The majority of Irish consumers are forced to borrow money to pay their household bills, according to research by Switcher.ie. Three in five households (59%) surveyed said had to borrow money, while one-third (35%) said they used their credit card to meet their obligations. Other methods used included overdrafts (17%), bank loans (12%) and borrowing money from family and friends (20%).
The results are perhaps not too surprising. According to Switcher.ie, the price of electricity in Ireland is the sixth highest in the EU, while the average Irish household’s energy bill is €2,060 per annumn. Steep motor and health insurance premiums are among the other factors contributed to financial pressure for Irish households.
“Many of us are facing into the new year with debt – be it from credit cards, overdrafts, or even loans from family and friends. And for lots of consumers, this debt is stacking up because the cost of running a home – and paying for essentials like gas, electricity, broadband and phone – is simply too high,” said Eoin Clarke, Managing Director of Switcher.ie. “If you’re starting off January in debt and you’re worried about it – like one in five of the people surveyed – there are some simple steps you can take to ease the pressure. The first thing to do is to draw up a realistic budget – including all your income and outgoings, as well as a buffer for unexpected expenses – and stick to it. In addition to having a good budget, making savings on household essentials will really help on a day-to-day basis, and is a lot simpler than many people may think.”
Eight simple rules for insuring your teenage daughter
Meanwhile, in this week’s Irish Independent, Louise McBride offers some advice on how to switch your health insurance without potentially affecting your healthcare. McBride warns people that choosing the right plan is key, and as is understanding the benefits of your new plan.
“Switching health insurance can be a costly mistake if you choose the wrong plan. You could lose cover for medical treatment which you need. Should this happen, any savings made by your move could easily be wiped out by the cost of paying for care which your previous insurer or plan had foot the bill for,” she writes.
Milking your millions
Finally, if the lucky winner(s) of the recent €88m EuroMillions jackpot is reading this, you should be very cautious when it comes to investing your winnings. That’s according to The Irish Times‘ Mark Hilliard, who seeks out the advice of financial advisors as to what the winner should do next. Hilliard notes that statistics from the US show that lottery winners generally spend their winnings within five years, so you’ll have to be a little cautious to ensure your windfall lasts for longer than that.