Bills notepad and calculator on a table

Irish households struggling to cover essentials bills resort to using their savings

People also turned to using credit and borrowing money to make ends meet.

New research published today by Switcher.ie has revealed the extent to which the country relies on credit and borrowing to cover the costs of their household bills. It found that over six in ten (65%) consumers cannot afford to cover essential household bills with their regular income.

How are people paying for these bills?

When asked how they covered these costs four in ten (38%) said they had dipped into their savings, a quarter (26%) used their credit cards, and 20% borrowed money from family/friends or the bank.

Everyday utilities putting households under financial pressure

Of the household utilities that cause the most financial strain motor insurance came out on top (44%) followed closely by rent and mortgage repayments (43%). The cost of property tax (33%), electricity (29%), broadband/internet (26%) and paid TV services (26%) were also highlighted as being difficult to cover.

Cost of living and maintaining a household going up

A recent analysis by the AA which looks at the cost of running a home showed a year-on-year increase in the costs of upkeeping a household in Ireland. When the report compared last year (2018) to the previous year (2017) it found that the cost of running and maintaining a home had jumped by €350 - taking up 42% of the Irish national wage.

What can I do to better manage and cover my bills?

Eoin Clarke, Managing Director of Switcher.ie explained that if you’re wanting to get on top of your spending and try to save more without relying on credit there are a few easy things you can do to help ease the strain.

“Setting a weekly or monthly budget is a good place to start so that you can track your incomings and outgoings. This will help you work out how much you need to cover essentials each month and how much you’ll have left over after paying off these bills”, he said.

Next, why not do a ‘stock take’ of your paid subscriptions every few months to make sure you’re not spending money on services you don’t use. For example, if you don’t watch traditional TV, and you use streaming services like Netflix most of the time, then there’s no need to be paying for a TV service you don’t use.

Making sure your house is running as energy efficiently as possible is another great way to save some money. There are some easy things you can implement around to house to do this - such as installing LED lights. This will help reduce your energy usage and in turn, bring down the cost of your energy bills.

Finally, switching supplier every 12 months to make sure you’re always on the cheapest rate will help bring down the cost of heating your home. Right now you can save up to €396 just by switching supplier and it only takes a few minutes to do so.

Switch and save up to €359 on your energy bills

It only takes a few minutes to find a cheaper deal and start saving