What I Spend on Christmas: The 22-year-old PR Executive earning €29k who’s spending €100 on her boyfriend
The average Irish family spends €2,700 over the festive season, but what about the savers and splurgers? In the sixth part of a new series, we speak to a 22-year-old PR executive who earns €29,000 a year
“I am, in all senses of the word, buzzing for Christmas this year. Partly because I am a huge fan of the festive period, but partly because, since leaving college in May, I haven’t had longer than a few days off, so I am so excited to go home to the country, inhale some clean air, and not be in work for over a week!
I am definitely a saver more than a spender. I have recently become more or less financially independent, so I’m much more vigilant with my money (renting in Dublin is no joke). I have a savings account that I continuously try and deposit into with each pay cheque – what it’s for, I’m not exactly sure yet, but it’ll be along the lines of a quarter-life-crisis move to Australia, or something to that effect.
This Christmas is a little different for me, in that, for the first time, I actually have money to give people decent presents. I’m currently on a graduate programme, in a large company primarily based in Dublin, and earning a salary for the first time in my life.
Life as a student, and before that, a waitress, meant that my presents weren’t exactly what you’d call lavish. So I’m excited to spend some money on my loved ones this year. I don’t really have a budget style, so to speak – but despite the fact that I’m a saver by nature, I won’t be beating myself up overspending a little more this year, as I’ve been saving hard since May. I don’t have a credit card, and am not eager to get one – it seems a bit too ‘adult’ for me just yet! We don’t really have any rules in place as a family for gifting – my mum says every year that she ‘wishes we (myself and my sister) wouldn’t spend our hard-earned money on her’, but she and dad do so much for me that I love giving back at Christmas.
What I’m buying
Myself and my sister generally go in together on our parents’ Christmas present. In recent years, we’ve started getting them tickets to concerts, comedy shows and musicals, as they really have everything they would need already, so buying them experiences is always nice. Generally, this comes to about €100, and I’ll probably get them something for under the tree as well, along the lines of a book or a scarf. My sister is in college so I know I’ll spend more on her present than she will on mine, but I pacify her when she gets annoyed by saying it’ll balance out in years to come!
I have a tote bag bought for her already, but I’ll spend about €75 total – I’m thinking an airline voucher as she loves to travel. My boyfriend and I put a limit of €100 on Christmas presents, same as we did last year. He’s still in college so I don’t want him spending mad amounts on me, and we always go bigger for birthdays anyway. So far, I’ve gotten him socks, a t-shirt and a water bottle – very practical, I know, but I went the sentimental route last Christmas and it didn’t go down well (read: he didn’t use any of his presents).
I’ll probably get him a voucher for his favourite tattoo parlour to top this off, as he’s been harping on for a while about what he wants as his next tattoo.
His parents are another ordeal altogether. We weren’t together long enough last year that I had to buy for them, but this year I won’t get away with it. I haven’t a clue what to get them (and they’re accustomed to nice things, so that makes it worse, because I’ve a greater chance of getting it wrong), but it’ll probably come from Avoca and cost about €100. I’m debating getting his Mum a poinsettia plant, as I think every household should have one for Christmas, and was appalled when he told me he didn’t know what it was. We don’t do Secret Santa in work, but in my friend group we do, and the limit is €15 (some are still in college, so it’s only fair). I love this tradition, and we’re going for a Christmas brunch to exchange gifts – SO excited!
I get my best friend (she’s in said friend group) something small as well, and she does the same for me – we spend about €30 each. My grandparents, much like my parents, have everything they would ever need, so I always get them things like books or moisturiser that I know they’ll like. This will come to about €75 for both of them.
Everyone in my house in Dublin goes home for Christmas, so we decorated (what others would consider to be) obscenely early to fully appreciate it, with a little fake tree and lights from last year. I bought tinsel for the office, but no one else seemed as enthused about Christmas as me. That was only €5. I also bought some gingerbread scented candles for my room, and they were €1.50 each.
Fashion, beauty and obligatory sequins
In terms of beauty, I don’t really spend much. Hair and make-up, I’ll do myself. The only thing I’ll get done professionally is my nails – I’ll get gold glitter Shellac, and that’ll be about €20. I bought a dress from Zara in the Black Friday sale for Christmas Day, and that was €15. I’ll wear it with black boots I also bought in the sales (and needed desperately) which were €45. I don’t have any nights out planned, but myself and my housemates are hosting a New Year’s Eve party, so I’ll want to get something glittery/covered in sequins for that. I’ll definitely get it online though – the Stephen’s Day sales are not for me. That’ll probably cost me around €50 and I’ll need heels to go with it, as mine finally kicked the bucket recently, so that’ll probably be €30. I’m going on a weekend break at the end of January with my boyfriend, so I’d rather save for that than spend loads on unnecessary clothes right now.
Nights out, like I said, haven’t been arranged, and to be honest I’m not a huge ‘night out girl’. What I do love, however, are Christmas brunches and drinks, and I have my calendar covered in them already. College friends, school friends, and family all need to be seen over the festive period. This will probably be my biggest Christmas expense, aside from presents – I’ll spend between €200-€250 on this.
I shamelessly admit that aside from the aforementioned Christmas brunches and drinks, I will not be spending a euro on food for the house – my mum will have The Big Shop done weeks in advance. And I’ll just sit back and eat an array of biscuits, cheese and chocolate. Bliss.
Any travel done over Christmas – visiting family and such – will mostly be confined to either parent’s car – apart from my bus fare home on Christmas Eve. This will be €20 euro for a single ticket – my boyfriend comes to Donegal a few days after the main event (which I am so excited for) and he’ll drive us back to Dublin for New Year’s.
Totting up, the total is a figure that would normally make my stomach flip-flop, but I need to remind myself that money is earned to be spent, and as the excuse-of-the-month goes, it is Christmas, after all.”
Seeking money diarists! If you want to be featured anonymously in our What I Spend on Christmas series, contact [email protected]
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