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Families save €7,568 each despite drop in incomes

HOUSEHOLDS in Ireland have a combined gross savings level of €12.87bn -- which equates to €7,568 per home.

It will come as a surprise to most but credit unions and banks are gaining more savings even as households are under enormous financial pressure.

Saving levels are on the up, despite individual incomes going down.

Over the course of last year, an additional €637m was put aside by individuals for a rainy day.

Average income was listed at €52,250 -- a €208 drop on the 2010 figure of €52,458.

And the average household is spending around €46,086 a year on groceries, heating, mortgages and rent and other bills.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) revealed figures which show that the savings ratio -- which is savings as a percentage of disposable income -- jumped to 14.1pc from 13.4pc the previous year.

This ratio is made up of savings, but also takes account of money paid off on debts.

And families and single people are cutting down on their spending and are more aware of every cent that they have to pay out.

Consumption expenditure fell by close to €1bn down to €78.35bn during the last year, the CSO said.

A recent study by the Irish League of Credit Unions found that over one million adults in Ireland have less than €50 left over after paying essential bills each month.

Disposable income is under pressure for the majority of consumers, with 63pc saying the amount of money left after paying essential bills has fallen in the past 12 months.


Compared with six months ago, 51pc have experienced an actual fall in their disposable income, the survey found.

The nationwide survey of 1,000 people revealed that costs associated with family cars are an area of serious concern.

A total of 64pc admit that they have postponed servicing their car as they cannot afford it. And a further 7pc say they would consider giving up their car due to recent rises in car tax and fuel prices.

The ILCU found that 46pc of individuals say they are unable to save money.

Approximately half of those surveyed admitted to not paying their utility bills on time, with bin charges, TV licences and phone bills the most likely to be put off.

Half the country feel they are just "living to work" and, tragically, 41pc believing there is no longer a future for them or their family in Ireland.

The CSO figures revealed that there was some improvement in the Government's savings deficit -- with the annual figure going from a deficit of €13.02bn in 2010, to a deficit of €10.63bn by the end of last December.