Live on low income - A skill?

Discussion in 'Letting Off Steam' started by DerKaiser, Nov 22, 2011.

  1. DerKaiser

    DerKaiser Frequent Poster

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    There's a lot of tales of woe out there at the moment - I've extracted the following examples from comments on Independent.ie

    http://www.independent.ie/national-...in-child-benefit-revealed-online-2941229.html

    Medical card for dentists reduced to covering just 2 fillings and extractions only. It costs €120 for a filling at my dentist. That's two thirds the weekly rate of someone receiving €188 a week.”

    Try to pay for food, ESB, phone, tax and insurance, maintenance and NCT, petrol, clothes, heating. Now to top it all off I have to pay a tax for owning my home, a charge for having a septic tank and also water charges. How far would you get on €188 per week?

    “Myself and my fiance have two kids together. We've had our heating turned off because of inflation. I paid over €1,200 January last, didn’t use it all summer and they sent us a bill of €1,400. We’re were on social welfare at the moment.

    “I didn’t have dinner with my child today, I had a few plain crackers. There wasn’t enough for both of us to eat. Didn’t put cheese on them as I had to make sure there would be some for his lunch tomorrow.

    “Dinner tomorrow....well I will see what I can rustle up...there's one egg left......potato pancakes and a fried egg for him tomorrow.....me.....I think there are some crackers left!


    After the initial pity, it has left me wondering if we are doing enough to educate people on how to live on little. It is a skill many people appear to have lost since the 80s..

    Based on the above comments:

    How can someone in dire straits not see that €120 for a filling is 50% too high?

    How does someone get a €1400 heating bill over the summer?

    How does someone with an internet connection justify feeding their child dry crackers for dinner?

    Will someone on the dole not assume or realise they are likely to be exempt from property tax?
     
  2. micmclo

    micmclo Frequent Poster

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    Do they have a sauna in the house? :eek:

    I don't use heating ten months of the year and even last winter with electric heating my highest ESB never topped two hundred. They are usually well under one hundred
    Fair enough he has a family but those bills are outrageous

    This guy mentions ESB and heating separately.
    Yikes, what are they doing?
     
  3. tiger

    tiger Frequent Poster

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  4. Purple

    Purple Frequent Poster

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  5. Purple

    Purple Frequent Poster

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    Maybe AAM should have a Money makeover section?
     
  6. Sunny

    Sunny Frequent Poster

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    I don't know. I was in Brown Thomas yesterday evening looking around for a jacket when I suddenly realised that this was ridiculous. I went across to Tommy Hilfiger instead....

    I think most people are very good at surviving on a budget. The one thing I do have a lot of smypathy for is when emergencies happen and you are trying to get by on a strict budget. I know someone whose heating broke down with young child in the house and is having to borrow the money off family and friends to get it fixed. It is soul destroying for him.
     
  7. gillarosa

    gillarosa Frequent Poster

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    The Adult is eating the crackers while the Child is eating. The heating bill does not relate to the summer, they didn't use is then, its a balance due from last Winter. Its clear when you read the article.
     
  8. becky

    becky Frequent Poster

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    Sunny I thought Tommy Hilfiger was a high end brand. Did you mean Dunnes.

    I paid €210 for a filling recently. That included 2 - 3 flims, clinical exam, peridontic treatment so €120 wasn't too bad.
     
  9. Sunny

    Sunny Frequent Poster

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    It was just a pitiful attempt at trying to be smart. Security follow me around places like Brown Thomas!
     
  10. micmclo

    micmclo Frequent Poster

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    Whoosh :)
     
  11. Mpsox

    Mpsox Frequent Poster

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    The quality of what you buy on a tight budget is also greatly reduced and that can have long term effects. Cheap processed foods that fill people rather then food that may be better from a nutrition perspective is a simple example
     
  12. micmclo

    micmclo Frequent Poster

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    Ah yes, Dunnes Stores shoes, now there is a false economy. They fall to pieces

    Better off buying a quality pair and worth it in the long run

    Must be tough for parents every August though
     
  13. CMCR

    CMCR Frequent Poster

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    Personally, I don't think this is a skill - it's more about living smartly and irrespective of what anyone says, it IS possible to prepare nutritious, healthy food on a low budget, so I don't understand why anyone is feeding themselves plain crackers. MABS has published a cookery book with recipies for those on a low income - I have a copy.

