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Spanish families prioritizing education and health over entertainment

Household spending survey shows people are also buying fewer clothes than before the crisis

Spanish families have been spending less on dining out.
Spanish families have been spending less on dining out.

If there is any reliable indicator that the budding economic recovery has yet to be felt by Spanish households, it would probably be the amount parents allocate for their children’s allowances.

A survey of 2013 family budgets released on Tuesday by the National Statistics Institute shows that weekly allowances fell an average 21 percent last year, for an accumulated drop of over 50 percent since 2006.

While seemingly anecdotal, the number reflects the fact that many Spanish households have been tightening their belts since the beginning of the crisis, cutting back on things like going to the movies, dining out and buying clothes.

Average household expenditures shrank 3.7% last year, mostly due to cutbacks in travel and entertainment

Average household expenditure shrank 3.7% last year, mostly as a result of cutbacks in travel and entertainment. Meanwhile, Spanish families spent more on utilities, education and medicine.

Between 2008 and 2013, average household spending fell 14.5%, reflecting lower incomes. Families reduced their outlays on clothing and footwear by 30 percent over the same five-year period, and by 29% on culture and entertainment.

Meanwhile, electricity, gas and water expenses grew 3.7% while spending on education rose 22%. This has a lot to do with higher university tuition fees and cuts to schoolbook subsidies. Pharmaceutical co-payments are also responsible for greater outlays on prescription drugs.

Statistics show that the hotel and restaurant industries are continuing to do well despite the domestic drop in spending, thanks to foreign receipts. According to Industry Ministry figures, foreign tourists spent a record €14.9 billion between January and April of this year, a 11.2% rise from the same period in 2013.