FOR families, the Budget was good in parts and bad in others. There was no change in child benefit, for once. And those with young children will gain when free GP care is introduced for the under-fives.
There is no rise in income tax or the universal social charge. But that does not mean that families will not be paying over more money to Revenue this year.
A full year's property tax is due from January for those who pay by cash, cheque, credit card or debit card. This will mean that the average family will be faced with shelling out around €300 from the very start of the new year.
Child benefit is hugely important for families. Already there have been significant cuts in this benefit since 2008. The rate was €166 for the first two children before the bust, but the rate is now down to €130.
That means that a family with two children is down €864 a year. This has blown a massive hole in the budgets of the average family.
But few will have noticed that a change in child benefit has already been signalled for next year.
The rate for the fourth and subsequent child falls from €140 to €130. This change will impact disproportionately on larger families.
Also losing out also from the Budget will be new mothers.
Maternity benefit payments are being cut for those who qualify from next January, in a move that is set to hit thousands of working mums.
The top rate is coming down, which will see some mothers losing €832 in payments.
The higher rate is being reduced from €262 to €230 a week in a move to "standardise" it.
Most women on maternity leave get the top amount. But some people on a lower rate will benefit as every working mother will now be paid €230 a week.
The change will impact around 8,000 women and comes a year after the Government started to tax maternity payments for the first time.
Around 240,000 families are expected to benefit from the introduction of free GP care for children aged five years and under. This new service is expected to come on stream next year.
But granny has not been so lucky.
"Don't save, get sick, have babies, grow old or die," was the way one wit put it.
Granddad and granny are losing the bereavement grant and will pay more savings tax. The grandparents are also going to lose their medical cards if they are over 70 and on middle to high-level pensions.
They will also face higher prescription charges of €2.50 per item if they have a medical card.
Some 1.89 million people have a medical card, or 40pc of the population. This huge number of medical cards is costing €2bn a year, but measures were announced yesterday to cull the number of cards.
This is likely to mean that there will continue to be a clampdown on what are discretionary medical cards – these are cards for those with high medical costs because of a severe illness.
Those who do not have medical cards and pay for health insurance, could also face higher health costs.
This is because health insurance costs are likely to rise after the move to reduce the tax relief on policies and charge insurers more for using public hospitals.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan said his move to cap the tax relief for health-insurance policies would only impact on "gold-plated" plans.
But this was disputed by insurance experts.
Health insurance expert Dermot Goode said the measures would impact on those even if they have plans that are reasonably priced.
He said the net result was that a single adult will pay an additional €50, or 5pc more, due to the change in the Budget.
So a family could be facing a rise of €150 in annual premiums.
And there is an additional cost of €30m being imposed on health insurers for using private beds in public hospitals, which is expected to have a knock-on impact on the cost of premiums.
If anyone in the family drinks or smokes, they will have to pay more.
Cigarettes were hit with a 10c rise, as was the price of a pint. And the bottle of wine has been hit again this year, with a 50c rise in excise duty. This is on top of a €1 rise last year.
At least there will be no change to the cost of running a car. Petrol and diesel were spared an excise duty hike. And there were no changes to motor tax.
BUT homeowners who are struggling to pay their mortgages will no longer have the option of getting mortgage interest supplement from social welfare officers. Around 13,000 people got this. It effectively works out at around €300 as it covers the interest payments only on a mortgage when a homeowner is in arrears.
The mortgage interest supplement scheme will be closed to new entrants and will be wound down for existing recipients over a four-year period from January 2014.
And if the family is sensible enough to save – whether into a deposit account or a pension – then this Budget has clobbered it.
Savings tax has doubled during this boom-bust cycle. The rate is going to 41pc from January.
There was shock that Mr Noonan broke his promise not to finish off the levy on private pensions at the end of this year.
The levy will rise next year, and then operate at a lower level up to 2015.