Case study - Sheena Hopper
Sheena and Brian Hopper could do with taking out a loan for a new car.
They have an 03 Ford Focus, which has seen better days.
The cost of a property-boom mortgage and two children mean that more lending is not a option just now.
The couple has two children, twins Lily and Ben, both three.
The family lives in Meath, close to the Kildare border.
Ms Hopper is a self-employed marketing consultant, operating as Fruitful Marketing.
Her husband, Englishman Brian, is a process engineer in a technology company.
Back in 2007/2008, the Hoppers built their own home. But because that was at the height of the property craziness, they are now saddled with a big mortgage.
"I would love to be a homemaker, but we could not afford it with such a big mortgage," says Ms Hopper.
"We have mortgage payments of €2,000 every month. So it needs two incomes to service that. There is no way we could afford a childminder or a creche."
Making life easier in the home is an au pair. "I am around to give her guidance and I insist she only does her allotted hours."
The couple has just paid off a credit union loan.
"We need a better car, but we can't afford it at the moment. It would be brilliant to have a second car," she says.
The child benefit payment is being used to put together a college fund for the children.
"We are one of the families that got stung in the boom. We will be paying our mortgage until well into our retirement," says Ms Hopper.