Buy an iPhone, a laptop, or even save to go to the movies is a feat for the Venezuelan
Leer en español: ¿Cuánto tiempo tendría que ahorrar un venezolano para ir al cine?
Assets and experiences that other Latin Americans could pay in a short time, the Venezuelan takes at least six months. The already historic inflation of Venezuela has just increased in the month of May, and Nicolás Maduro increased the minimum wage by 95.4%, leaving it at 2,555,500 Bolívares Fuertes (BsF.), which is equivalent to almost a kilo of cheese, or two cans of tuna. In the official exchange rate, this minimum wage is equal to $ 37 dollars, but taking as a reference the parallel dollar, which is used by ordinary people, is equal to $ 3 dollars.
Generally, to save people use a formula that, regardless of income, can maintain a balanced account: 50% for basic expenses, 20% savings and 30% for personal expenses. In Venezuela, it is not realistic to eat with 50% of the minimum wage, so we leave 70% for basic expenses and 30% for savings or personal expenses. Using this formula, we determine how much time a Venezuelan would have to save to buy some gadgets and share experiences that have become luxuries for the majority in the country:
Go to the movies (3 months)
If the Venezuelan wants to see a movie in the cinema, he has to pay 300 thousand for his ticket, but if he also wants to buy a combo of popcorn, he must pay an additional 1,500,000 BsF. Going to the cinema could cost approximately 2 million bolivars per person. That is to say, the Venezuelan would have to save 3 months to enjoy a movie in the cinema. The price is similar to go to a bar or a restaurant.
To do groceries (6 months)
Something common like going out to buy bread at the supermarket also implies stress for the Venezuelan. In May, buying a 10-unit bread bag costs 427,425 BsF; a jam can be obtained in 285,000 BsF .; half a kilo of cheese costs 1,210,000 BsF, half a kilo of potatoes is obtained in 414,800 BsF; half a kilo of ground pork, which is the cheapest option, costs 1,531,350 BsF.
If someone also wants a bag to charge his purchase, they charge 8,928 BsF. for each one. In total, going to the supermarket costs approximately 4 million BsF. if you buy only the most basic foods for dinner or lunch, assuming you have stored some vegetables at home.
This is a purchase that is made every five days in most homes. In a month, peole would spend 15,600,000 BsF eating twice a day. That means that six minimum wages are needed to eat every day of the month, without any savings. The Venezuelan who earns minimum wage could spend only 638,875 BsF per week, barely enough for bread.
Nutella (1 year)
Nutella hazelnut chocolate of 750 grams can be obtained in 9 million bolivars. If the Venezuelan who earns a minimum wage saves 30% of his income, it would take him a year to buy a bottle of Nutella.
iPhone 5S (21 years)
The iPhone 5S in Venezuela has a value of 192 million bolivars. If the Venezuelan saves 30% of his salary per month (766,650 BsF), it would take him 251 months, that is, 21 years to pay for the iPhone 5S, if the salary and the prices remain the same.
Macbook Pro Laptop (134 years)
The Macbook Pro laptop costs 1,232 million bolivars. If the Venezuelan saves 30% of the minimum wage per month, it would take 134 years (1607 months) to pay for this laptop.
The main problem to save in Venezuela is that the bolivar does not have a stable value due to the hyperinflation of the country. With the wage increase, people fear the escalating prices in supermarkets and the daily change of the parallel dollar. "Saving in bolivars in Venezuela is nonsense," says economist Carlos Hermoso, who recommends acquiring dollars or valuing savings in material goods such as cars, homes, and insurance.
Many young professionals, who just graduate from universities, prefer to look for jobs online by clicking on ads or playing video games instead of working as employees in what they spent so much time in their lives studying. It is simply more profitable to earn in dollars and let die professional aspirations, or save to make the difficult decision to leave Venezuela for pursuing a better future.
Latin American Post | María de los Ángeles Rubio
Translated from “ ¿Cuánto tiempo tendría que ahorrar un venezolano para ir al cine?”