While lower paid workers have been boosted by an increase in the Universal Social Charge threshold during the first part of the Budget 2012, larger families could be anything from €800-€1,000 worse off thanks to austerity measures. So if you’re part of a large family, how have you been affected and what can you do about it?
Families are expected to be hit by a reduction in child benefit, winter fuel allowances and back-to-school allowances.
While the children’s allowance for the first and second child remains at €140, the allowance for the third and fourth children has been knocked down to €140 having previously been set at €167 and €177. This means that a family of six would see their children’s allowance cut back from €624 to €560.
Other changes include fuel allowances being cut back; and reductions in disability allowances. Jobseekers’ benefits will be based on a five-day week; changes to the one-parent family payment will save around €20.7million; while redundancy and insolvency changes will cut employer rebate from 60 per cent to 15 per cent. Back-to-school clothing allowances will be abolished for two- and three-year-olds; while payments for new claimants of disability allowance have been reduced to €100 a week for 18- to 21-year-olds and to €144 for 22- to 24-year-olds.
Chances are that if you’re part of a large family you will have to tighten the purse strings in the coming months – and it could hardly have come at a worse time with Christmas on the horizon. As such, the emphasis is on consumers to ensure they are getting the best possible deal on a host of products and services.
It’s wise to take a look at your monthly outgoings and consider if there is anything you can cut back on. It may be as simple as reducing your children’s weekly allowance; cutting back on nights out or takeaway meals; or removing a magazine or newspaper subscription that you don’t make the most of. From there, see if you can save money on your financial outlay by comparing deals on insurance, utilities, mobile phone contracts, broadband and more.
Then look at your weekly and one-off spending and consider if you could save money by shopping online or carrying out price comparisons before you buy. Look to take advantage of voucher codes wherever possible too. For example, Moneysaver.ie has an entire section devoted to Christmas voucher codes with savings on everything you may need over the festive season.