As fears of a recession circle the globe, DW-WORLD.DE asked people from seven European countries about their impressions of the cost of living. The series begins in the German capital.
Berlin's still expensive despite its reputation as one of Europe's cheapest capitals
Christiane is an actress living in Berlin. She works night shifts in a retirement home to earn enough money to pay her rent. Her apartment is about a 10-minute subway ride from the center of Berlin.
Monthly income: 400 euros ($591), plus occasional side jobs
Rent: 310 euros ($458) for a two-room apartment with kitchen and bath.
Monthly utilities: 100 euros ($148)
Bus / metro ticket: 2.10 euros ($3.10)
One liter of milk: 0.89 euros ($1.32)
Loaf of bread: 2.00 euros ($2.96)
Domestic stamp: 0.55 euros ($0.81)
Movie ticket: 7.50 euros ($11.09)
To what extent does inflation affect you?
I don't think so much about it. But certainly there are some things concerning social life that I can't afford very often -- things like going out for a meal or cinema or theater.
Have you noticed that things have become more expensive recently?
Yes! Especially fruits and vegetables have got quite expensive. But also the "social life stuff" is expensive.
How easy is it for you to get by?
It is a struggle to get by. Not to have a lot of money isn't the problem. I can manage with little but to have less than the minimum cost of living is not so easy. I feel it more and more as a burden, because I don't know if this situation will ever change for me.
Would an increase in your wages be necessary to make it easier for you to meet you basic needs?
Certainly, yes! A little more money would make things much easier.
What's your opinion on the European economy?
To be honest I don't think very much about the European economy so I shouldn't talk about things I don't know much about. But I do think that there would be enough money and enough jobs for everyone. It is only a question of distribution.
Nb. Currency conversion based on one euro = $1.47840 US