BY JOHN ELLIS, FINANCIAL ADVISOR
Ireland is a favourite destination among expats, according to the website www.internationalcitizens.com. It’s a friendly country with an excellent educational system and a high standard of living. But they warn, if you are considering moving to Ireland to live, the cost of living should be a primary consideration.
We recognise and probably agree that Ireland is an expensive place to live. According to the economist Jim Power, in a new report for the Champion Green ‘Support Local’ initiative, there is a strong sense in Ireland that this cost-of-living squeeze is an Irish phenomenon alone.
This perception is actually not true, as nearly every country in the developed world was, and is, grappling with the highest rates of inflation in decades with costs continuing to rise globally and now exacerbated by the Russian Ukrainian war.
As discussed in previous articles, pent-up demand due to Covid restrictions rebounded strongly late last year but unfortunately impacted supply, with consumer prices increasing by 5.5%, the highest since 2001.
Its normal when prices rise to look around for better deals with on-line and cross-border shopping being two favourites. But we need to remember that these same factors are at play in most developed economies, so buying online does not equate to lower prices, especially when VAT and customs duties have to be considered.
Therefore, it is important that Irish consumers who have shopped online, still shop with local retailers online, or in person, as far as possible as it is vital Irish consumers bear in mind “the multiplier effect of supporting local, helping support Irish jobs and regional economic and social vibrancy”.
For instance, I bought a non-fiction hardback book recently in a local bookshop. The jacket price was €32.50 but knocked back to €23.50. I’m enjoying the read but it has turned slightly sour when I see the same on Amazon for €9!
A missed opportunity? – maybe for me, in the short term, but it’s important that you and I recognise and address each online purchase with an overseas vendor as an outflow of money from the Irish economy which undermines the competitiveness of Irish businesses.
Jim Power says: “Every euro spent in the domestic economy is paid out in wages and profits, which are taxed, so, in turn, they get re-circulated in the economy. Every euro results in an injection of at least €2.50 into the local economy. This is particularly important as we try to rebuild social services like healthcare and education after the damage caused by the pandemic restrictions.”
Yes, cost-of-living increases are a real threat to the recovery of Kilkenny and all local economies especially when so many shoppers have been driven online due to Covid. But now we must remember as pre-covid normality returns jobs and prosperity relies more than ever on our actual local spending patterns.
To help with this, Champion Green, a national movement with representation from government, industry, business, and the public together are encouraging people to support each other and drive the recovery of our communities and economy after the Covid crisis.
Marian O’Gorman, Champion Green founder, says: “By supporting local businesses, our spend makes them stronger and able to compete. Lower prices are possible when stores or manufacturers have more volume. So, each and every shopper in Ireland can help push down the cost of living by keeping money in circulation locally.”
If you want to become involved download the Champion Green Rewards App. This App brings digital loyalty solutions to more businesses in Ireland. Champion Green is partnering with Visa and LoyalBe offering a digital product which they believe is more efficient that the usual paper or card-based loyalty schemes.
It enables the retailers to see in real time how their customers are actually engaging with their company, making it easier for business owners to adapt to their customers behaviour. Likewise the customer once signed up starts earning rewards every time they pay with Visa.
Why not do your bit as many local businesses have already signed up?