Back to Top

 Skip navigation

Press Statement

Launch of awareness campaign for CSO's new Household Budget Survey 2024

CSO press statement, , 11am

Could you do the 14-day challenge to track your spending?

  • The 14-day challenge to track your spending is part of the CSO’s new Household Budget Survey (HBS) launched this week.

  • More than 6,000 households from around the country will be asked to take part throughout the year.

  • From 2025, high level results from the HBS will be published on an annual basis instead of once every five years.

  • The now continual collection of the HBS, coupled with our planned update to the items in our National Basket of Goods which is used to calculate the Consumer Price Index, will help the CSO and the public better understand the impact of inflation.

  • Previous participants of this survey have said they got a better sense of their spending habits and were able to make changes and savings.

Statistician's Comment

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has today (09 January 2024) launched a campaign to raise awareness of our new Household Budget Survey (HBS) where households will be asked to track their spending for 14 days.

January is often a time when thoughts turn to making changes and to think of ways to save money. When reviewing spending habits, the first step is to track your outgoings to see if any changes can be made. From food shopping to phone bills, TV streaming services to utility bills, it can be hard to see exactly where your money is going.

Our new HBS, which collects data on household spending, kicks off this week and will run throughout the year. Around 6,000 households will be randomly selected to take part in the HBS throughout 2024 and each member of the household aged 16 and over will be asked to record the details of their day-to-day spending over 14 consecutive days in a Spending Notebook, which will be provided to participating households.

Collecting every receipt and documenting your spending in the Spending Notebook is very important, and we have tried to make this process as easy as possible. Each Spending Notebook has a handy pouch section to collect and retain receipts, making it much easier to document your spending over the 14 days. A member of the CSO interview team will be on hand to provide support and information to the household.

There are two main advantages to taking part: each household will get a better sense of where their money is going and promotes better spending awareness; and the CSO gets better data on the types of items being purchased, the percentage of incomes spent on bills or groceries, and changing buying habits.

The spending data we collect from households is anonymised, which means no one will ever be identified from the data we collect. The data is used to measure the cost of living in Ireland. The details recorded in the notebook also give the CSO better information on what goods and services should be included in the basket of goods which is used to calculate the Consumer Price Index.

Ger Doolan, Senior Statistician in the Social Data Collection Division, said: “While only certain households will be selected for the HBS, we would encourage everyone to take note of their daily spending for 14 days to give them greater awareness of where they are spending their money. Collecting your receipts and keeping a spending diary makes it easier to track spending. Previous participants of this survey have told us they get a better sense of their spending habits, and given the impact of inflation on food, heating, and other outgoings, the challenge is timely.

Every item that you spend your money on needs to be included, such as the big shop at the weekend, utility bills, children’s activities, gym membership, phone and TV costs, as well as the cup of coffee bought at the garage when you are filling up the car, or that impulse buy at the till such as a bar of chocolate or a packet of chewing gum.

It’s worth pointing out that no household or individual will be identifiable from the data they provide. However, if you are selected to take part, your spending habits are crucial to help us accurately reflect the cost of living in Ireland.

The HBS was previously collected once every five years, but the need to provide more timely information on how people spend their money means it will now be collected throughout the year. This change in the collection method for the HBS, and a planned update in February 2024 to the items included in our National Basket of Goods which is used to calculate the Consumer Price Index, means we can better understand the impact of inflation and accurately track changing spending habits.

The CSO has been trusted to collect, analyse, and publish information for 75 years. We count on the public to take part in our surveys, and they can count on us to provide an accurate reflection of our society.”

Advantages of Taking Part

What householders who took part in the last HBS said:

  • "I knew I was spending almost €20 a day on a pack of cigarettes and a coffee on the way to work but writing it in the diary helped me realise that this amounted to more than €5,000 a year. As a result, I am cutting back and will put the money towards a holiday instead."
  • "Looking at my receipts helped me identify how much junk I was buying, so now I intend to stop all that, to save money, and lose weight."

What members of our interview team said about the HBS:

  • “The HBS is one of the most important surveys we carry out, primarily because it has an immediate impact for householders, helping them realise how they are spending their money.”
  • What I found generally is that HBS respondents that engaged with the process found it very useful to get an overview of their income and expenditure. They were often amazed by how much they spent on additional items like car tax, insurance, internet services, TV packages etc and many felt they would review the situation to try to reduce their outgoings.”
  • “Families with children were surprised with the annual spend on activities like swimming, music, dance, sports membership, and summer camps. While very few could see a way of reducing the spending, they were happy to have an overall view of where their money was being spent. Generally, the HBS gave families a chance to look at their monetary situation that they may not otherwise have done.”

Contacts

Ger Doolan (+353) 21 453 5130
Jessica Coyne (+353) 21 453 5785
Email pressoffice@cso.ie

-- ENDS --