One in five households overspends
Finances are so tight for households in this country that they are more likely than people in other eurozone countries to leave bills unpaid.
The new study also found one in five households is spending more than it earns.
And four out of 10 households are not able to save at all, the new research from the Central Bank has found.
Many of these are hit by the fact that their income is less than their expenses.
Fewer than a third of households say they can always manage to save something. Nearly one-third of households left some bills unpaid in 2013, compared with a eurozone average of 13pc.
The paper, by economist Julia Le Blanc, found poor households use what spare money they have to pay down debts.
Money is so limited and debts are so high that these people are likely to have huge difficulties coping if their income drops in the future.
"Households with low-net wealth and credit-constrained households also save to pay down debts and to repair their balance sheets. However, there is also evidence that some households might have difficulty coping with future volatility in income or wealth," Ms Le Blanc said.
This meant that in 2013, the year for which the data was examined, households were more likely to be unable to save and to leave bills unpaid compared with those in other eurozone countries.
Almost half of households are balancing their books, with one-third spending less than they earn.
Precautionary saving was the main reason for putting money aside.