SEOUL, July 1 (Korea Bizwire) — Amid soaring prices, Koreans are buying lunchboxes at convenience stores or making their own lunches to save money as a so-called ‘lunchflation’ phenomenon takes hold.
“I can save 3,000 to 5,000 won (US$2.31-3.85) each time I make a lunchbox,” said a 28-year-old office worker surnamed Shin.
“I’m worried that depending too much on lunchboxes may lead to an unbalanced diet,” said Song, a 28-year-old office worker frequenting convenience stores for lunchboxes. “Once the price goes down, I will never be buying lunchboxes again.”
Workers are cutting back on meetings or other sources of consumption to limit how much they spend on food.
“When I have to eat out, I make sure it fits within my food budget. In other cases, I try not to make any appointments with friends or colleagues,” said a 26-year-old teacher surnamed Park.
The Bank of Korea (BOK) expected consumer prices to spike 4.5 percent this year.
“There is a possibility that this year’s price growth exceeds the level (of 4.7 percent) in 2008.” the BOK said in a biannual report on inflation.
People are also worried that the recent decision to raise the minimum wage for next year would exacerbate the issue.
“I was hoping to get more holiday pay or night-time bonuses rather than just seeing the minimum wage increase,” said Song, a 22-year-old part-time worker at a coffee shop. “I’m afraid that an increase to the minimum wage will push prices up further.”
“I don’t know how long I’ll be able to pull through this,” said Baek, a 30-year-old office worker. “It’s not like I have a choice. I have to work on spending less.”
H. M. Kang (email@example.com)