Saturday 19 October 2019

Spending on communion at eight-year high of €929

The average amount of money received by children for their communion this year was €617. Stock Image
The average amount of money received by children for their communion this year was €617. Stock Image
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

Spending on communions has hit an eight-year high.

And there has been a rise in the cash gifts being given to the young boys and girls to mark the ceremony.

Families are now shelling out €929 on average on the day, up almost €70 on last year's figure, according to the annual Ulster Bank Communion survey.

Children got more than €600 on average in cash gifts, up 10pc from last year. Some got as much as €800.

A large number of parents say they spoke to their children about money and how to handle it before the day.

But parents still admitted they upped the amount of money they splashed out to mark the May ceremony.

Surveyors were told by the majority of parents that they funded the occasion from their savings.

One in 10 sought help from family and friends, with a smaller proportion seeking a loan.

Just under one-fifth of parents believe that their child should contribute towards the cost of the day.

There was a huge jump in the money spent on outfits for the children. An average of €218 was spent on clothes, shoes and accessories, a rise of 35pc from last year.

Spending on outfits for other family members was also up strongly to close to €200.

There was little change in the spending on food and drink for the after-communion party at €357, according to the survey carried out for the bank by Empathy Research.

Expenditure on make-up and hair for girls also increased marginally to €41.

But parents spent less on children's entertainment this year, with that figure dropping 26pc to €119.

Asked about their attitudes to first communion spending, there has been a notable drop in the number of respondents who agree that there is pressure to spend as much money on the day as other parents.

Four out of 10 parents say there is pressure to do so, compared with more than half last year.

The average amount of money received by children for their communion this year was €617, up 10pc from €558.

And almost a quarter got more than €800.

Toys were the big expenditure item for the money received, followed by clothes and then computer games. Books were fourth on the list of priorities.


Communion day is traditionally the first time that children receive a significant amount of money. Most parents think that their child received too much money.

On average, girls received more money than boys.

Nine out of 10 respondents to the survey said that they spoke to their child about the money they received and how they might spend it.

Mostly parents spoke to the children before the church ceremony, with a third waiting until shortly afterwards.

The vast majority of respondents say some of the money their child received from their communion will be put into a savings account in their own name.

For around a quarter of those making their first communion in 2019, this will be the first time they have had a savings account. Others have accounts where they put money they got for birthdays and Christmas.

Where the money goes

Detailed breakdown of spending by parents on communions is as follows:

  • Child's outfit for the day: €218 (35pc increase on €162 in 2018)
  • Outfits for other family members: €195 (27pc increase on €153 in 2018)
  • Party/refreshments: €357 (2pc increase on €349 in 2018)
  • Children's entertainment: €119 (26pc decrease on €161 in 2018)
  • Make-up/hair (girls only): €41 (17pc increase on €35 in 2018)

Irish Independent

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