Life brings temptation to splash out

On what do Belarusians spend their money
By Vasily Kharitonov

The question of how we spend our money always arouses great interest and is the subject of a whole science, with data monitored and analysed by state, commercial and international organisations around the world. Such knowledge is worth its weight in gold. Trends in consumer spending allow enterprises to react promptly to changes in taste, inspiring us to keep spending our money!

In Belarus, the National Statistical Committee traditionally monitors consumer spending and recently issued results from the third quarter of 2012, having polled households countrywide. Belarusians have been spending 37-42 percent of their disposable income on food, varying by region; utility bills comprise just 2.9-3.5 percent of all expenditure.

Around 79 percent of total income is available for consumer spending. Just 1.6 percent is spent on household maintenance while 2.9 percent is put aside for taxes and other payments. Slightly over 10 percent is dedicated to savings: up to Br500,000 monthly per family — to be used for a rainy day or for big purchases. Around Br300,000, about 6 percent, is spent on miscellaneous extras, such as newspapers or DIY materials.

Belarusians do spend a high percentage of their income on foods, being ranked 33rd (out of 36) in the Rating of European Residents’ Expenses for Meals in 2011 — recently compiled by RIA specialists. One of Europe’s most successful countries, Luxembourg, has the best ranking, with residents spending just 8.5 percent of their income on food and non-alcoholic drinks. Second place is occupied by the UK (9.1 percent), followed by Austria (9.9 percent). Ukraine is ranked 36th, while Kazakhstan is 35th and Moldova 34th. Their residents spend 51, 44 and 42 percent of their incomes respectively — higher than in Belarus. The average Russian resident spends 29.5 percent on food products while the Lithuanians (ranked 28th) spend 25 percent. Those in Latvia spend 20 percent, the Poles 19 percent and Estonians around 20 percent.
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