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Advice from Greek People on How to Have Cheap Fun Now that You're Also Poor

British wages have dropped second only to Greece. The first thing you'll need to cut back on: fun.

People withdrawing money in the centre of Athens, while a homeless man is sleeping right next to them – the photo was taken in the early hours of the 27th of June, 2015, just after Alexis Tsipras announced a referendum on new bailout conditions. Photo by Panagiotis Maidis.

This article originally appeared on VICE Greece

Last week a report was published showing that thanks to the economic crisis, British wages have plummeted harder than in any other developed country. Apart from Greece, of course – when it comes to bad financial news, the Southern European country is usually first in line. According to the new report, salaries of British people have dropped more than 10 percent, since 2007.

Annons

In Greece, which is located at the bottom of that wage list, things are a bit more grim in terms of our standard of living: 65 percent of Greek citizens have made cuts in their basic food needs, 74 percent are late in paying basic bills, 27 percent have had to abandon the home they lived in, two-thirds can't buy the medication they need and 40 percent of the population doesn't have direct access to telephone and internet lines. In a country facing such problems, thinking about what to do for fun is not a priority – which is why 90 percent of Greeks cut recreational activities.

But whatever the financial troubles you're in, the world will keep turning. People will always want to see their friends, fall in love and go on dates – no matter how bleak the measures politicians keep taking are. I went to Syntagma Square in the centre of Athens to ask a few locals for tips on what to do for fun on a shoestring budget. As it turns out a lot of it involves being outside, so you'd better invest in a decent raincoat, Britain.

Μaria, 20, architecture student

"I have no money to go out, so what I like to do when it starts to get dark is take walks through the streets of Athens. I look at the architecture and I pay attention to the people strolling around. Before, no one went for walks in Athens. People only went to bars.

When I go out with friends we go to a bar for a beer. It's the cheapest option, but I won't spend very much. When we get together at a friend's house, we watch movies, play a game or buy alcohol to drink in our balcony.

Annons

We used to go on dates to bars or cafes. When you have no money for that, you can still meet someone at home and walk to a nice place. When I go to a bar or restaurant on a date, I don't expect my date to pay for it. The point is to get out of the house – not having any money is no excuse for not going out. You can try to find free concerts, for example. There's always something going out in the city. And there must be more to do in London than in Athens."

Lefteris with his girlfriend. We spotted them in the city centre playing Pokemon Go.

Lefteris, 26, owns an online business

"Like everyone, I've made a lot less money in recent years. Before, we would go out three times a week but now it's just once. Usually, we look for the cheapest way to have fun – we wander around in the city centre, for example. We've found all these beautiful places where we like to sit when we don't want to stay inside. A lot of online games don't cost any money either, and they're a lot of fun."

Iris, 24, fitness instructor

"With a crisis like this, it's not just your own income that drops but the same goes for all of your friends. Still, there are many ways to have fun if you have no money – as long as you have the right company, you can find cheap solutions. You can look for online offers for things you want to buy or do, and always use your student pass if you're a student. That can get you into the cinema for free here, for example.

Often, my friends and I meet at someone's place – one friend cooks, the others bring the booze. We do the same with summer holidays. A friend of mine has a house on an island so we'll go there for the summer to save money. We lend each other money, too. If one of my friends has five euros left, we'll chip in so we can all go out together. In a week we might go out one or two times and spend 20 euros as a group.

Annons

If you are looking to go on a cheap date you could take some beers to the beach, or somewhere else with a nice view. You don't need to spend a lot of money to have a good time with a person you like."

Gregory, 21, painter and 3D Animator

"If I had more money, of course I'd like to go out more. These days, I might spend 20 euros on going out the entire month, and go for coffee three or four times. You just have to cut back on doing fun things that cost money. Before the crisis I might have taken a girl bowling but I can't do that anymore. You just have to be creative, imaginative and spontaneous – and keep an eye out for free parties.

There are a lot of places in Greece that are great to hang out on a budget. Like the Acropolis – you just take your drinks, take your girl and go. I bet there are cultural places you can get in for free in the UK. Or you can hang out at home. There might be some girls who think that's not good enough for them, but it's better not to get involved with those types anyway."

Petros, 22, engineering Student

"You can get together to play board games at a friend's place and hardly spend any money at all. You can really start exploring the city – since the crisis, we've found all these shops that are much cheaper, and bars where a cocktail doesn't cost 10 euros, but much less. My friends and I love hanging out in the parks, too.

That's really the only way we can go out – we wouldn't have the option otherwise. I think the girls I date have stopped expecting me to pay. The most I'll spend on personal expenses is 150 euros a month. Really, the only thing that can save you in a financial and political crisis like this are friends. If you're penniless and don't have good company, you're screwed."

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