Budgeting and saving are key ingredients in making the day easy to manage


First Communion and Confirmation days are both one of the most important in a child's life.

They are seminal events for children and young people, days when the focus is all on them and they find themselves the centre of joyful family celebrations, leading to many memories in the years ahead.

For any family Communions and Confirmations are huge events, a celebration of all things that make up a family.

However, they do come with a price tag, and this price tag can quickly become exorbitant, if not managed correctly.

And managing them correctly can be no easy task. Trying to make the day as special as possible can lead to plently of stress.

In the run up to the day the price tag can very speedily run up, whether its from purchasing dresses, shoes and accessories for the girls, or suits and the requisite accessories for the boys.

And dressing the boys and girls who are receiving their Communion and Confirmation is only the initial cost.

There are a whole host of ancillary costs, from the rest of the family, to the meal and whether this is at home or in a hotel, the costs are very real.

The Money Advice and Budgeting Service (MABS) has a leaflet which offers simple tips which aims to maximise the opportunity of making the day enjoyable for your family, while avoiding some of the attendant stress.

MABS points out that planning and thinking ahead can make all the difference and difuse some of the pressure and stresses which can very quickly accure otherwise.

MABS offers the following tips in a leaflet which can be downloaded from their website or is available in any MABS office.

• Make a list early in the year of what you need to buy. Remember it’s not just the child you have to think about but all the family.

• Fill out the first column of the budget sheet in this booklet to estimate how much you will needfor each item.

Check some of the prices on items already in the shops.

• Add up the total cost of what you need to buy and ask yourself - Can I afford it?

If not, then think again.

• Fill out the second column of the budget sheet.

Is there any way you can reduce the list?

You can revise your list using the budget sheet attached until you come to a figure you’re comfortable with.

This is one of the most important decisions you’ll make – you know what you can afford – try to stick with that.

• Check shops for sales and reductions on items that you need.

Are there any dresses/suits in your family that can be used?

• Are there ways you can reduce the entertainment cost?

Do you need to provide

entertainment? Have something at home instead of going out?

Can you pool your resources with a family member or friend who perhaps is also celebrating on that day?

Saving for the day

Once you know how much you will need to spend on the day, you can now look at how you need to save for the big day.

• Check the calendar to see how many weeks are left until you need to buy the important items on your list.

• How much will you need to save each week to buy the items on your list?

• Put the money you save each week into a savings account.

What if I don’t think I’ll be able to save the money to pay for everything?

• If you feel you have to borrow to meet the cost of the day, contact MABS before doing so to see what other options are available to you.