Living the good life, on borrowed money

The high cost of living may be leaving Greek households more indebted than ever before, but an analysis of the consumer model that most have adopted still indicates a certain level of prosperity. According to the latest survey of family budgets by the National Statistics Service, monthly income is spread over a number of expenditures, with food (17 percent) transport (12.6 percent) and housing (10.6 percent) topping the list. Greeks spend almost as much on communications (4.5 percent) as on recreation and cultural activities (5 percent), while outlay on drink and tobacco (3.99 percent) is higher than on education (2.86 percent). Compared to five years ago, we are spending less on basic goods such as food and clothing and more on little luxuries such as a new mobile phone or music gadget. Economists say that given international developments, this trend should have been even more marked. Although Greeks spent 30 percent of their monthly income on food 20 years ago, the 17 percent they spend now is still high for a European country. It appears that even for those living below the poverty line, it is better to cut down on basics than on luxuries.

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