Inflation is shooting through the roof and many are starting to wonder whether there is an end in sight. 

Shoppers approached on the street do not seem to be changing their spending habits when it comes to everyday necessities, but in the face of raging inflation, some are having to work extra hours to make ends meet.  

Times of Malta spoke to people in Santa Venera, Ħamrun and Mrieħel about the impact of the rising cost of living. Most said they were feeling the pinch of inflation, especially when buying groceries. 

Some admitted to taking on extra work to cope with the rising prices.  

Daniel Ellul speaks to shoppers. Video: Karl Andrew Micallef

“We used to get by with €50 or €60 per week but now I need €90 to buy the same items,” Vanessa Gauci said as she walked into a Santa Venera supermarket with her two children.

She said the situation was not so “drastic” for the family as to make them hold back from some purchases but said she now needs to work more to earn extra income.

Doreen Bezzina from Qormi said she has noticed a significant increase in the price of eggs and milk. 

“A carton of eggs is costing €7,” she said. 

But whatever the price, she will keep buying them. 

“Some foodstuffs you just have to buy,” Bezzina said. 

Cutting back on non-essentials

An analysis by consulting firm KPMG published earlier this month suggested that people in Malta are handling the rising cost of living by cutting back on non-essential spending, such as eating in restaurants and staying in hotels.

The study found that people are spending five per cent more on essential items when compared to the last pre-pandemic year, 2019.

A Times of Malta survey found the rising cost of living is the biggest concern for the Maltese. One in five see it as Malta’s biggest national problem and almost a third list it as the issue that troubles them most on an individual level.

Daniel Okoeguale is earning extra income by selling works of art. Photos: Karl Andrew MicallefDaniel Okoeguale is earning extra income by selling works of art. Photos: Karl Andrew Micallef

Daniel Okoeguale is among those with such concerns. He finds the price of most items increases by around 10 cents every time he visits a grocery shop.

“I have to beat my budget down because my salary is almost the same,” said Okoeguale, who works as a storekeeper. 

He said he was earning some extra income by selling works of art he is commissioned to do.  

Anna Pace, a grandmother, said she is holding back from unnecessary spending such as travelling abroad to be able to continue to buy gifts for her grandchildren. 

“I have three grandchildren and I treat them equally. If I spend €50 on each that becomes €150.”

Pace, a pensioner and vegetarian, has noticed a steep rise in the price of vegetables. 

“I always spend between €25 and €30 to buy vegetables whereas a couple of years ago even with €15 I would have bought the same things,” the 64-year-old said.

Leaving the supermarket with her grandchild, Lucy Borg said she has noticed a significant rise in costs. 

“I buy the same things but everything has gone up,” she said. “Prices haven’t just increased by €1 or €2,” she added, pointing to a doubling in the cost of three frozen pizzas from €3 to €6 by way of example. 

Abdul Ali feels that prices have risen across the board.

“It (life) is becoming too expensive,” he said. 

“(The price of) food is going up, clothes are going up and rent is going up,” said Ali, who has lived in Ħamrun for the last seven years. 

Anna Pace says she is foregoing travel abroad to continue to treat her grandchildren. Photo: Karl Andrew MicallefAnna Pace says she is foregoing travel abroad to continue to treat her grandchildren. Photo: Karl Andrew Micallef

Etienne Cachia and Kai Hayman, two young students, do not usually buy groceries but as avid gym goers, they have seen the price of protein powder go up drastically.

“(A tub of) whey protein from the supermarket was €16 but now it’s gone up to €20 and even €25,” Cachia said.

“Some supplements have increased by €10,” he added. 

'Meat has doubled in price'

Sitting at St Paul’s Square in Ħamrun, Freddie Farrugia complained that the price of meat has doubled. 

“If before I used to buy two kilos of meat, now I only buy one, he said, bucking the trend seen among the other shoppers of still sticking to their spending habits. 

Farrugia used to stock up on groceries before but is now buying day-to-day. 

The Ħamrun native said his welfare cheques are just not enough to get by, meaning he is mostly refraining from simple pleasures.

“I would love to have a few beers but I’m sitting here instead,” he said. 

His only “splurges” are to feed his bird.

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