Families to spend almost €800 on First Communions
FAMILIES are spending more on Holy Communions and the amount of money given in gifts to children to mark the ceremony is also rising.
The average spent by families to mark the big day for the youngsters is now €764 – this is €32 more than last year, according to the survey commissioned by Ulster Bank.
And the seven and eight-year-olds in their white dresses and suits got an average of €591 in cash gifts from relatives, friends and neighbours – around €70 more than they received in May of last year.
Financial experts said the extra spending and the higher amounts of money given in gifts may indicate that households have a little more to spend after six years of savage austerity.
Toys are set to be the most popular item bought with the money, with hi-tech games and clothes also popular. Music and sports equipment also feature in the children's spending plans.
More girls than boys have already spent the money they got for making their Communions. But around one in eight of the children have not yet spent any of the money they were gifted, and intend saving it.
The biggest expense is the party, with food and drink costing the most. Some €334 was spent on average in May on Communion parties, up 14pc from the previous year.
The child's outfit cost €170, much the same as last year.
But there was close to €200 spent on clothes and shoes for other family members, the research conducted by Empathy for Ulster Bank shows.
Most parents of Communion children told the researchers that they were in a position to pay for the celebrations marking the ceremony.
Some 6pc of parents had to take out a loan to cover the costs, with €800 the average amount borrowed – down slightly on last year.
Ulster Bank's director of branch banking Jim Ryan said the money given to children for making their Communion presented a good opportunity for teaching the youngsters financial literacy lessons.
"First Holy Communion presents many children with their first opportunity to learn the value of money and how best to manage it. It's encouraging to see that most children have something left over to save," he said.
"Learning financial literacy skills from an early age can help children to become financially responsible and demonstrates the advantages of managing their money sensibly."