Most people are not "precarious" unless they have a lot of debt or a small debt with a loanshark. Crime makes things bad, not money as such. By the standards of the 50's or even the 70's, basics and luxuries are affordable as long as you don't waste it.
It's all relative. Coming from Ireland (and the Euro) the UK seems cheap. That's mostly the sterling/euro conversion rates in my favour. For example a pint of drink costs about €5 (about £4.50). The difference is so noticable that many people drive to Northern Ireland to do large shopping trips to get cheaper goods.