Around a third of Austrians have struggled to pay their bills in the last six months and are having a hard time making ends meet, according to a poll carried out by credit management service Intrum Justitia.

Third of Austrians struggle

18 percent of Austrians admitted to struggling financially every month and 28 percent said they are in serious financial trouble.

The majority blamed rising living costs, and 78 percent said that when money gets tight they cut back on going out to save on expenses.

77 percent reduce their spending on clothing and 41 percent cut back on food expenses. 78 percent of Austrians said that the high cost of food was having a serious impact on their wallets.

The most significant factors causing money problems were loss of employment (86 percent), rental costs (87 percent) and fuel prices (80 percent). 57 percent of Austrians said they felt the euro was to blame for their financial woes.

Wolfgang Teller, head of Intrum Justitia in Austria, advised people who are struggling to pay household bills on time to get in touch with their providers or landlords: “sometimes you can arrange to pay in installments or you might be given a little more time to pay”.

For its European Payment Index Report Intrum Justitia interviewed 21,000 people across Europe. Results showed that five percent of people feel worse off than they did two or three years ago, and 13 percent are afraid to open their bills.

Three out of ten young Europeans (15-24 years) say that they do not have enough money for a dignified existence. Worst off are Estonians (44%), Irish (41%) and French (40%).

Meanwhile a Bloomberg Global Poll of international investors concludes that the world economy is in its worst shape in two years, with much of the concern focused on the euro area.

Almost two-thirds of those polled said the eurozone was weakening while 89 percent saw disinflation or deflation as a greater threat there than inflation over the next year.

Respondents said the European Central Bank and the region’s governments are making the situation worse by pursuing too-tight policies.