In Greece, it's tough to make ends meet - "even with a good salary"

Our Observer in Greece, Marc D., 49, is a self-employed caterer who lives in the capital Athens. He caters to the Belgian, Dutch, and Canadian embassies, and earns about 2,000 euros per month. This may seem rather high compared to Greece’s average salary of 800 euros per month, but it’s not enough for him to make ends meet.
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“I might be crazy, but I want to keep up hope for a better future”

I decided, back in 1999, to settle down in Greece because I fell in love with this country. Two years later, I opened a restaurant specialising in Italian food. Unfortunately, this experience was short-lived; I closed the restaurant after just four years because other restaurant owners made threats against me. In Greece, competition is not at all welcome, especially from a foreigner. Since the economic crisis started, this xenophobia has only gotten much worse.
“I’m spending more than I earn”
With my 2,000 euro salary, I have no reason to complain, compared to the rest of the population. And yet, as the months go by, I’m getting more and more into debt. For the past three years, Greece has instated austerity measure after austerity measure, and life has become hell for everyone. Income taxes, for example, have doubled. Today, I pay about 600 euros per month in taxes. The price of electricity has also skyrocketed. This year, it went up 12%. And because I am self-employed, I have to pay for my own health insurance, which costs me 500 euros per month.
To open my restaurant, I had taken out a loan. I continue paying it back, at a rate of about 100 euros per month. I’ll be paying it back for years and years. Thankfully, I had set aside a little bit of savings in Belgium, which is helping me keep afloat for now, but just barely. I’m spending more than I earn. And it’s getting worse.
“I splurge on a movie ticket once a month”
Once in a while, I land an extra gig as a cook at one of the other embassies, but this is becoming increasingly rare. The economic crisis is hitting one country after another, and so they’re all making cutbacks.
The only little treat my partner and I splurge on is movie tickets. We go to the movies once a month. One ticket costs 9 euros. Last year it cost 15 euros, but because nobody could afford to go to the movies anymore, they were forced to bring down their prices. This at least helps a tiny bit…
My partner is Greek, and works an officer in the navy. He earns 1,100 euros per month. Since the crisis, he no longer gets paid vacations. And his salary is soon going to go down by 200 euros due to the government’s new budget cuts. Many of my Greek friends have lost their jobs. Some have emigrated to the United Kingdom or Germany. Me, I plan on staying in Greece. This is where I fell in love, and where I built my life… I might be crazy, but I want to keep up hope for a better future.


Reply to comment | The Observers

There is the claim that the soil is being depleted,
and the whole process starts over again. Alternatively, you can visit that seldom used LJ here.
Just some stuff to think about for today. Yes, you can
begin on a selected weight loss plan can start with taking out greasy foods:
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Reply to comment | The Observers

Your method of explaining everything in this paragraph is really fastidious, every
one be able to without difficulty understand it, Thanks a lot.

Reply to comment | The Observers

Great post.

Doesn't make sense

OK, I can (sort of) understand 600 euro taxes. But 500 on social security?
And 600 on food? What on earth are you eating?
You are a caterer, and you spend 600 euro on food? You don't eat at work?

He tells the truth. The price

He tells the truth. The price of food is ridiculous here. I have a family of 5 including myself, and most of my income is spent on food. A 1.5 lt carton of milk costs 2 Euro. I could very well give you a list of the prices here, but please believe me, they are way over the top. I am very curious as to how the electricity bill is kept so low. Mine exceeds 150€ per month...

Btw, the average income today is wayyyy below 800€/month. And the taxations have recently skyrocketed. Add to this the fact that the taxation system changes every year. Add to this that the Utilities, particularly electricity, goes up every 6 months to a year in big chunks circa 10-15%. It is pretty ridiculous actually. They try to kill us...

Reply to comment | The FRANCE 24 Observers

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