Forget holidays and handbags, but you can splash out on soap
THE Insolvency Service of Ireland's guidelines on a reasonable standard of living and reasonable living expenses:
• €247.04 a month on food if you are a single working adult. The type of food is micro-managed. Guidelines specify a "balanced, nutritious diet", so ready meals and bottles of fizzy drinks are out.
• €35.73 a month on clothes and shoes – or €428.46 a year, so say goodbye to designer labels.
• A relatively generous €33.40 a month on shampoo, soap and hair and shower gels and whatever else is required to maintain one's personal hygiene. Blow dries and highlights become an unaffordable luxury.
• €31.09 a month, or €373 a year, on health, including over-the-counter medicines, plasters and antiseptics as well as dentist and optician bills and GPs.
• €31.47 for furniture, appliances and enough cleaning products for a single person living in a studio apartment in the city.
• €28.97 a week for "social participation" or going out with friends – roughly enough for five drinks in the local pub with change for a packet of crisps or a couple of trips to the cinema.
• €28.61 a month to cover household waste charges, an annual boiler service and having the chimney swept.
• If you live near a bus-stop or a train station, you'll have to ditch the car but will be allowed to spend up to €136.29 a month on public transport. Those who have to drive to work or to the shop can spend €240.13 a month on a car.
• €48.47 a month for electricity and €57.31 for heating. Private health insurance is gone, but you are allowed to pay up to €12.22 a month for home insurance.
• Holidays will be hard – a single person can save up to €5 a week for "emergencies" and "contingencies".