Thursday 22 February 2018

Booze and cigarettes spending outstrips food

Aideen Sheehan

Aideen Sheehan

THERE may be cutbacks all round, but we're still spending more on booze and cigarettes than we do on food.

New figures reveal Irish people spent €84bn on goods and services last year -- totting up to personal spending of over €19,000 each.

That was a massive €10.5bn or 11pc less than our outgoings in 2008, and lower than at any time since 2006.

But despite all the belt-tightening, there were some areas which didn't suffer -- spending on tobacco actually rose by over 3pc last year to €2.3bn, practically the only growth sector in the economy. Adding that to the €6.5bn we splashed out on alcohol, national spending on our state-sanctioned drugs of choice cost us €8.6bn.

That's considerably more than the €7.5bn we spent on food in 2009, which was down by 5pc as shoppers cut back.

However, that grocery bill doesn't include the cost of eating out, which is lumped in with other miscellaneous expenses and is roughly estimated to have cost us another €2.2bn last year.

Spending on cars collapsed to under €2bn last year from more than €4bn a year at the height of the Celtic Tiger, the Central Statistics Office figures show.

Running our cars also cost us less, which was a combination of fewer people driving and lower petrol costs, while with fewer people at work public transport took a €100m hit.

There was some good news for consumers, however, as we handed over only a quarter as much on bank interest rates as we did in 2008. Spending on indirect financial services -- which effectively means the banks' profit margins on interest -- collapsed from €2.5bn in 2008 to €642m last year, which is why they've been hiking rates wherever possible this year.

Our spending on housing, which also includes rent, repairs, decoration and local government charges, fell by more than 15pc to €13.9bn.

People's spending on clothes and shoes fell by 4.8pc last year to €3.67bn on top of a 3.6pc fall in 2007 and is now just below 2006 levels.

But although our personal spending took a €10bn hit last year, there wasn't much relief in the amount we forked out to the taxman. Irish people spent €23.047bn on taxes on personal income and wealth last year, even though there were far fewer of us working.

Irish Independent

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