MasterCard survey shows tighter budgeting among Greek consumers

Eight in 10 Greeks are controlling their spending much more tightly than before, while there has been a swing back to "traditional values" concerning life's priorities, such as good health and family, according to a MasterCard Barometer survey conducted by Mastercard and Focus Bari between December 2010 and March 2011.

The majority of Greek consumers now places much more importance on health (64 percent) and family (59 percent), putting these at the top of the list of life's main priorities. Work and career follows at a distance (36 percent) and are seen more as a means of survival and earning income than a means of self-validation. Next in line are friends/social life (15 percent) and the environment (9 percent).

There is a distinct differentiation of priorities based on age and gender, especially in terms of work and career and family.

While both sexes consider health a top priority, men are more likely to consider professional advancement a priority while women put greater emphasis on starting and supporting a family.

In terms of age, health is a top priority for those aged 55-plus, while the 45-54 age group put greater emphasis on family and those aged 25-44 place greater weight on work as a means of earning a living. The 18-24 age group placed more emphasis on friends and having fun and saw career as a means of self-validation.

According to the poll, the importance that Greeks attach to recreation and entertainment is 37 percent less than in the past, while acquiring goods and having a career as a means of achieving recognition also carry less weight than in the past.

A further 25 percent does not report any change in the parameters of their life they consider important.

In terms of monitoring their spending, 59 percent adopt the method of systematically adhering to a specific budget for every purchase. Another 41 percent adopt the method of using cash only, so they cannot spend more than they have and a further 38 percent ensure that they do not make unplanned purchases.

Women declare themselves more disciplined in their approach to spending money, saying that they ensure each purchase stays within their initial budget. Older age groups avoid making unplanned purchases.

The survey was carried out using a sample of 1,960 individuals aged 18-70 that were permanent residents of Attica, Thessaloniki, mainland Greece and Crete. The estimated size of the population covered by the survey was 6,119,000.

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