How do Egyptians Spend their Money?
Egyptians have mostly get used to the increase of their daily life expenses. Still, many are not aware of where their money really go.
The annual average of Egyptian household expenditure has jumped by 227 percent between 2004/2005 and 2015, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS).
1- Food before everything
In 2015, a household spent nearly 12,635 EGP on food and non-alcoholic beverages, which is 3 times its spending on health, 7 times its spending on education and 17 times its spending on recreation and culture.
Secondly, comes housing with 6,428 EGP per year. Then, healthcare with 3,680 EGP in 2015. According to the World Bank, despite the fact that most Egyptians have some sort of health insurance, 72 percent of healthcare costs in the country in that year were out of pocket. With the new universal healthcare bill passed in 2017, Egyptians will pay fees ranging from 1,300 EGP to 4,000 EGP a year for coverage, depending on income. Those below the poverty line will be exempted.
2- Entertainment Vs Culture
In 2015, Egyptian household spent two times more on alcoholic beverages, tobacco and narcotics than on recreation and culture, which cost only 757 EGP and around 63 EGP per month — which may or not cover the price of one movie ticket. By comparison, the cheapest subscription of Netflix today (US$ 8) stands at around 140 EGP per month. So, let us choose our movies wisely.
3- Indirect spending
Between 2004/2005 and 2015, alcoholic beverages, tobacco and narcotics have the second largest increasing percentage of our spending, just after health with a 712 percent. On average, we spent 144 EGP, monthly, to drink in 2015. A decade before, that used to be only 27 EGP. Prices were not taken into account.
The bronze medal of increased spending went to transportation, with a 399 percent change. It went from an average of 39 EGP per month in 2004/05 to 193 EGP monthly in 2015, which equals a little more than 6 EGP a day. In today’s rates, you’d get 3 daily metro rides in Cairo with that.
The item with the lowest percentage increase was clothing and footwear; nevertheless, the amount we spent on it still more than doubled during those 10 years, with a 128 percent increase to close at 172 EGP per month in 2015.
4- Meat is a Crime!
3,768 EGP is the cost household spent in 2015. It's more than spending on any other food item. Both rural and urban areas favor meat similarly, but people in urban areas actually spent 240 EGP more on it. According to Caterwings Meat Price Index (with 2017 prices), Egypt is actually one of the countries where meat is the cheapest, with an average price of US$ 8,13 (143 EGP) per kilogram of meat — 54,5 percent cheaper than the world average.
Still, this doesn't mean that Egyptian eats meat too much. In the same classification, Egypt stands in the lower end of meat consumption: #49 out of the 52 countries ranked, with 25,60kg per person yearly. Perhaps it has to do with the amount of hours we have to work to buy it: 20, on the country’s minimum wage (of 1m200 EGP).
5 - Vegetables come first, then chocolate
After meat, Egyptians spend their money on vegetables. We shelled out, on average, 1,754 EGP for veggies (still less than half of what we spent on meat). Milk, cheese and eggs took away 1,732 EGP from our budget, and represent the biggest difference in spending between rural and urban areas: people in cities spent 515 EGP more on them than those in rural areas. Closing up the top 4 expenditures on food are bread and cereals, with 1418 EGP.
Despite a study done in 2015 by the New England Journal of Medicine, which set the obesity rate in Egyptian adults at 35 percent, we spent considerably less on sugary items such as honey and chocolate (598 EGP) than we did on fruit (806 EGP). People in rural areas actually spending more on sweet stuff than those in urban ones (619 EGP against 574 EGP). Prices were not taken into account, though.
6 - Urban people Vs rural people
Rural households have actually witnessed a slightly higher percentage increase of spending than urban households between 2004/2005 and 2015: 247 percent against 213 percent. On the other hand, people in rural areas still spent less than those in big cities: in 2015, the average urban household spent 42,519 EGP; while the rural one spent 31 813 EGP — a 33,65 percent difference.