The head of one of the 1,004 families that were interviewed for statistics every month told us how they used to live with an average income.
On the list of such statistics, there is a total of 1,004 four-member families, living in 50 Yugoslav cities.
“Well,” said our host after the third glass of brandy and rich snacks made up of dry sausages, sausages, and sour local pickles, “for the New Year’s Eve and the Day of Republic, me and my family, with guests, eat one brand new fridge of 180 liters for these two holidays. In fact, we spend so much money for sausages, snacks, sweets, drinks, and decorations that we could buy that refrigerator for that same money.”
“Yeah, I already have a refrigerator and do not need the other one, but”, he continues, “I just want to tell you about today’s situation. Before I had to work six months for that fridge, and now I can buy it from one salary. For this ‘Stojadin’ I needed to allocate 50 salaries before and now I can have it for 15 salaries. ”
“I, however, used to welcome another family of four on a proper, decent lunch with 5000 old dinars and now we need at least 200 new dinars. Those were the times when I ate lamb for 900 old dinars per kilogram, white cheese was 500 and sour cream was 1000 old dinars per kilogram.
But now came new times in which I can buy everything I need from head to toe from the clothing from my salary, and before I could not buy one winter coat made from that “Grombie” fabric which was modern back then.”
Then I asked housewife how much money she needs to allocate for food on a daily basis for normal three meals, snacks for children, and to drink coffee in the morning, and coffee and brandy afternoon and evening.
And she made the calculation according to which she spends 80 to 90 dinars on the ordinary working day, and on Sundays and Saturdays between 110 and 120 dinars.
It was Tuesday, three days before the New Year, and our housewife calculated what she bought that day excluding groceries (oil, flour, sugar, coffee). She bought 450 grams of minced meat, a kilo of macaroni, one pack of Parmesan cheese, a kilogram of onions, a kilogram of potatoes, three pairs of sausages, milk, four eggs and a kilogram of apples.
On the menu was: local sweets with water in the morning, white coffee and soft boiled eggs for the children. For lunch they had Italian macaroni with sauce and minced meat), the salad made of pickled cabbage and fruits and for dinner sausage or fried eggs and donuts or apples!
Since the husband has lunch at the factory, and children at school, something from this was saved for the next day in addition to what will be cooked tomorrow.
By the way, this family of four has a monthly income of around 6,200 dinars, they live in a two bedroom comfortable and fully furnished apartment, children are going to school, dad goes with friends for drinks from time to time, they are driving an old “Prince NS 1000” from 1965 on Saturdays and Sundays, which they will soon replace with “Stojadin” because they ensured participation in loan.
Also, in this house is celebrated every Saturday and Sunday with richer lunch and dinner, there are feasts for two children’s birthday, the 1st of May, the 29th of November, and for the New Year’s Eve.
Also, you’ll be able to surprise them only sometimes, when meat products are missing in the fridge, but there will be eggs, milk, cheese, and chutney and at least five to six jars of pickles and tomato, and homemade sweets in the pantry.
“When we pay off the car, which we will buy this spring if they do not become more expensive, and then we will start thinking about some summer house or cottage,” says the host. “A friend of mine, also a locksmith tool maker, has a land about 15 kilometers from the city and I guess we will be able to put together some roof so that we can be able to spend at least every other weekend in nature in the summer and early fall and spring.”
Well, there you have a calculation of the average four-member Yugoslav family, which, like most of our families, welcomed the New Year’s Eve in their home, in front of the TV and rich table.
For that table, as our housewife told us in confidence before the New Year, was prepared four kilograms of roasted beef, cabbage rolls, meat snacks, cake, pie with meat and cheese, 10 bottles of beer, four liters of black and two of white wine, and there were brandy and scotch from before.
Their daughter received an embroidered blouse as a gift, and their son got a jacket.
Whether all of this was eaten and drunk or not, whether everything is in delight and joy or not I do not know, but when I left them I was convinced that family in this home lives and celebrates as the real family.
Written by: Slavko Stanic (Ven, 1977.)