Avoid Unnecessary Debt this First Communion Season
Preparing for a child’s First Holy Communion is a very special time for families. In recent years however it has also become a very financially stressful time. Brand new outfits, cash gifts, lunches or dinners for family and friends and even children’s entertainment are all features of modern-day First Holy Communions. This pressure has seen many parents reaching for the credit card, or worse, contemplating a moneylender.
A May 2017 poll carried out by website Evoke.ie revealed that almost half of people (46%) feel parents should spend between €100-200 on their child’s outfit for the day. 58% said they would expect their meal to be paid for if they were attending the celebrations. The overwhelming majority, 74%, felt that cash was the most appropriate communion gift, followed by jewellery or a watch. These attitudes are understandably compounding the financial pressure on families already grappling with daily bills.
Helen Courtney Power, Business Development Officer of Killarney Credit Union is advising parents in the South Kerry area to start budgeting now for First Communion time, and avoid getting into unnecessary debt. “We would really discourage parents from using their credit cards to fund their child’s First Holy Communion – as some can charge interest rates of more than 22%* leading to a long financial recovery period. We would especially urge people away from moneylenders – some of whom can charge outrageous interest rates of 188%** trapping people in a never-ending cycle of debt. At Killarney Credit Union we really want parents and families in the South Kerry area to enjoy this special time with their family free from financial worries, and so we would encourage them to start budgeting now. Resist the temptation to spend money on some of the more unnecessary trappings, and of course, seek out one of our friendly staff members for any budgeting tips or guidance you might need.”
Helen continued “Of course, we also understand that First Holy Communion is an important milestone in your child’s life and you might need a helping hand to fund your plans for the day. At Killarney Credit Union we are offering a special loan for the occasion, which like all our loans, does not carry any hidden transaction fees and we are happy to structure a repayment plan to suit individual circumstances. There is always the option to repay lump sums without incurring any extra penalties or charges – and this loan is available to all members, including those who have not used their account for a while or who we may not have seen in years.”
Cash gifts received for children making their First Communion have also increased. The Evoke.ie poll found that more than half of people (51%) feel €20 should be gifted, while almost a quarter believe it should be €30. This presents a great opportunity for parents to educate their children about the importance of saving.
Helen says; “Parents can encourage their children to put aside some of their communion money by opening a credit union savings account for them. Perhaps they have been talking about something they really want such as a bike, new games or clothes. Encouraging them to save towards something they have always wanted is a good way to start their financial education. Starting to build up a savings history from an early age is also a great advantage should your child need to borrow in the future for third level or their first car.
For advice on managing costs of managing the costs of Communion and Confirmation, MABS have created a useful guide.