MORE than a million households have cut back on their spending in reaction to the downturn.
Shocking new figures reveal that incomes have been hit so hard that half of consumers now skimp on the weekly shopping.
And around 700,000 households are having difficulties keeping up with their bills and debts, a major new survey from the Central Statistics Office shows.
It reveals how 82pc of households have cut spending as a result of the economic crash. This works out at 1.4 million of the 1.68 million households in the State.
A quarter have been forced to cut back on at least five categories of expenditure such as clothes, holidays, car usage, health insurance and pension contributions.
The Quarterly National Household Survey carried out between July and September 2012 measured the effects on households of the economic downturn.
Four out of 10 households said they are having difficulty paying bills and servicing debts.
While 14pc of households with a mortgage were unable to meet their home repayments on time at least one in the previous 12 months.
Sinn Fein said the startling results of the survey showed people had no more money to give in taxes and levies.
Mary Lou McDonald said: "Government spokespeople can talk all they like about 'green shoots' and 'meeting targets' but ordinary working people know that they are at breaking point. There is nothing positive about that."