EUROPE

The crisis in numbers: eight Europeans share their monthly budgets

 Reeling from the economic backlash of Greece’s debt crisis, several eurozone member countries have passed harsh austerity measures at home in a bid to stave off their own financial crisis. To get a better picture of how these measures have affected people’s pocketbooks, we asked our Observers to share an example of their monthly budgets with us.

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Reeling from the economic backlash of Greece’s debt crisis, several eurozone member countries have passed harsh austerity measures at home in a bid to stave off their own financial crisis. To get a better picture of how these measures have affected people’s pocketbooks, we asked our Observers to share an example of their monthly budgets with us.

 

Some were outraged by the question while a handful of people commented that they had noticed no difference, but the vast majority of the responders indicated that the eurozone crisis had seriously impacted their finances in the form of tax hikes, spending cuts, low wages and reduced buying power.

 

If you would like to tell us how the eurozone crisis has affected your finances, please feel free to add your comments below…

GREECE

 

Geoff Desreumaux is a French national living with his wife in Athens, Greece. He provided us details regarding his overall household income and budget.

 

PROFESSION ……………….................. Social media marketing

NET INCOME ………………................... 2,500 euros/month (joint family net income)

ESTIMATED TOTAL TAXES PAID ……..650 euros/month

HOUSING…………………….................. 0 (homeowner, no mortgage)

FOOD ……………………….................... 500-700 euros/month

UTILITIES …………………..................... 300 euros/month (gas, electricity, water and garbage)

INTERNET/PHONE ……….................... 200 euros/month (two mobile phone, fixed phone and Internet)

TRANSPORTATION ……….................... 70 euros/month (scooter), 150 euros/month (car)

ADDITIONAL COSTS ……..................... 300 euros/month (private health insurance)

FINANCIAL AID …………….................... 0

ESTIMATED DISPOSABLE INCOME ... 0-300 euros/month

ESTIMATED SAVINGS ……………….... “only in exceptional cases”

 

“Since the Greek government began imposing austerity measures on its people, our family income has been almost divided in half. We our not happy at all about the decisions the government has made over the past 12 months and blame them for our economic situation”.

 

 

PORTUGAL

 

Alexandre Correia lives in Portugal’s southwestern town of Silves.

 

PROFESSION ……………….................. Student/Hotel bellhop

NET INCOME ………………................... 630 euros/month (plus tips)

ESTIMATED TOTAL TAXES PAID ……..120 euros/month

HOUSING…………………….................. 0 (lives at home with parents)

FOOD ……………………….................... 150 euros/month

UTILITIES …………………..................... 53 euros/month (electricity, gas and water)

INTERNET/PHONE ……….................... 20 euros/month (TV, Internet, fixed phone) 15 euros/month (mobile)

TRANSPORTATION ……….................... 100 euros/month (car)

ADDITIONAL COSTS ……..................... 250 euros/month (private university fees)

FINANCIAL AID …………….................... 0

ESTIMATED DISPOSABLE INCOME ... 50 – 100 euros/month

ESTIMATED SAVINGS ……………….... 0

 

“As Portugal continues to heap austerity measures on us, it’s becoming harder and harder to save any money. I’m 27 years old, and this makes it very difficult for a young person like me to be independent. I’m already thinking of immigrating as soon as I finish my studies…”

FRANCE

 

Stephanie Wolski lives in the southern French town of Langogne. Struggling to find work, Wolski has been forced to live off of unemployment benefits for the last two years.

 

PROFESSION ……………….................. Dairy sheep farmer (unemployed)

NET INCOME ………………................... 540 euros/month (unemployment)

ESTIMATED TOTAL TAXES PAID …….. n/a

HOUSING……………………................... 265 euros/month (rent)

FOOD ………………………..................... 150 euros/month

UTILITIES …………………...................... 20 euros/month (gas, electricity and water)

INTERNET/PHONE ………..................... 76 euros/month (mobile phone, fixed phone and Internet)

TRANSPORTATION ……….................... 300 euros/month (car)

ADDITIONAL COSTS ……...................... 0

FINANCIAL AID …………….................... 153 euros/month (social benefit) + 193 euros/month (housing subsidy)

ESTIMATED DISPOSABLE INCOME ... 0

ESTIMATED SAVINGS ……………….... 0

 

“The government only started granting me my social benefits and housing subsidy last month. Before that, I had a budget of 255 euros each month to feed myself, get around and communicate. With the extra 346 euros of aid I receive now I can take out a mobile phone subscription, as well as pay for Internet and a home”.

 

 

Jean P. (not his real name) is a retiree living in the France’s northeastern town of Meurthe-et-Moselle. He shares his expenses with his wife, who has an irregular income.

