no additional interest and no increase in the loan rate. March installments deducted will be refunded. If you are not interested in postponing your installment, please call us.”

One of the leading banks in Bahrain sent us this message today, and hopefully, you also would have received similar messages. This is one of the many measures announced and undertaken by the government of Bahrain to cushion the economic setbacks caused by the pandemic.

Another very popular one is the decision to cover electricity and water payments for all individuals and companies for 3 months. This comes as a relief to many, who would have otherwise struggled with mounting utility bills, especially in the upcoming summer months.

Gulf Insider appreciates the Bahrain government and other GCC leaders for their commendable efforts to reduce the impact of COVID 19, protect the economy and make our lives as comfortable as possible during this period. The government is doing all the right things at all the right times, medical professionals are working in overdrive, non-essential commercial shop owners have lowered their shutters.

That being said, let’s put the spotlight on ourselves for a minute. As a citizen or resident, how are you contributing to the country?

Break the chain campaigns all over the world are constantly stressing – one person can make a difference. Here are a few ways to do so:

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Do as much as possible to ensure that your electricity consumption will be lesser than last month’s.

  • Use water carefully – With all the hand-washing going on, a global water scarcity crisis is expected. The correct way to wash your hands is to scrub it with soap for at least 20 seconds, but you don’t need to keep the tap running for that long.
  • Don’t indulge in panic buying – Trucks and planes have arrived with food enough for 6 months. Hoarding only inflates the price of essentials for everybody.
  • Have a plan – Set a budget. More people spending more time at home can lead to a lot of unnecessary and impulse buying.
  • If you must go out – Use your non-dominant hand for doorknobs, to open the door of your car, press the elevator button, bathroom doors, etc. The explanation is that it is difficult for you to touch your face with that hand and for the coronavirus to come into contact with mucus (eyes, mouth, etc.) So if you’re right-handed, use your left.
  • Stay home and support local businesses by ordering in.

Need a little help with budgeting? Go by the 50/30/20 Budgeting Rule:

Allot 50% of your income for essentials

Set aside no more than half of your income for the absolute necessities in your life. To be clear, your essential expenses are those you would almost certainly have to pay. In general, these expenses are nearly the same for everyone and include housing, food, transportation costs and utility bills.

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Allot 30% towards personal spending

This category, and the one that can make the most difference in your budget, is unnecessary expenses that enhance your lifestyle. It all depends on what you want out of life, and what you’re willing to sacrifice.

These personal lifestyle expenses include items such as your cell phone plan, cable bill and eating outside. Components of this category include gym memberships, weekend trips, and clothing. Only you can decide which of your expenses can be designated as “personal,” and which ones are truly obligatory.

Allot 20% of your income as savings

The next step is to dedicate 20 percent of your take-home pay toward savings. This includes savings plans, debt payments and emergency funds.

This category of expenses should only be paid after your essentials are already taken care of and before you even think about anything in the last category of personal spending.

You don’t need a high income to follow the 50/30/20 rule; anyone can do it. Since this is a percentage-based system, the same proportions apply whether you’re earning BD 200 or 2000.

 

 

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