MORE THAN 1.3 MILLION adults in Ireland have less than €50 left over after paying essential bills each month.
According to the latest Irish League of Credit Union’s What’s Left? income tracker, disposable incomes have continued to fall in the past six months.
There has also been an increase of 18,000 in the number of working adults with nothing left at the end of the month after bills are paid. Those living on €100 or less has risen to 1.9 million.
And looking ahead to winter, households are worried about heating costs and Christmas expenses.
About 70 per cent of respondents said they are unable to save money, the highest level recorded since the research began last year, and more than half of adults are now struggling to pay their bills on time.
Altogether, 42 per cent of consumers have had to borrow money to pay bills over the past year. This figure has also risen since the June data was released. Of those who reached out for loans, 58 per cent turned to family and friends for help, while 24 per cent used credit union services.
The TV licence, bin charges and television and telephone bills are the most likely to be put off.
During each month, utility bills are now the second most expensive essential bill (behind mortgages/rent) and eight in ten people are worried that they will not be able to cope with increasing energy costs this winter.
The measures to be announced in the upcoming Budget 2013 are also playing on people’s minds with an overwhelming majority of 96 per cent admitting to worrying about the impact it will have on their incomes.
Looking beyond the 5 December budget, about one fifth of households say they will be “seriously cutting back” on expenditure at Christmas.
Consumer sentiment remains weak among those with little or no income with about 60 per cent believing they are living to work as opposed to working to live.