The average Irish family spends €2,700 over the festive season, but what about the savers and splurgers? In the seventh part of a new series, we speak to a 26-year-old recruiter who earns €42,000 a year
"I wish I was better at pre-buying Christmas gifts, but I really love the run-up to Christmas and doing one or two days of pure gift shopping. I spend the most on my mum (about €100). She’s not hugely into beauty, and she would never do a spa day or anything like that, so I try to find something good that I know she’ll like and use regularly.
I seem to spend a similar amount to my peers. Since I started working full-time, I may go a little bit more extravagant than normal but nothing over the top. I don’t have a credit card or overdraft so I have to just deal with what’s in my current account. I may dip into my savings for about €200-€300 but I don’t mind that too much. I try and put away some leftover cash starting in September so there is money for this time of year. And I’m lucky I get paid on the 20th of each month so I will have money after the 25th.
There are no rules in my family. I’m an only child so it’s not too hard on the debit card. I do buy for my extended family, though. I’m really close to two of my cousins and my Mum’s brother and his wife, so I buy for them too.
What I'm buying
As mentioned earlier, I spend the most on my mum. She always likes getting her favourite perfume and she loves a good book too. My Dad likes a nice shirt and a good sports book. I like to get him a good brand, Howick or Ralph Lauren. So his gift usually lands just under the €100 mark too. For my cousins it’s about €25 each — something like earphones or a gift card. For my aunt and uncle it’s always something like wine or gin —around €30. I also get my best friend something too. I spend about €70-€80 on her and it’s usually something beauty-related. I have a good friend from college that I get something small for too — it’s always something to do with her home, such as wine glasses, rug etc. This year I got her a board game as she hosts a good few game nights. That was about €25.
For office Secret Santa the budget is €15. This year I got one of the lads in the office so I also got him a board game. I know his wife is really into them so at least it will be used. I love Christmas decorations. The tree in my apartment is only small so I get battery-powered lights from Dealz and Penneys. I also get bauble sets from there too. That costs about €30 altogether, including little Santas and snowmen.
The only child I buy for is my cousin’s baby — she’s about 20 months old. I would spend about €25 on her as she likes teddies and dolls.
I spend a fair bit on hair and beauty. I love getting a blow-dry. I usually get about three in total. One for the office Christmas party, one for the girls’ group night and, if I have two nights out in a row, I pop in so it saves time and hassle. I love Sugercubed — they are €26 a pop and it lasts a day or so. I only wax brow and lip and that costs €26 for the two in Carter Beauty. I try not to go anywhere else. I cut down on spray tans this year. The tan I use – Bronze Express — is my favourite and costs €15. I get my nails done too — fresh acrylics for €40. I love getting treatments done as it’s a time I can really switch off.
I usually get a new dress for the office Christmas party. I try not to spend more than €60. It’s not too hard with the likes of River Island or ASOS. I also usually pick some great skirts, tops and bodies on Boohoo and mix and match. I would drop about €100 on Boohoo, hoping for a discount code.
I don’t bother that much with post-Christmas Sales. The only thing I would go for is a pair of black boots. I try to get a pair of Steve Madden boots and I would spend €70-€80 max.
I usually go for Christmas lunch with work, which is about €20. Also, some after-work drinks would cost me about €30. With meeting different friend groups — college, school, old colleagues etc — I would spend €70 per night. Throw €10 on top of that if we head to somewhere like Coppers after. I prefer late bars such as the ones on Dawson Street since there is no entry fee and they are open until close to 3am.
Taxis are the main spend — usually around €15 a pop. I live very close to town so I would try to walk in to meet friends.
Overall I’ll spend just over €1000. I really don’t mind, it’s once a year and it’s great to see people you may not see that often. The way I see it, the more people I have to buy gifts for, means I’m lucky to have such a great number of people in my life. And if I have to be a little broke for a few weeks after, I get over it."
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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