Cost of First Holy Communion reaches six-year high for NI families

A new survey has found the cost of a First Holy Communion has reached a six-year high in Northern Ireland. Picture by Hugh Russell

THE cost of a First Holy Communion has reached a six-year high with Northern Ireland families spending more than £500 on the occasion.

However, a survey has also found the amount of cash given to children for gifts has fallen this year, although they still received an average of £328 from family and friends.

The findings from the Ulster Bank, which sampled parents living in the north with a child who made their First Holy Communion this year, reveal families spent an average of £568 - an increase of £30 on 2017.

Just over a third of the total amount spent went towards marking the occasion, with an average of £205 going on parties, celebrations and food and drink.

Children’s outfits accounted for 30 per cent of the total amount spent while the rest was divided among clothes for other family members (£184), children’s entertainment (£103) and hair and make-up (£54).

While spending for survey respondents was up on the 2017 figures for clothes (10 per cent) and make-up, tan and hair (13 per cent), families this year made savings when it came to throwing a party and children’s entertainment costs, which were down 20 per cent and four per cent respectively.

The survey also found children received an average of £328 from family and friends - £22 less than First Communicants were gifted last year.

While the average amount was down six per cent, a significant proportion of children (20 per cent) earned more than £400 and 10 per cent of parents said their children had received in excess of £500.

Children spent almost half of the money they received, with the biggest proportion spent going on toys (41 per cent), clothes (22 per cent) and computer games (13 per cent) and only seven per cent choosing to purchase books with their money.

The survey found 73 per cent of children will place a proportion of their First Communion money in a savings account.

To cover the cost of their child’s special day, five per cent of parents surveyed claimed to have taken out a loan, while 15 per cent received financial support from family or friends.

The remainder were able to use their own savings to make payments.

Terry Robb, head of Personal Banking at Ulster Bank, said: "For many children, making their First Holy Communion is the first big occasion they experience and while it’s nice to buy a new toy or computer game to mark the event, we’re pleased to see the majority of children putting all or part of this money into a savings account.

"It's never too early for children to get into the habit of saving for the future and we believe parents play an important role in teaching their children to be responsible with money."

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