Irish households spend €845 per week on average

Dubliners spent the most on takeaways while mideast region had highest expenditure per week

Irish households spent an average of €845.12 per week between February 2015 and February 2016, an increase of 4.3 per cent on the same period five years earlier.

The household budget survey 2015-2016, conducted by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), showed that spending on alcoholic drink and tobacco witnessed the most significant percentage drop of 29.1 per cent as households spent an average of €28 per week. Despite the drop in spend, the proportion of alcohol consumed at home increased to just over 51 per cent. The CSO notes that people tend to under-report their expenditure on alcohol and tobacco.

Household expenditure on food also dropped in line with its steady decline over the past 35 years according to the CSO. Statistician Claire Burke said that this could be attributed in part to the increasing market share of the German discount retailers. Just 14.6 per cent of household spend went on food in the period with roughly €97 being spent on eating at home and €26 per week spent on dining out.

Since 2010, disposable income, which is gross income minus income tax and social insurance, increased by nearly 3 per cent to €909.25 per week.


Car purchases

Transport expenses also increased in the period by nearly 7 per cent. The CSO suggests that this is due to increased expenditure on car purchases. When those purchases are excluded, transport spend drops by 7.1 per cent.

Households rented from private owners spent an average of €208.56 per week on rent in the period whereas households owned with a mortgage spend €195.71 on mortgage payments per week. According to the survey, households rented from private owners spent the highest percentage of overall expenditure on housing at 28.1 per cent.

The survey also looked at the comparative spend between affluent and disadvantaged areas. Those households in affluent areas spent nearly twice as much as those in very disadvantaged areas with the former spending the most on transport. Food spend in disadvantaged areas was higher than the average with 17 per cent of expenditure going on food.

Rural households

Breaking the trend in previous surveys, rural households spent more than urban households in 2015-2016 at €855.20 per week, almost €15 more than urban households. However, urban households spend considerably more on rent than their rural counterparts. Households in the mideast region had the highest weekly expenditure, but they also had the largest households with an average of 3 people per household.

In Dublin, households spent the most on takeaways including takeaway coffee and tea while the West of Ireland spent the least in that category.

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business