82% of households reduced their spending as a result of the economic downturn, while over 40% of households said they had experienced difficulties in keeping up with their bills.

The figures are contained in a module on the effect of the economic downturn on households in the Central Statistics Office's quarterly national household survey for the third quarter of 2012.

The CSO said that nearly a quarter of all households cut back on five or more categories of spending.

66% of households reduced spending on going out to pubs and restaurants, while 65% cut back on buying clothing and footwear and 51% reduced their grocery bill.

14% of owner-occupiers with a mortgage were unable to make mortgage repayments on time at least once in the previous 12 months, while 19% of all renting households failed to pay rent on time at last once, the survey also shows.

Over 33% of households who had a car also cut back on their expenditure on this means of transport.

Of the households to whom it was relevant, one quarter cut back on the level of cover on their health insurance, while about one sixth cut back on their pension contributions.

The CSO said two fifths of people surveyed were worried about their personal debts.

A quarter of adults surveyed also said they had spent all or some of their savings on basic goods and services in the 12 months before the survey was carried out.