Almost one in seven adults have no disposable income left at the end of the month according to the latest What’s Left? survey from the Irish League of Credit Unions.
Nonetheless at 483,000 adults, there are 35,000 fewer people than last year claiming they have no money left once their household bills have been paid.
However, the November tracker — the first since the latest budget — does show that the amount of disposable income has fallen since the last survey in August, down by €12 to €171.
The number of people who said they had €100 or less left at the end of the month rose between August and November by 137,000 to 1.76m. One in eight adults — 414,000 — said they had €500 or more left once all the bills were paid.
ILCU found there has been an increase in monthly household utilities, transport costs, groceries, gas, mobile phone, and internet bills since the August tracker. For example, household and utility bills rose from an average of €755 to €766 over the intervening period. Groceries costs for families increased by €16 per month to €360 in November, while transport costs rose by €15 per month to €217.
ILCU said these increases had resulted in a rise in the number of people saying they “cannot afford to pay their bills” on time each month. In November, 37% reported being in that position, compared to 31% in August.
As part of the tracker, ILCU asked participants how the budget had affected them. It said 36% of those surveyed felt they would benefit, compared to 20% who believed they would be worse off. Almost half reckoned they would see no impact at all on their family finances.
Ed Farrell, acting ILCU chief executive, said: “We are coming to the end of our four-year tracker series and while, over the past 12 months, we have seen the first signs of positivity in terms of the stabilisation of family finances, we can still see that many families have seriously impacted by continued austerity and day-to-day living expenses. However, the number of people who say their disposable income is decreasing is now at a record low since the tracker began.”
He said the amount of money that people are saving is at its highest point since 2011 at €232.
“However, we see in this round that the number of people in a position to save has actually decreased from August 2014,” said Mr Farrell. “In addition to this, the number of people saying that they are struggling to pay their essential bills every month has increased from our last round. 34% felt that the 2015 budget was more positive the previous ones, with the change in USC, the widening of income tax bands and the increase in child benefit the most welcomed positive measures. 31% stated that they would have serious difficulties paying the water charges.”
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