The UK recently dropped into a double dip recession, showing there are further pressures on everyone’s finances and spending power. But are the UK’s kids in turn feeling the pinch in the pocket money stakes?
It would seem not. We asked Mumsnetters this month about pocket money, whether they give it to their kids, how much they give, whether their children have to earn their money and what they tend to spend it on.
Every parent we spoke to either gave their children pocket money, or, if they were very young, they planned to give them pocket money at some point in the future.
It seems that the average age to start giving pocket money to children is around the age of four or five, when they start school. Cory explains: “We started at the start of year one. 50p per week, rising every year by five to ten pence, to be spent freely.”
Whatevertheweather adds: “We started giving our DD [darling daughter] £1 pocket money each week when she turned five in March.”
On average, the parents involved in our research give each child £2.88 per week. Over a third of the children (35 per cent) fell into the £1.01 to £2 bracket, with 17 per cent each in the £0.01 to £1 and the £2.01 to £3, meaning that the majority (69 per cent) of the children received £3 or under per week.
A lucky 13 per cent are given £6.01 to £7, four per cent each get either £3.01 to £4 or £5.01 to £6 and ten per cent receive £4.01 to £5.
Feetheart explains how she decides on the amount: “We started giving pocket money to our DD when she started in reception as I couldn’t bear the requests to go to the charity shop opposite school every day. She got £1 to start with which went up 20p on every birthday – now nine so gets £1.80.”
Most of the respondents were fairly liberal with what the children could spend their pocket money on. Providing the purchase is age-appropriate, none of the Mumsnetters we spoke to restricted their children’s purchases, but many encourage their kids to save.
HecateTrivia tells ToyNews: “They can spend it on whatever they like, but the rule is ‘spend a little save a little’. I try to ensure they understand the importance of a nest egg.”
So with little constraints on what they can spend their money on, what are the purchases of choice. The most common items mentioned were sweets, toys and magazines.
Tantrumsandballoons says: “My DD spends hers on all manner of girly stuff, perfume, hair stuff, or going out with friends. DS2 [darling son] gets £2-3 per week. He buys sweets or magazines.”
SuePurblybilt continues: “I pay for all her activities and she spends all of what she is allowed to spend on toys, usually second-hand so she can get tons of crap for the price.”
What did split opinion among the Mumsnetters we spoke to, was whether children should have to do chores to earn their pocket money. 65 per cent said they didn’t ask their kids to earn their money.
Iseenodust comments: “No chores related to pocket money but expected to help load/empty dishwasher and wash car.”
However, 35 per cent of the respondents said they did ask for chores to be done in return for pocket money. Adversecamber explains: “Pocket money for chores here. I must admit I would never just give pocket money, he has to earn it. Accusations of child slave labour from his sometimes. If you consider a chore such as emptying the dishwasher akin to that, then you would agree with him.
“He is 11. I always let him have the quid from the shopping trolley as he helps with the bags. It means the amount he earns is really up to him. The most he has had is about £3. He is given the choice by the way.”
Perhaps the generosity of all of these parents are pushing sales of collectables and blind bag toys as the economic downturn continues and belts are constantly being tightened.
Mum knows best
What Mumsnet users had to say about pocket money...
"DD got £2 per week from age six, linked to being helpful and well mannered. Age 7 it went to £3 per week linked to being helpful, well mannered and keeping her bedroom tidy. Don’t think she’s had any money since.
"Restrictions are only that they can’t try to get anything that is not age appropriate. Other than that, it’s their money and their choice. They can buy what they like but they cannot whinge at me that they don’t like what they bought. I don’t want to hear it. Learn from it and think more carefully in future.
"DS spends his on football magazines. DD is hoarding hers."
"They spend it on whatever they want, but because there are no shops in walking distance it doesn’t tend to be comics/sweets, but rather is saved up for bigger things. He did request pocket money for chores, which made me nearly collapse. I don’t remember being paid a thing when I was a kid to wash dishes etc."
"They love going to the bank during the holidays to withdraw some cash and they are actually pretty good at saving up for things they want. They’re ten and 11 and have had this system for about three years.
DS [darling son] seven gets £1 per week. Usually he spends half on sweets in the village shop at the weekend and saves half. Has just bought himself a game for his DS. "
"Not yet, DDs are 3.5 and 4.5. Not sure when we might start, as they’re quite close in age, I think we’ll probably wait until DD2 is big enough to understand the concept. Once I start giving them money, I’d expect them to buy all sweets/ice creams/crappy magazines etc they want, but I wouldn’t restrict it I don’t think). Would probably give about £2 a week. I’d encourage them to save some, that’s one of the points in giving them it in the first place.
"Dishwasher, cleaning, hovering can all earn more money.
"5yo DD gets pocket money at random. I kind of pretend there is a system, but there really isn’t.
Not yet. My oldest is nearly four. I have thought about it but not got round to it really, and he may be a bit young, so maybe once he starts school next year. Might be handy in teaching them the value of money a bit more so he can save for what he wants rather than having to buy them everything and they don’t understand how much it adds up to (toy every time in the supermarket etc.) "