From hand to mouth

For example, Syktyvkar: This is how average Russians live on their incomes – and without savings

How do they do it, the Russians?? Earn comparatively small money and still lead a relatively "European" life. Maybe you have already asked yourself the same question. The MDZ puts it to the test. We asked Russians in Syktyvkar, a typical Russian provincial town, to disclose their finances.

The Moscow-based Romir polling institute reported in late March that 61 percent of Russians have no savings at all. It's the highest it's been in more than a decade, he said. Further twelve per cent indicated to have used up straight their last reserves.

In other words, a large majority of Russians live from hand to mouth. How to master with it the everyday life? In Syktyvkar, a city of nearly 250.In a town with a population of around 1,000 kilometers northeast of Moscow, capital of the Komi Republic in the Urals, MDZ spoke to local residents and asked them about their income and expenditure. A financial portrait of Russia, broken down to private living conditions.

A branch of Sberbank: Small savers are rather the exception here. / RIA Novosti

Only the son was at the seaside: Elisaveta Popovichenko, 31, employee in a stomatology department

In Syktyvkar, earning opportunities are very manageable, especially in the private sector like mine. The state pays better, but to get a job there you have to have connections. I do not have.

In general, things are not looking rosy with work. There is little industry left here, unemployment is increasing. I'm getting my higher education now, and hopefully I'll find a more lucrative job.

With our family budget we make ends meet, we don't look at money when we buy groceries, and we don't save anything from our mouths. But we are also very lucky, we live in an inherited three-room apartment. I don't know what else would become. We couldn't afford to take out a mortgage, and we couldn't afford to pay rent, because we'd have to pay 15 euros for a comparable-sized apartment.000 to 20.000 rubles. For taking care of my husband's father, he pays us a household allowance. This is also a great help.

Sometimes we go to the cinema, go bowling or go skiing, that's all we can afford. We don't have a car, we spend our vacations in the village with our parents. I have never been to the sea! Of course I wouldn't say no to that, but I see it soberly. There are more important things. And if we have money left over, then our son should rather profit from it, so that he can travel with his soccer team. Last summer at least he was at the Black Sea.

We have no savings. And if I look around and judge by my acquaintances, 80 percent of the people here live about the same as we do.

Through Europe on taxpayers' money: Yaroslav Popov, 27, trainer in a soccer school for children

I have never been able to save money. The money is hardly enough until the end of the month. I keep my head above water only thanks to the credits and the credit card. And I can forget about improving myself financially.

Last year I bought a semi-professional reflex camera worth 100 euros.000 rubles. But that was only possible because I had sold my share in a condominium beforehand. From the proceeds I could also reduce the mortgage rate by more than half.

Last summer my wife and I took a bus trip through Europe. We were able to finance this with tax refunds, which we are entitled to as buyers of a condominium. The rest we had to borrow together.

Neither rich nor poor: Tamara Shoyskaya, 65, pensioner

My husband died at an early age, and I have been alone for twelve years. Our four children are of course long out of the house, but visit me frequently. My parents once left us an apartment with 78 square meters, which I now have all to myself. But I often stay longer at our dacha 20 kilometers outside the city. We grow potatoes, carrots and other vegetables there, so I practically don't have to buy any of them in the store. I also keep a goat, so milk is also taken care of.

The 22.000 rubles, which are transferred to me monthly, are considered a good pension in our country. I used to be a civil servant, I worked in the Regional Ministry of Social Affairs. I am a teacher by profession. Apart from the additional costs for our condominium, I have practically no fixed monthly expenses, although as a pensioner I have to pay half for 18 square meters of the apartment. Even if I help the children financially, at the end of the month I have an average of 6000 rubles left over, which I put aside just in case.

We don't live on a large scale, but we don't live in poverty either, everything is quite normal. I don't take out loans on principle, I don't live on delicacies, the Internet leaves me cold. Now and then I spoil myself by buying special fruit. I also like to go to the theater. But I have something nice to wear, that's enough for me.

So far, I have not had to rely on medicines – good luck!. I have learned to deal with my aches and pains. When they call, what I need most of all is rest. Otherwise I am doing well. I know that medicine is a big financial burden for most pensioners, many spend half of their pension on it. We used to get the medicine for free. Today you have to pay for everything.

Written by Tino Kunzel

Monthly fixed sums in our three example cases (excluding variable costs like food)

Popovichenko family: Konstantin, Saveliy, Elizaveta

46.000 rubles salary (ca. 615 Euro) – 23 each.000 rubles per spouse

5000 rubles care allowance from the man's father (ca. 65 Euro)

Total: 51.000 rubles (ca. 680 euros)

8000 rubles incidental cost (approx. 105 euros)

8000 ruble loans for household equipment (ca. 105 euros)

4000 rubles public transport (approx. 55 euros)

400 rubles phone and internet (approx. 5 euros)

Total: 20.400 rubles (approx. 272 Euro)

Popov family: Nastya, Yaroslav

52.900 rubles salary (ca. 705 euros) – 22.000 rubles (Nastya) + 30.900 rubles (Yaroslav)

13.884 ruble mortgage (approx. 185 euros)

3000 rubles in incidental costs (approx. 40 euros)

7721 ruble car loan (approx. 103 Euro)

2000 rubles gasoline (ca. 27 euros)

2000 rubles phone credit (ca. 27 euros)

5000 rubles professional training (ca. 65 euros)

2100 rubles English lessons (ca. 28 euros)

1800 rubles gym (ca. 24 euros)

1100 rubles phone and internet (approx. 15 euros)

Total: 38.605 rubles (approx. 515 euros)

Tamara Shoyskaya (3.v.l.)

22.000 rubles pension (ca. 295 euros)

4500 rubles incidental expenses (approx. 60 euros)

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