The HFCS collects household-level data on households’ finances and consumption. The fieldwork for the first survey took place in late 2010/early 2011 in most countries. Anonymised microdata from the first wave were made available to the researchers in April 2013. The survey is conducted at the national level. In view of the considerable cultural and institutional differences between euro area countries, there needs to be some flexibility in the formulation of the questions for the individual countries in order to obtain comparable data. The participating institutions produce harmonised output (i.e. survey data) for their respective country, but do not necessarily use identical questionnaires. However, a common template questionnaire serves as a benchmark for the country questionnaires, as well as for establishing the output desired. The participating institutions report a set of commonly agreed output variables for their respective country. "Core" output variables are to be delivered for all participating countries. A set of non-core variables has also been defined, with the participating institutions being free to decide which of these non-core variables they collect and report for their respective country. The collection of standardised variables will ensure cross-country comparability.