Help me understand. Wages in Poland are 700 to 900 US dollars a month. Hotels in the
moderate range are 90-150 US dollars a month. Gas is $7 USD gallon. Restaurants are
10-20 USD a month. What am I missing here. How can the Polish people afford to go out.
This has nothing to do us exchange rate because if you translated to PLN then the problem would be the same. Please help me understand.
Your wages are a bit off, but someone else has already corrected you.
Also you have to learn one Polish word to help you understand how poles can live off low wages. The word is: "Kombinowac", in english it is something like "to scheme."
Wages in Poland are lower but people want to live like people do in the west, so Poles think of ways to make more money. One of my uncles for example, has some advertisements on the wall surrounding his house. He also managed to get money from the city for some underground pipes/cables that were installed without his permission before communism fell.
Sometimes people collect one of their parents' (if both are still alive) pension and use the money for themselves/their kids/rent. Or they have the retired parent(s) move it with them AND collect/use their pension money.
Futhermore, apartment rents are cheaper for poles. I could find a place to rent for no more than 600zl in wroclaw (a nice place too), but a foreigner will probably end up paying up to 1000zl. Prices always go up for foreigners.
Eating out is not a very popular past time in poland. Have you noticed the scarcity of restaurants, especially in the 90's? And when they do go out, they eat at "off the beaten path" restaurants. When i went to prague, everyone complained about the expensive restaurants. Their mistake was to eat at restaurants in the tourist areas. I paid no more than $8-10 for dinner each day, instead of the $30-40 they were paying. And i bet my meals tasted better.
Credit card debt, like in the USA, is also on the rise. I read an article on this on gazeta.pl a little while back, if i find it i'll post it.
Finally you have to understand that wages in poland are going up and many people earn fairly decent salaries.
I can't think of any more examples, so i encourage other poles to post their ideas/experiences in "kombinowanie." :)