 

PROFESSION ……………….................. Retired SNCF employee

NET INCOME …….................................... 2,000 euros/month

ESTIMATED TOTAL TAXES PAID ……..65 euros/month

HOUSING…………………….................. 0 (homeowner, mortgage paid off)

FOOD ……………………….................... 500 euros/month

UTILITIES …………………..................... 100 euros/month (electricity and water)

INTERNET/PHONE ……….................... 110 euros/month (four mobile phones and Internet)

TRANSPORTATION ………................... 150-200 euros/month (car)

ADDITIONAL COSTS ……..................... 150-200 euros/month (financial support for child in university)

FINANCIAL AID …………….................... 180 euros (family subsidy)

ESTIMATED DISPOSABLE INCOME ... 0, “sometimes we’re even in the negative”

ESTIMATED SAVINGS ………………… 100 euros/month

 

“France’s economy only seems to get worse and worse. We don’t go on holiday anymore, we drive around in 10-year-old cars, and I can’t even afford to finish construction on my house. Looking at the state of things, I don’t see them getting any better anytime soon…”

ITALY

 

Gianfranco Reppucci lives and works in Milan, Italy.

 

PROFESSION ………………................... Self employed software architect and web developer

NET INCOME ……………........................ 3,000 – 3,300 euros/month

ESTIMATED TOTAL TAXES PAID …….. 1,500 - 1,650 euros/month

HOUSING……………………................... 500 euros/month (rent)

FOOD ………………………..................... 300 euros/month

UTILITIES …………………...................... 50 euros/month (gas and electricity)

INTERNET/PHONE ………..................... 60 euros/month (mobile phone and Internet)

TRANSPORTATION ……….................... 25 euros/month (public transport)

ADDITIONAL COSTS ……...................... 0

FINANCIAL AID …………….................... 0

ESTIMATED DISPOSABLE INCOME ... 400 euros/month

ESTIMATED SAVINGS ……………….... 0

 

“I feel like my financial situation has definitely been impacted by the eurozone crisis – no one studied any possible real solutions to the situation we’re in. In my opinion, there is no crisis – we’re suffering from the ‘financial games’ of a few people who are playing with our lives”.

 

 

William Dongmo, originally from Cameroon, lives and studies in Italy's capital, Rome.

 

PROFESSION ………………................... Student/Part-time retail sales person

NET INCOME ……………........................ 480 euros/month

ESTIMATED TOTAL TAXES PAID …….. 40 euros/month

HOUSING……………………................... 160 euros/month (rent a room in an apartment)

FOOD ………………………..................... 40 euros/month

UTILITIES …………………..................... 32 euros/month (electricity and gas)

INTERNET/PHONE ……….................... 40 euros/month (mobile phone)

TRANSPORTATION ……….................... 0

ADDITIONAL COSTS ….......................... 0

FINANCIAL AID …………........................ 0

ESTIMATED DISPOSABLE INCOME ... 168 euros/month

ESTIMATED SAVINGS ……….....…....... 0

 

"I just want to finish my studies and do whatever I can afterwards to contribute to the process of ending the crisis".

BELGIUM

 

Rémi B. (not his real name), lives in Belgium with his wife and child. Below is data concerning both their incomes and shared expenses.

 

PROFESSION ………………................... IT manager (Rémi B.), industrial designer (wife)

NET INCOME ……………........................ 4,000 euros/month (Rémi B.), 4,000 euros/month (wife)

ESTIMATED TOTAL TAXES PAID .......... 1,800 euros/month (Rémi B.), 2,200 euros/month (wife)

HOUSING……………………................... 1,200 euros/month (mortgage payments)

FOOD ………………………..................... 300-400 euros/month (minimum)

UTILITIES …………………...................... 250 euros/month (gas, electricity and water) 110 euros/year (garbage)

INTERNET/PHONE ………..................... 50 euros/month (TV and Internet, mobile paid by comppany)

TRANSPORTATION ……….................... 250 euros/month (wife’s car)

ADDITIONAL COSTS ……...................... 400 euros/month (anticipated childcare costs)

FINANCIAL AID …………….................... 1,700 euros/year (tax reduction for first time home owners, valid for 10 years)

ESTIMATED DISPOSABLE INCOME ... 400 euros/month (maximum)

ESTIMATED SAVINGS ……………........ “all saved money goes to house improvements”

 

“Our situation could be worse, but we’ve got a second child on the way, which will pose a financial strain on our already tight budget. I’m planning on installing solar [panels] and also switching to a wood-burning stove for heating in order to compensate for the growing cost of living”.

NETHERLANDS

 

Alphons Metselaar lives with his wife and child in Nootdorp, a city just outside the Hague in the Netherlands. While he and his wife share living costs, he provided us with the expenses that he is personally responsible for in the family budget.

 

PROFESSION ………………................... Civil servant

NET INCOME ……………….................... 3,852 euros/month

ESTIMATED TOTAL TAXES PAID .......... 1,132 euros/month

HOUSING……………………................... 900 euros/month (mortgage payments)

FOOD ………………………..................... 400 euros/month

UTILITIES …………………...................... 80 euros/month (gas, electricity, water, garbage and recycling)

INTERNET/PHONE ………..................... 24 euros/month (fixed telephone, TV and Internet)

TRANSPORTATION ……….................... 80 euros/month (car)

ADDITIONAL COSTS ……...................... 0

FINANCIAL AID …………….................... 0

ESTIMATED DISPOSABLE INCOME ... 200 euros/month

ESTIMATED SAVINGS ............................“yes”

 

“My situation is stable and reasonably good. I have my concerns, what with everything that’s happening in the euro zone, but right now, everything is fine".