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Thursday 14 December 2017

From online shopping to student accommodation - how the pound plunge impacts the Irish consumer

Think the UK election result doesn't affect you?

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Sinead Ryan

Sinead Ryan

Every cloud has a silver lining, and the day after the UK's surprise election results, the Irish consumers’ is the consequent drop in Sterling.

Currency markets hate uncertainty and the UK’s nose-dived as it became clear that a hung parliament was in the offing. 

While they sort themselves out across the water, what does it mean for us? Can we cash in on their upheaval, even if only temporarily? 

The answer is yes, but only in certain circumstances. Before the 2016 Brexit referendum, Sterling was trading at 1.31 against the Euro; by this morning it was as low as 1.13.  That means buying anything from the UK will now be cheaper. However, there are some rules:


1) Shoppers

If you’re shopping online on a UK website (e.g. Amazon, Asos), only buy products in Sterling. Many sites automatically detect you’re in Ireland and redirect you to the Euro currency. If there’s a drop down box to change to Sterling, use it. This is because retail sites build in a ‘bump’ for currency fluctuations just like this. Here’s an example:  a ‘Needle & Thread’ white embroidery dress is currently selling for €304.04 on Asos. Selecting Sterling shows it at £225.00. Let your own bank do the exchange, which, today, will be around €254.25 – a saving of nearly €50.


2) Motorists

There was a huge increase in UK car imports since Brexit. While there are definite savings to be made, it’s generally only on higher spec, top cars. Always check the car’s history and there may be no comeback if you buy a clocked or damaged model. 



3) Students

Many students will be heading to the UK for college in September and are now looking at accommodation or fee payments. Both are cheaper now, so it’s worth doing a deal if you’re in this position and need to pay a deposit. 


4) Tourists

Travelling to the UK will mean cheaper hotels, theatre tickets and restaurant bills, but don’t make the mistake of buying your currency at the airport, or at any of the currency kiosks around London – they charge a massive fee built into the exchange rate.  Buy in a main street bank, post office or credit union before you leave. Or, put everything on your card and leave your bank sort it out. 


5) Pensioners

If you’re in receipt of a pension from the UK, expect a rocky ride. It will be worth less now, and there’s little you can do about it. However, your tax bill will also be reduced. 

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