Mummy’s little helpers feel the pocket money pinch

We all know the economic downturn has hit our wallets – but it has also hit children’s piggy banks, according to a report from Tesco Bank.  The national pocket money budget currently stands at around £40 million per week*, despite the fact that one in four parents (24%) has reduced the amount of pocket money they give to their children following the recession.

The report, entitled “Every Little Helpers” and the first in the Tesco Bank “Family Matters”  series, reveals that the majority of parents (71%) across the UK expect help around the house from their children (aged 4-15 years old) in return for pocket money. The most generous parents can be found in London, giving children £7.81 per week in return for household chores, whilst the UK average is £5.80.

Today’s mums and dads expect children to complete chores ranging from tidying their own rooms to mowing the lawn in return for cash.

Gender pay gap starts at an early age

The report also suggests that gender differences start early on in life. Boys are more than twice as likely as girls to receive between £16 and £20 a week but they are also more likely to spend their money within days. While girls are streets ahead when it comes to saving, over a third of all children (38%) regularly save-up their hard earned cash for something they really want.

Dr Elizabeth Kilbey, a leading child psychologist working closely with Tesco Bank on the research, says: “It’s great to see so many parents across the country rewarding and reinforcing children’s good behaviour with pocket money they can then choose to spend or save. You can never start financial education early enough in a child’s life and this approach is by far the best way to teach children good habits.”

The majority of parents surveyed (65%) said they have had the financial equivalent of the birds and bees conversation with their children; where money comes from and what it’s for. “Financial knowledge is best learnt from a young age.  While parents can make it fun, money is not a joke and children should understand this clearly.  Parents work hard to provide things for the children.  It’s brilliant to see parents across the UK talking to their children about this,” Dr Elizabeth Kilbey added.

Parents helping kids onto savings ladder

Parents are actively helping their children onto the savings ladder and 35% of children under 16 now hold their own savings account. However, over half (54%) of the children in the UK are traditionalists, preferring to keep their coins and notes stashed safely away in a piggy bank.

Tesco Bank’s “Every Little Helpers”  report explores children’s spending and saving habits and how they can be taught the value of money through something as simple as regular pocket money.

David McCreadie, Banking Commercial Director at Tesco Bank, said: “We commissioned this research to understand the changing dynamics of family spending and this report has provided us with interesting findings. It’s great to see parents talking to children about money and teaching them savings habits at an early age through pocket money.”

The report is available now for parents to download free at It contains help and advice from Dr Elizabeth Kilbey for parents on how to talk to their children about money and teach them about spending and saving responsibly.

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