Big Events, Small Costs

Big events Small Costs

There are few of us who don’t look forward to big events, (communions, confirmations, weddings, birthdays etc).

But how many of us can honestly say we plan ahead adequately for the financial toll they can take?

If you find yourself struggling each time one of these events arises, MABS (Money Advice and Budgeting Service) have some sound and helpful advice. “Preparation is the key” Lorraine Waters, of MABS Lombard Street branch, tells NewsFour, “Make a list early in the year of what you need to buy for all the big occasions ahead that year.”

For events centred round children, it is easy to forget to factor in the costs of the adults in attendance. Think of how many family members you expect to attend and work out a budget for food and alcohol etc. Will guests be bringing their own food and drink? Do you need to purchase gifts or new clothes for the occasion? “Add up the total cost of what you need to buy and ask yourself – can I afford it? If not, then think again” is Lorraine’s advice. “Focus on your budget – it’s often possible to trim things back without making the event less enjoyable.” You may need to work on your budget a few times until you find a figure you’re financially comfortable working with.

Lorraine warns against borrowing to pay for events. “You will still need to pay this back,” she says. Should you find yourself forced to borrow, Lorraine advises you to repay the debt as soon as possible. This will allow you more breathing space to prepare for the next big event.

Being well prepared will allow you to take advantage of sales and reductions in stores. A winter outfit may be greatly reduced during the summer, for example, but could be used for occasions later in the year. Do you even need new outfits? There may well be dresses or suits in your family which could be used.

The internet can often be a source for bargains, offering items at a more competitive price than what’s in stores. Irish websites like and can be a great source for second-hand items.

Recently, the government announced an amendment to the ‘Exceptional Needs Payment Scheme’. Previously, a maximum payment of €110 was available to assist with religious occasions but this provision will cease in 2013. If you had planned to avail of this service to help cover the costs of a communion or confirmation this year, you will need to take another look at your budget.

As these are communal events, the financial burden can often be shared. If family, friends or neighbours are also taking part in such occasions, communication can cut down costs. Get together and pool your resources by working out a joint budget.

Big occasions should always be enjoyed and, with careful financial planning, they’ll leave lasting memories for all the right reasons.
For more information, visit or give them a call on 0761 072000

By Eric Hillis