'Zero money equals zero safety'

A Ukrainian couple juggles rising costs, war and fears about their country's financial future.

An illustration of a table with two people on either end with a laptop in front of them and the person on the left is looking at the curtains that are made from one long receipt.
[Jawahir Al-Naimi and Muaz Kory/Al Jazeera]
[Jawahir Al-Naimi and Muaz Kory/Al Jazeera]

What's your money worth? A series from the front line of the cost of living crisis, where people who have been hit hard share their monthly expenses.

Names: Oleksandr Popovych (26) and Iryna Dankiv (25)

Occupations: Oleksandr is a quality assurance engineer for a Kyiv-based software company while his wife Iryna is an English tutor.

Live in: Lviv, Ukraine’s sixth-largest city, which is located in the west of the country near the Polish border.

The couple lives in a one-bedroom apartment on the seventh floor of a nondescript grey building constructed in 2013.

Monthly household income: 74,825 Ukrainian hryvnia ($2,036). Last year, Iryna grew her client base of online students. She held four to five one-on-one classes each day and worked many more hours compared to 2021. She only took one weekday off in 2022. Oleksandr left his previous role as an English tutor to join a software company. The couple has made a concerted effort to increase their household income to offset rising living costs including rent, which has doubled in the past 10 months.

Total expenses for the month: 47,131 Ukrainian hryvnia ($1,283). Their total expenses for November 2022 were about 14,000 Ukrainian hryvnia ($381) more than in the same month in 2021. If they had not managed to increase their wages last year, they would not have been able to cover their current expenses.

Source: Al Jazeera