This is what the average child is getting for their First Communion... and what parents must shell out for the day
Parents are being forced to turn to their savings to find an average of €845 to pay for their child's First Holy Communion - with almost half of the money going on the celebratory party afterwards.
A significant chunk of spending goes on buying the child's outfit for the day as well as kitting out other family members.
The 2017 Ulster Bank Communion Survey found that some 92pc of parents financed the day through their own savings, an increase of 5pc on last year's figure.
Half of the parents who were surveyed agreed that there was pressure to spend as much money on the day as other parents did.
But almost a third were less concerned, and would rather save the money so they can spend it on birthdays or summer holidays instead.
The survey also showed that children got an average of €570 in gifts on the occasion of their First Communion this year.
Almost a quarter of children (23pc) got more than €800 - which would still not even cover the cost of the entire day for hard-pressed parents.
Overall spending by parents remained relatively stable, at €845. But families are spending more on clothes and party celebrations than in previous years' surveys.
Some €388 of the funds go into the party, including for food and drink, while €185 is spent on the child's outfit and €153 on clothes for other family members.
In contrast, the amount spent on children's entertainment fell by 48pc to €78.
And the amount spent on make-up and hair fell by 27pc to €41.
The survey notes that spending seems to have stabilised somewhat after rising 12pc the previous year as the country continued to recover from the recession.
In terms of money received, some 13pc of children got more than €1,000, and the average was €570 this year, compared with €546 in 2016, a 4pc rise.
Boys are more likely to receive a larger amount of money on the occasion.
The average received by boys is €591, compared with €550 for girls.
The survey also says that the occasion continues to be an opportunity for children to learn about finance and savings, with the vast majority (85pc) of parents reporting that some of the money received will be put into a savings account in the child's own name.
Several reported that this would be the child's first ever savings account.
Chris Wilson, managing director of retail banking at Ulster Bank said: "Children pick up financial habits from a really young age, so we're delighted to see that 85pc of children making their Communion this year will put some of their money into a savings account and for over a quarter of them, it will be their first ever account."
The most common purchases with Communion money are toys (42pc) and clothes (31pc).
However, there has been a significant drop in the number of children buying computer games and sports equipment, down 19pc and 12pc respectively on 2016.
The Ulster Bank Communion Survey was carried out online among members of Empathy Research's ideas panel, who are parents of children who have made their First Holy Communion this year.
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