Thousands of households to take part in survey to track Irish spending habits

The CSO is to ask 6,000 households to document their spending for two weeks in 2024.

A shopper looks at salad vegetables in a branch of Waitrose
Lorry driver shortage A shopper looks at salad vegetables in a branch of Waitrose (Aaron Chown/PA)

Thousands of households are to be asked to take part in a new annual survey to help measure inflation and Irish spending habits.

The new Household Budget Survey (HBS), launched this week, will ask 6,000 households from across the country to track their spending for 14 days.

The households will be randomly selected 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.

They will be given a “spending notebook” that has a pouch section to collect and retain receipts.

The Central Statistics Office (SCO) is to collect the responses, which is anonymised.

From 2025, the results will be published every year instead of every five years.

The CSO said it aims to better understand the impact of inflation by collecting the household data more regularly and by updating the items in its “National Basket of Goods”, which is used to calculate the Consumer Price Index.

The CSO said the survey benefits householders, who get a better sense of where their money is going; and benefits statisticians who get better data on the percentage of incomes spent on bills or groceries and changing buying habits.

Ger Doolan, senior statistician in the CSO’s 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.”

He added: “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.”