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Can you save money by doing the Christmas food shop in the North?

The euro is down against the pound, but there are still other factors to consider.

Image: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

WITH THE EURO down against sterling, doing a big Christmas shop in the North isn’t as appealing as it once was.

Some people will still make the journey though, especially is you live in one of the border counties. 

While the exchange rate makes a big difference, in the past a difference in the pricings in the UK and Ireland has been noted. 

shutterstock_334603307 Source: Shutterstock/Brent Hofacker

To see if there is still any value in making the trip, we’ve decided to take at a Christmas shopping basket and compare what you’d pay in the North compared to what you’d pay in the Republic.

Identical or near identical products from supermarket Tesco have been compared.

The following list has been sourced from items TheJournal.ie staff consider Christmas essentials and is by no means comprehensive.

How it is up North… 

Food 

  • Tesco Brussels Sprouts, 500g – £0.39 
  • Tesco Finest Free-Range Bronze Whole Turkey – £7 per kg 
  • Tesco unsmoked ham – £5.56 per kg 
  • Tesco smoked salmon slices, 100g – £2.50 
  • Tesco finest cheese selection, 480g – £6 (down from £8) 
  • Jacobs cream crackers 200g – £0.89 

shutterstock_162788168 Source: Shutterstock/Brent Hofacker

  • Hovis wholemeal bread 800g – £0.89
  • Pringles sour cream and onion, 190g – £1 (down from £2.48) 
  • Mr Kipling mince pies 6 pack – £1.50 
  • Mcvitie’s Victoria, 650g – £3.50   
  • Quality Street, 756g – £4
  • Roses, 729g – £4 
  • Mint Viennetta ice cream dessert – £1 
  • Tesco Top Iced Fruit Cake, 907g – £5 
  • Askeys six pack of brandy snap baskets – £1.74 
  • Tesco large cooked and peeled prawns, 340g – £4.50 

Drinks

  • Yellow Tail Shiraz, 75cl – £5 
  • Blossom Hill California White – £4.90
  • Jameson, 70cl – £18 
  • Baileys Original, 1L – £16  

Total food: £49.47  

Total drink: £43.90

Overall total: £93.37

And how it is down South…

Food 

  • Tesco Brussels Sprouts, 500g – €0.49
  • Tesco Finest Free-Range Bronze Whole Turkey – €10 a kg  
  • Tesco unsmoked ham – €3.20 per kg 
  • Tesco smoked salmon slices, 100g – €1.65 
  • Tesco finest cheese selection, 480g – €8
  • Jacobs cream crackers 200g – €1.35
  • Hovis wholemeal bread 800g – €1.50

Cadbury Roses Source: Daniel Law/PA Wire

  • Pringles sour cream and onion, 190g – €1.50 (special offer) 
  • Mr Kipling mince pies 6 pack – €2 
  • Mcvitie’s Victoria, 650g – £3.50 
  • Quality Street, 756g – €4.99
  • Roses, 729g – €4.99
  • Mint Viennetta ice cream dessert – €1.44 
  • Kathleenbrennans Porter Fruit Cake, 1.1kg – €4.99
  • Askeys six pack of brandy snap baskets – €3.19   
  • Tesco large cooked and peeled prawns, 340g – €4.50  

Drink 

  • Yellow Tail Shiraz, 75cl – €10
  • Blossom Hill California White – €9 
  • Jameson, 70cl – €23 
  • Baileys Original, 1L – €24  

Food: €57.29  

Drink: €66 

Overall total: €123.29

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What does this tell us?

Comparing these two lists there is almost no difference between shopping on either side of the border when the exchange rate is taken into account.

The £93.37 you would be spending in Northern Ireland works out at just under €130, around €5 more expensive than what you would pay in the Republic.

shutterstock_56874346 Source: Shutterstock/Kzenon

Food in Northern Ireland came out as noticeably more expensive, with all of the items together costing around €10 more.

When it comes to alcohol Northern Ireland fares as being a bit cheaper, with the four bottles coming in at around €10 less than what you would pay in the Republic.

Worth the journey then? 

By the looks of things, probably not.

This is based only on this comparison though, and the difference in other products or other supermarkets might be completely different.

And, you know – some people just like a day out.

Will you be doing any food shopping in Northern Ireland this Christmas? Have we missed any essential items off of our shopping list? Tell us in the comments. 

Read: Almost nobody is border-hopping for their Christmas shopping

Also: 9 anxieties every Irish person experiences during Christmas party season

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