The High Cost of Living is Not a Theory. It Is a Fact.

Dear Friends.. In my morning articles, I mostly try to describe the daily developments by presenting numerical evidence. Sometimes I try to explain the numerical data with the market facts. In Turkey, there is an endless struggle between the high cost of living and people’s diminishing purchasing power.

The latest results of the Hunger and Poverty Line Survey are quite appalling. According to the research commissioned by the Confederation of Turkish Trade Unions (Türk-İş), inflation in the kitchen increased by 6.2% on a monthly basis and by 117.3% on an annual basis. The research also shows that the hunger threshold climbed up to TRY 6,891, a figure that is higher than the minimum wage nearly by TRY 2000.

The monthly cost of living of a wage earner alone is TRY 8,313. Türk-İş commented: “It takes almost two minimum wages for one person to survive”. Two years ago, TRY 2,952 was the minimum required standard for living. In other words, the cost of living per one person increased by 2.8-fold.

The survey states that a family of four needs at least TRY 20,818 to have a healthy and balanced diet, and to meet their clothing, housing, transportation, education, healthcare, and other needs. Two years ago, this cost was TRY 7918. In other words, the cost of living for a nuclear family has increased more than 2.5 times in just two years.

“From Rents to Tuition Fees…”

The data above are the results of a research conducted in Ankara. The figures would definitely be different in Istanbul or other cities. I pay almost twice the rent I was paying two years ago. These days I am looking for a 3+1 flat for a happy reason, and I must tell you that rents are appallingly high, and they vary significantly by district.

Today, it is not possible to afford the high costs of living in Turkey unless husband and a wife work together in a four-person household. And I’m saying without even including the money you spend on your wants. I never once heard my late father complain about the tuition fees even though my older brother Kerem Alkin and I went to a private school. When I look back, I see that the money I spent on my two sons’ education almost worth a fortune. All of this shows us how badly the relative price balance has deteriorated in the last 20 years.

The cost of taking a vacation, which is done only once a year, is much higher than the monthly wages. We are faced with a rapidly deteriorating pricing behaviour in a number of services of general interest including fuel, electricity, healthcare, education etc. Although the successive wage hikes seem to protect people against the soaring inflation in the short term, they seem like they will be the cause of greater costs in the future. Now it’s time for households as well to take up pen and paper, and write down their monthly expenses, essential purchases, and their available spending potential. We need to get through this difficult process by financial reconciliation at home. So, in short, it might be useful for everyone to lower their expectations.