Frugal Living,  Musing,  Parenting

What Will I Do When Things Get Better?

People keep on asking me what will I do when things start getting better. Will we have more money to spend on groceries?  I don’t think we will.

The aim has always been to get us to a position where we can pay our mortgage in full. To do that we need to stick to our grocery budget and be very careful about what we spend and do with our money. We took on the mortgage (when I was working full time granted) and we have a responsibility to the bank to pay that back. It is our debt.

Here’s the thing. Standing charges and stealth charges  are now beginning to have a direct impact on more families shopping budgets than previously. I’m going to list some of ours below so you can have a read because we are all affected by many of these charges.

  • Refuse Standing Charge: €110 plus €9.35 per bin lift, there is no other refuse collector in my area so we have no choice if we want our refuse collected, we have to pay this charge. Say we get it lifted every second week, that’s an additional €243 approximately so €354 per annum in total.
  • TV Licence: €160 per annum.
  • Water Charges: €240 estimated per household per annum.
  • Property Tax: €157 per annum.
  • Prescription Charges: Either €25 per month per family with a medical card OR €144 per month for a family without.

Some of the charges above I would have allowed for on a weekly basis but have increased significantly in the past 10 years or so. Others are new charges that didn’t exist 10 years ago and I now have to allow for them.  In this household there are always the fixed amounts for light, heat, insurance, transport costs for himself to get to/from work and obviously the mortgage as well. Bear in mind as well that some taxation has increased and lowered the income coming back into the house and also child benefit (€130 per child at the moment) has decreased over the past few years as well. Car tax, fuel for the car, light, heat and insurance have all increased over the past 10 years too.

With the squeeze on disposable income from the increased household charges, and the news that grocery inflation is on the increase, the summer is going to be a time of stress for many. I’m already trying to plan for back to school and set some money aside every week. I know I’m certainly not alone in doing this. This news about grocery inflation is not really news to me. I’ve been noticing a steady increase in grocery costs over the past couple of years, along with package sizes getting smaller.

If you notice above, the title says “when things get better”. That’s because I really believe that they are going in the right direction and that it will happen. There is no “if” in my direction anymore. That can only be a good thing.

I’m confident I’m not the only person with the weight of the charges and cost of living on their mind.

What charges/living costs have you worried?

I'm an Irish mother to 2 boys, born & bred in Dublin, Ireland. I like to cook simple & fresh food for the family, with the family on a budget.


  • Ena Ronayne

    you omitted transport whether it be car, luas, dart or bus we all need to travel at some point in a working week?

    • Wholesome Ireland

      Actually if you see above I mentioned we have a car to run and I’ve mentioned fuel, tax and insurance as well as transport costs. We can only afford to run one car and his place of work is away from a public transport route. If I need to go out I walk.

  • topgold

    If we are lucky, we will move closer to where we work and into a community where I will introduce our senior infant to the joy of walking two miles each way to school, something I did when her age. We replace wind-reversed umbrellas once every three months because there’s good value in walking.

    • Wholesome Ireland

      It’s too windy by the coast to use umbrellas. Decent raingear & walking boots are a must though! 2 miles each way is our distance as well, I should walk it more but having the time to do it became an issue so he gets a lift with a family member.

  • CatherineAnn Minnock

    My parents were so shocked at refuse collection charges that they decided to take our rubbish to the rubbish tip themselves in the car, roughly once a month. It’s saved them a lot of money. This is probably only feasible if you live in an appropriate place, though.

      • dizzydoll

        Have you any of those “Big Bin” services nearby? They seem to be everywhere here at petrol stations and shops. It’s basically a big enclosed skip where you pay a fixed amount (usually 6 or 8 euro) and stuff your bags into the slot. It could work out cheaper as no standing charge?

  • Looking for Blue Sky

    I think that things will get better. But only for some. And it’s not a neat division by class/age bracket or anything like that. The recession has fallen disproportionally on random families and individuals for whom changes in life circumstances have meant that the bottom has fallen out of their finances. Their neighbours may all be coping just fine. That’s what’s so unfair about what’s happened. I really hope that you see an improvement in things soon xx

  • David Kelly

    Whilst certainly the UK economy seems to be improving, I think it’ll be a while before I can appreciate a difference in my pocket. Other than the things you’ve mentioned already Caitriona, I think the main livings costs that seem to keep going up regularly is the cost of gas & electricity. Looking back at old bills it’s shocking how much the per unit costs for these have jumped up over the past several years.

    • Wholesome Ireland

      Isn’t it? Although mind you before we moved into our more energy efficient home, we paid €800 in the space of 2 months for home heating oil. Even though our costs are high now, I think that’s always my benchmark.

  • Denise Pothier- Fortin

    Hmmm I am definitely feeling the sting of Capitalism, and the effects it has on people globally. I live in Ontario Canada, our heating and electricity costs will be nearly doubling this year. So long as we have a system that is based on profit, and not people and compassion, we will continue to experience suffering at the whim of this system. I have heard of people like Jaques Fresco, who has an entire civilization plan which involves a resource based economy, where everyone is cared for, and money is eliminated. He says that the average person would live as well, or better than the richest person in today’s economy. It’s just unfortunate that more people have not heard of this man, or his life’s work. Here is a link if anyone is interested in learning about a way of life that is technologically advanced, and based on compassion. I just feel that we need to be aware that we do have options!

  • m.pierce

    in a very similar boat. its refreshing to hear someone speak honestly about the day to day stresses & strains, instead of glossing them over. sick of the keeping up appearances crowd!!

    • Wholesome Ireland

      There’s no point in trying to keep up appearances. I’d rather be honest about what it’s like because we all get strength from one another. Chin up, thinking of you. x

  • Waiting for the Sun

    Things are not much better here in the US. My husband has been looking for a job since January after being laid off, and has only had one interview (and of course they hired someone younger!). I think our generation (the so-called “Generation X”) is completely screwed. I feel that we were the ones hit hardest by the recession, and I don’t know if we’ll ever recover and be able to retire like our parents have. There is a definite sense of “ageism” here in the US – i.e., if you’re over 40, you’re a relic and completely unhireable! I really hope you’re right about “when” rather than “if.” I’m trying to think that way too, but it’s not easy.

    BTW, I came across this blog by searching for recipies and I’m really enjoying it – the blog and the recipies! 🙂

    • Wholesome Ireland

      Thank you for dropping by Waiting for the Sun. I have to tell you that it’s been 5 years since I lost my job and it’s only now that things are getting better. It has been a long road & I wish you all the best for the journey ahead.

  • Amberjane

    I know things are going to stay the same if not worse – my husband was made redundant for the 3rd time over a year ago now and finally had enough of married life over a month ago so I am left with two kids and no money whatsoever and all those years I spent as a stay at home mammy are now coming back to haunt me as I try frantically to find some form of job to support us. I spend most of the time just trying not to panic but your blog has been a source of inspiration for a while and I will continue checking in as we both muddle though 🙂

    • Wholesome Ireland

      Hi Amberjane. I’m so sorry to read that you’re having a difficult time. I hope that you find some strength from my muddling through – and please know that many of us are doing it together. You’re not alone. Wishing you all the best in that job hunt. x

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