This article was brought to my attention a couple of days ago. Journalist Liz Jones, of the UK Daily Mail, attempted a week on unemployment benefits:
I was delighted that she seemed to get so much from the experiment, but astonished by her lifestyle prior to it. I can't imagine having that much debt on top of a mortgage.
If the economic problems help people realise how much they are spending on inessentials, then it will have been a good thing.