    I work long hours and often pop into my local supermarket late in the evening on my way home. I've noticed that supermarkets heavily discount foods at the end of the day. I've bought meat, poultry and vegetables for a fraction of the cost (as in 75% less) towards the end of the day and either cook ahead or freeze what I can.

    It irritates me when I hear about examples of people living on crackers, or an egg a day - I think they are in the minoity, but that doesn't make good stories for print or radio media. If anyone is in that situation, there is always the Community Welfare Officer and there are charities that can help.
     
  14. Purple

    Purple Frequent Poster

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    I made dinner for 6 last night for under €10. Very tasty and healthy and all fresh ingredients (except for the dried herbs).
    I agree with CMCR; it is not just possible but easy to prepare healthy nutritious meals for a very small amount of money.
    Thinks like vegetable curries with lentils, chick-peas etc for protein cost very little and are dead easy to make.
     
  15. Guest105

    Guest105 Guest

    That is a very good advise but remember not everybody lives close to a large supermarket such as Dunnes or Tesco so can't avail of the cheap deals late in the evenings. Also people have their pride and wouldn't dream of asking for help from charities or to approach the Community Welfare Officer for help. Once I knew a young single mother who went to the CWO and he basically screamed at her for daring to ask for more help. There are no easy solutions here.
     
  16. Guest105

    Guest105 Guest

    How do you know they have an internet connection, maybe they are using the free service in the library or a friend's connection.
     
  17. DerKaiser

    DerKaiser Frequent Poster

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    Perhaps. Perhaps not. We'll never know as it was an anonymous post. We don't even know if it's true.

    I'm not casting aspersions on anyone, just wondering aloud whether there are people who haven't yet adjusted to their lower means through maybe lack of experience in living on a tight budget.

    I find it hard to believe anyone in this country has exhausted all options before going hungry on a regular basis or are social protections genuinely so low that those dependent on welfare cannot reasonably be expected to feed themselves out of it?
     
  18. CMCR

    CMCR Frequent Poster

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    I accept that, but I was in a branch of Tesco at around 3pm today and there was plenty of food discounted heavily so you don't need to visit late in the evening to avail of bargains, as I usually do later in the evening.

    Separately, regarding people's pride and visiting the CMO, if I was in a situation where all I had to eat was crackers, I wouldn't have an issue with asking for assistance from the CMO. It's a confidential service, so why not?

    Again, I strongly reiterate, it IS possible to feed a family healthily and well and with nutritious food on a low budget. I notice recently, that this is now a popular topic in the media and there are often programmes on TV and radio (and indeed recipies in newspapers) with ideas.

    Turning this idea in it's head - would the media consider how maybe some of these people "existing on crackers", are actually spending their money. (Just a thought.....).
     
  19. DerKaiser

    DerKaiser Frequent Poster

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    Here's the latest one.

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2011/1206/1224308618958.html

    Can someone read the article and tell me:

    1) How the Child benefit is only €980pm when the rates would suggest €1322 currently (140x2 + 157 + 177x5) and €1228 in 2012 (140x2 + 148 + 160x5)

    2) What kind of TV is he paying €50 a week on?

    3) What kind of car has he that's costing €400pm in loan repayments?

    Point 1) is just misleading
    On point 2) A good second hand TV can be got almost for free these days, evidently saving €2.5k over a year!!!!
    On point 3) A reliable 7-8 year old car costs €3k and will do you for 4 years easily saving over €4k a year

    I have actually yet to see one of these stories that doesn't have a gaping hole in it. The true hard up cases aren't courting the media. The examples on the frontline, in the papers, etc actually harden your attitude to poverty through ridiculous situations and expectations
     
  20. orka

    orka Frequent Poster

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    I think maybe there are typos/misunderstanding of the family situation - 980 per month would be for 6 kids so I suspect they are a family of 8 rather than a family with 8 children.

    But yes, I agree it's not exactly a sympathy-inducing example. It doesn't give me the warm and fuzzies as a taxpayer that this family appears to be spending €2,600 per annum on a tv and €6,200 on motoring costs.