Банкеръ Weekly

Briefs

BGN0.5MN SPENT ON TREATS DESPITE THE POVERTY

The gross income per Bulgarian household increased from BGN304.12 in February 2002 to BGN323.97 in the same month of 2003, the National Statistics Institute (NSI) announced. Thus, each month during that period the income of a family (not the income per family member) rose by BGN1.65 лева. And the average income per capita of the country's population went up from BGN113.24 in February 2002 to BGN122.39 in February 2003. It should be specified that about 3.3% of these incomes were in kind.NSI's data, collected through polls are far from being the most representative ones, but nevertheless, they give an idea about the tendencies in the households' incomes. And they show that the working salary still has the largest share (52.3% in February 2003, up from 50.7% in the same month of last year) in the family budget. Incomes from pensions come next, accounting for 28% (almost the same as in 2002) of the family incomes. Proceeds from entrepreneurship are third, accounting for 5.5% of the family budget, which shows that Bulgarians have not become more enterprising within a year. The aggregate incomes of all households rose from BGN50MN to BGN53MN in the above-mentioned period. Fees and incomes other than from salaries have shrunk to 3% of the family budgets.The share of social dole and children allowences is small. They have increased insignificantly from 3.5% in February 2002 to 3.7% in February 2003.Incomes from rents and proceeds from other property are symbolical (0.5% in 2003), which either means that the real estates have depreciated or that the people conceal the income they get in that way. Household farming (it is not certain if the big tins in which Sofia's citizens grow tomatoes and peppers on their balconies in blocks of flats are included in this category) has retained its 3.6% share.The interest yields from saving deposits have dropped tangibly due to the decrease in the amounts kept in bank accounts. Savings per family were BGN1.60 in February 2003, down from BGN2.12 a year ago. But family budgets are now more often supplemented by credits. In 2003 monthly incomes from loans per household amounted to BGN8.28, or a total of BGN24.4MN.Households' expenses totalled BGN307.10MN in February 2003, up from BGN300.71 last year. Comparing the expenses and incomes in February 2003 it turns out that the average saved amount was BGN16.97, up from only BGN3.41 in February 2002. This gives reason to conclude that there is an upward tendency in savings.The money spent on food, which logically predominates in the total family expenses, has slightly dropped. The share of costs for foodstuffs was 37.9% in February 2003, vs. 39.8% in February last year. It is interesting that about 5% of the consumed food has not been purchased, which bespeaks that it has either been produced by the household or has been recieved as payment in kind. The relative share of various kinds of foodstuffs in our diet has changed. Consumprion of bread has decreased at the expense of meat and fruit.Expenses for the home have been constantly increasing and 21% of the household incomes are spent on water, central heating and electricity bills, fuels, maintenance of the home or purchase of furniture (more rarely). In addition, people's health has either deteriorated and they have visited their GPs more frequently, or they have grown more prudent - 5.7% of their expenses (BGN17.56) were for healthcare in February 2003 as compared to 5.2% in February 2002.Despite everything, Bulgarians have become more mobile. One tenth of their total consumer expenses (a little more than BGN31 vs. BGN28.24 in 2002) went for transport and communications.The family purse has been thinning also from the purchase of alchoholic drinks and cigarettes and payment of due taxes. Expenses for various treats (independent of what kind) have been included in this category. BGN10.52 was paid in cash for that item, while consumption was worth BGN10.70. Rough calculations show that in February 2003 alone the right people received drinks and cigarettes worth BGN0.5MN.It should be underlined that taxes have become a huge burden to the family budget. Their share increased from 3% in February 2002 to to 3.5% this year. This is almost equal to the expenses for education and leisure time (3.4 per cent). An interesting phenomenon is evident - families have somehow learnt to make a little go a long way. Incomes from houdehold farming retained their share, but the expenses for keeping the garden, the plants on the balcony, etc. dropped tangibly - by more than 30 per cent. In February 2003 the respective amount of such costs per household was BGN7.08, down from BGN11.63 last year.Due to the fact that we have to set aside 30% more for payment of due taxes (BGN9.23 per family), less money remains for the purchase of clothes and footwear. Instead of BGN8.65 (spent on such goods in February 2002), Bulgarian families paid BGN7.56 in February 2003 in order to be more or less decently dressed.

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