Money Advice and Budgeting Service, regional manager of MABS, reports a 15% increase in phone calls by the end of May.

Michelle O’Hara told RTÉ Radio’s News at One that living expenses “just hurt people.”

The three main areas of concern for people were personal debt. Fear of being cut off due to non-payment of mortgages and invoices. She added that the space between what people earned and what they had to pay was narrowing.

She warned that people couldn’t extend their budget weekly or monthly and the current challenge was rising costs weekly. In some cases, people considered refueling their cars in the morning and noticed an increase in costs that night.

People’s main concern was that costs would increase further before winter, O’Hara said. The traditional trigger point returned to school, she said, and May, before Christmas, was not a traditional time. People were really worried about the challenges they would face in the winter months.

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The service saw many repeaters in need of additional assistance, as well as new clients and working people, but for the first time it was difficult to manage and required MABS assistance.

“Their income just doesn’t meet their spending.”

People had a habit of saving energy, but they felt it wasn’t enough to meet the bill.

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