What could you afford four years ago that you can’t now?
For one thing, travel abroad. My wife and I used to regularly go to Europe for our annual holiday, and for shorter trips we’d fly to Hurghada or Sharm el-Sheikh. We can’t do that anymore because of the exchange rate and the high price of airline tickets. Nor can we go out for a nice lunch or dinner as frequently as we used to. Instead of going to high-end restaurants, we order fast food. Ahmed Tamim, 35, banker
Buying new clothes. For the past two years, I have been trying to make my old wardrobe last as long as possible. When I absolutely have to buy shirts for work, I go to cheap shops. In the past, I used to buy decent quality shirts that would last at least a year. Now I just get what I can afford.
Sameh Abdel Tawab, 31, civil servant
The one thing I can still afford to buy is food. My family and I are not eating any less. Some places have raised their prices, but the increases are small enough that I still buy from them. The rest of the things we need I get from kind people, who donate their old clothes. We have never spent money on anything but the essentials, and I always shop at the cheapest possible places.
Mohamed Abdel Rahman, 29, shoe-shine man
My budget is definitely more stretched than it has ever been, despite my clients paying me more. I have never been able to afford anything more than the essentials, like food and clothing, but at least I used to have options. I could decide to eat meat four days a week rather than three, for example. Now I can only afford the basics, and it’s been a month since I bought meat or chicken. Prices have just gone crazy.
Fatma Sobhy, 46, maid
I’ve cut back on things like jackets, new shoes and other nonessentials. In the past year, I’ve stopped buying those kinds of things completely because they’ve become so expensive. When I’m out with friends, I don’t order food—just a drink and maybe and appetizer if I’m really hungry. I could still afford these things, but I ask myself why I’d pay so much for something I don’t really need.
Asmaa Waleed, 25, marketer
What is really stretching us—and we don’t know how we can continue to afford—is school fees. My daughter goes to an international school. We have been making do by squeezing our budget in every other area in order to pay her tuition. However, recent increases mean that I’ll be forced to look for a cheaper school for her, because we simply don’t make enough money to cover tuition next year and also afford basics like rice, meat, bread and milk.
Maryan Adel, 35, housewife
I have been retired for over a decade, so my spending hasn’t really changed. I realize prices have gone up, but I’m still buying the same stuff. I still have a driver, and I had to raise his salary this year. My daily spending is on food and drinks, with an occasional outing at the club with old friends where I can just not order anything.
Mohamed Saleh, 71, retired business owner