Case study: 'After shopping for food, I've €25 left to do me for the week' - Maura Hawkins
MAURA Hawkins (24) is a single mother living in a social housing scheme in Dublin 8 with her four-year-old daughter.
She is studying for her Level Four Fetac exams in computers and hopes one day to be a receptionist, although she believes it will take her a little time to get her qualifications.
In the meantime, she finds living on the meagre social welfare allowance to be very difficult.
She gets an allowance of €188 a week but has €50 taken for bills from the scheme where she lives.
She also gets €130 a month on children's allowance.
These allowances remain untouched under the Budget 2014, which comes as a relief to Maura – but she will continue to struggle.
The weekly food shop is her biggest expense and she finds she is left with little change out of €80.
"Usually I find that I have €25 left in my pocket to do me for the rest of the week and I find that very worrying," she said.
Maura confesses that she hates having to claim social welfare because she used to have a job, working in fast food restaurants, and liked having her own money.
"I hate not being able to buy nice things and, with the dearness of things in the shops, money just goes like that. Christmas is coming and I'm worried about not having enough to get my daughter the things she wants," she said.