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During the last year, our citizens spent most of their monthly income on basic life needs. Total available resources in households were on average 644 EUR, while personal expenses came up to 590 EUR a month.
Last Monstat research shows that average Montenegrin family spends almost a third of its monthly income on food, then rent and utilities.
Economic analyst Vasilije Kostić spoke to Pobjeda saying that the poorer the country, the more we can see expenses for food dominate, because there is not enough money left for other things, let alone luxury.
Montenegrin households, however, spend 3 million EUR a month for tobacco, which is more than they do for fruits, at 2,68 million EUR a month. More money is spent on phone related expenses (6,42 million) than on education (2,93 million EUR).
Kostić said that it is difficult to invest in education when you do not have enough for basic needs.
“The amount spent on education is not reflective of our lack of interest in it, but of existential necessities”, he said.
He said that the decrease in total level of spending is relative to expenses such as alcohol, coffee, tobacco and similar.
He said that data such as this clearly demonstrates the life standard of citizens.
“In order to get an even better picture, you must compare between countries. Personal expenses in Montenegro are at the level of 49% of EU. In Croatia it is around 59%, in BiH 37%, while in Albania 34%”, Kostić said.
In order to better understand this data, it must be said that the spending structure characterized by dominant expenses for food and drink is one of citizens with low living standard.
“Here we have a situation where food and drink take up 30% of total spendings, rent and utilities 24%, clothes 8,4%, electricity 7,6%, tobacco 2,5%, education 2% but telecommunications 5,4%”, he said.
How to interpret the fact that more money is spent for tobacco and phones then for education, and is this unusual? Kostić found the answer in comparison with neighbours.
“In Croatia, every third kuna goes to food and drink. This is total of 29,5%. Utilities, rent and transportation are around 15%. Clothes 6,7%, telecommunications 5,5%, alcohol and tobacco 3,3%, health 3%, restaurants and hotels 2,7% and education 1,1%”, Kostić said, adding that in Serbia more than 40% of household budget goes to food.
He said that in EU member countries a lot less budget of a household goes to food expenses. In Great Britain this is at 13%, in Luxembourg and Germany 14%, in Romania 38%. On average, the number is around 18%. So what is the difference?
“Generally speaking, the poorer the country, the structure changes so that food expenses are dominant. In countries that have a different situation, less is spent on food, and more on cultural needs. The structure is influenced by habits of living, beliefs, cultural encoding of certain societies, so the countries that have a similar markup, usually behave the same, as we can see in the date on former Yugoslavia”, Kostić concluded.
Source: Cafe Del Montenegro