Where are you planning to do your Christmas shopping? It seems that Irish consumers may once again be planning to flock to Northern Ireland because of VAT increases announced as part of the Budget. However, when you add in the exchange rate and the cost of petrol will you really save money by heading north and are there other ways to save on your Christmas shopping?
Is the price right?
Before travelling to Northern Ireland, consider the costs of travelling first and foremost. The VAT rise will increase petrol costs and a tank of petrol could typically cost around €7-€8 more. Meanwhile, a train from Dublin to Belfast will usually cost around €40 return for an adult ticket and around €20 for a child.
In addition, the price comparison from Northern Ireland compared to the Republic might not be as favourable as you think. Recently RTE carried out a price comparison and found that in general the savings are small and so will only be worthwhile if you are planning to buy a large amount to offset your travel costs. What’s more is that many Irish retailers are offering sales and special offers on everything from electronics to clothes in an effort to encourage us to buy more so any cost differences with Northern Ireland can be further reduced – albeit they often have offers and price cut deals of their own.
Looking at some key electronic goods, RTE found that there were significant savings on items such as the Canon Powershot SX230 (saving €17.20); the Advent Vega Tablet 10” (saving €37.20) and the Philips Rotary Shaver (saving €12.38). However, many items were actually significantly more expensive in the north including the Apple Macbook Air 11” (€183.86 more expensive); Sony headphones (€4.74 more expensive); and the Apple iPad II (€78.24 more expensive).
The real key to savings
Anyone who really wants to save money on their Christmas shopping is well advised to look at internet prices. Ordering online has a number of benefits – not only is it convenient to order from home, but there are no travel costs; delivery is often free or comparatively inexpensive; and prices are generally cheaper online than they are in-store due to the savings that companies make on overheads.
By ordering online you also have the advantage of price comparison tools, such as that offered at Moneysaver.ie. This means that instead of trailing from shop to shop looking for the best price, you can compare the prices from numerous online retailers with one quick search to ensure you’re getting the best available deal. You could also potentially apply voucher codes to your purchases – numerous retailers offer Christmas voucher codes in a bid to attract your business. So rather than heading north this Christmas, why not pick up real savings in the comfort of your own home?