42 per cent of consumers borrow to meet household bills

1997

AT the end of 2012, the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) published the third round of its revealing ‘What’s Left’ tracker series. First launched in 2011, the trackers have been recording the challenges facing households in terms of expenditure. They look at and record how much disposable income Irish people have (those who participated in the surveys), where they are spending their money and the financial hardships they are facing.

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The 12 months of November 2011-2012 say disposable income continue to decrease with the numbers of those  with just €100 or less left at the month end rising. Half of the consumers surveyed said there were living month to month with only 3 in 10 able to save anything – fewer than in 2011.

Prior to our mild winter, 85 per cent of adults were concerned with the up in energy costs.

Almost four in 10 were struggling to manage and half felt that their budget would not stretch to come. 42 per cent of consumer had to borrow to pay household bills – that’s up from 40 per cent in June. 58 per cent turned to family and friends and 24 per cent went to the credit union and shockingly 10 per cent were recorded as going to moneylenders for cash in the October 2011 tracker by the ICLU.

“Certainly 2012 has shown us that for many, the challenge to simply survive continues and many of us are struggling to manage our household budgets as another year of austerity bits,” observes Mandy Johnston, head of communications for the credit union league. ” Look for interest-free deals when buying furniture or electrical goods – but make sure to compare prices. Above all avoid moneylenders and consider that if you cannot afford to pay for something without a loan, you simply cannot afford it.

“The rates of interest charged by the companies and individuals who engage in this type of business are huge and inevitably mean that many vulnerable people are stuck in a vicious cycle of debt.

“If you are suffering from debt stress or already owe money to moneylenders, call into your local credit union to discuss your options”.