Irish Catholic children receive almost $700 (€521) in gifts for their First Holy Communion, while parents shelled out almost $900 (€713) for their child’s big day in 2013.

Most children spent this money on video games - followed by toys and clothes, while 10 percent decided to save it.

The results come from a study by Ulster Bank, which show that the average cost of a child’s outfit for the day is  $217 (€163), a decrease on nine percent from last year.

Parents forked out almost €300 on the cost of the post-Communion party, down four percent, and entertainment costs like bouncy castles averaged at $91 (€69).

The study found that 88 percent of the 215 parents surveyed were in a position to pay for their child's First Holy Communion with their own savings. Five percent less parents took out a loan for the big day, compared to last year.

Ulster Bank spokesman Jim Ryan said: “Our research shows that Communicants are saving two-thirds of the money, which is less than last year’s Communicants, who saved three-quarters.

"A First Holy Communion usually presents children with an opportunity to save or spend a significant amount of money for the first time.

"Receiving such a large sum of money is an opportunity to instil the importance of saving from an early age and to start to equip children with the skills to deal with financial decisions."

On average, parents spent €713 on First Holy Communions this yearJim Tardio / Last Compass