Then there was worry about benefits being pegged regionally. But a brief cheer for the return of weekly bin collections - if you were lucky.
Hard upWe started January 2012 with hard-up Britons travelling less as the economy flatlined and prices continued to rise. A lot of us were driving fewer miles to save money. This story also combined with costlier bus tickets, after Arriva increased the price of its annual Midlands saver ticket by a steep £100.
No surprise that UK car sales sank hard in 2011 with new car sales down in Northern Ireland by almost 12% - a huge dip. Welsh sales also were hit hard, down almost 10% while English sales slipped 3.9%. Fiesta remained the best selling new car in 2011 with VW's Golf the best-selling diesel.
Then, in mid January, Tesco delivered a results bombshell, despite pushing its Big Price Drop hard. The effect was electric, with Tesco shares plunging 15%, falling to close to 315p. UK consumers were starting to shift their allegiances as the economy continued to stumble.