After their May wedding, Ezgi and Cagri Bektas Dag intended to travel and indulge in a few indulgences.
Instead, the pair from Izmir in western Turkey is devoting an increasing lot of their money – and spare time – to stocking up on non-perishable food in order to stay ahead of the lira’s depreciation and persistently growing inflation.
They spend hours studying constantly changing prices and double-checking before each trip to the grocery, then share their findings with almost 1,000 subscribers on a YouTube channel they started a few months ago.
This includes a kitchen with enough cooking oil to last for a year and a half.
“Sometimes we don’t really need a thing,” says Cagri Bektas, who works at a metal components plant, “but we say let’s get it on sale because the price will rise anyhow.” “We keep stocking up even before we utilise what we have since prices rise every day.”
Turkish annual inflation, which is currently at 21% – and much higher for staple commodities – is expected to hit 30% next year, while the lira has lost well over half its value versus foreign currencies this year, reaching its lowest point on Monday.
The couple’s combined monthly income of 8,000 lira has been reduced to around $600, roughly half of which they claim they spend on groceries.
Sharp interest rate cuts implemented by President Tayyip Erdogan, despite significant condemnation from businesses and economists, prompted the lira depreciation.
Erdogan announced a plan on Monday to protect local currency savings from market swings, causing the lira to recover as Turks sold dollars. Analysts, however, remain sceptical that the strategy would provide long-term stability.
“I feel really, really sorry because I think to myself that instead of paying so much money for this (things), we could have travelled and experienced other places,” said Ezgi, a 25-year-old teacher.
They were anxious when they began tracking their shopping trips.
“We were afraid that people would judge us. However, we recognised that they shouldn’t criticise us; rather, they should judge those who put us in this situation in the first place “Cagri Bektas said herself.
“Right now, our only concern is that if we ever have a child, we will be unable to provide a better future for them.”