Families in the North spent an average of £729 on their child’s First Holy Communion this year, according to figures released by Ulster Bank.
This amount represents an increase of £160 on last year’s average spend.
The annual survey conducted by Ulster Bank said that as outgoings for parents rise, there’s better news for the children, who have seen an increase in the value of gifts received.
It found that children making their First Communion pocketed an average of £345 from family and friends; up £17 on the 2018 figure and the second highest amount gifted since the survey began in 2012.
Just under 40 per cent of the total amount spent by families went towards marking the occasion, with an average of £280 going on parties, celebrations and food and drink.
Children’s outfits accounted for close to 30 per cent of the total budget, while the rest was divided among clothes for other family members (£175), children’s entertainment (£107) and hair and make-up (£44).
While spending for survey respondents was up overall on 2018 figures, costs for clothing other family members and amount spent on grooming were both marginally lower than in previous years, dropping by 5 per cent and 19 per cent respectively.
In keeping with previous years’ trends, families with girls making their First Holy Communion incurred much higher expenditure, spending £807 which was around 24 per cent more than families with boys marking the occasion.
Most families financed their child’s special day themselves (98 per cent) with less than a fifth receiving support from friends or family.
Just two per cent of families of surveyed claimed to have taken out a loan to meet the costs of celebrations.
On average, children spent a total of 35 per cent of the money they received with the biggest proportion of this spend going on toys (43%), computer games (26%) and clothes (25%).
This year’s class of first communicants seem to spend more time reading than those in previous years with spending on books at a seven year high (21%).
According to the survey, 72 per cent of children will place a proportion of their First Communion money in a savings account opened in their own name. Head of Personal Banking at Ulster Bank, Terry Robb was pleased to see children being exposed to such positive saving habits at such a young age.
“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 learn about the importance of saving for the future and we believe being exposed to positive saving habits at home can help these children grow up to be financially responsible.”
On noticing the significant increase to the total cost involved with First Communion Celebrations, Terry urged families not to put themselves under financial strain or get carried away with their spending.