We asked parents how much pocket money they give their children, after new research shows children are each getting, on average, £11.20 a week. But is that too much – or not enough? And what can pocket money teach children about saving and budgeting?
The Childwise Monitor report, which surveyed 2,000 kids, found that five- to 10-year-olds receive £6.40 per week on average and 11-16-year-olds say they get £16.30 per week. The report also found girls have less disposable income than boys, as boys receive £12.60 per week on average, while girls receive £9.80.
We talked to Clint Wilson, a dad-of-four and founder of nimbl, a card that helps children to manage money. Wilson argues that agreeing a figure for pocket money can be tricky: “It depends what parents expect their children to use the money for,” he said.
“If we are giving money each week just as treat to splurge in the sweetshop, or blow in the arcade, then perhaps we should only be giving a few pounds.
“However, if we expect children to save, or cover bigger purchases that some parents would ordinarily make, such as new trainers or clothes, £11.20 may not be enough.”
Many parents responding on HuffPost UK’s Facebook page said the average figure seemed very high. Some said they didn’t give their children pocket money at all, instead saving up for experiences. “My daughter is seven and doesn’t get any pocket money,” wrote Catherine Wetton. “She doesn’t need it and I can’t afford to give her money weekly. However we do save up for special things and she gets a treat when we can afford it.”
Mum Davina Taylor wrote: “We don’t do pocket money; our children get little treats every so often instead. We can’t afford it.”
Other parents on Facebook said pocket money in their household was only given in replacement for chores. Mum Martyna Dowdell wrote: “My son is five and earns 20p if he makes his bed up. He never does.”
And Emma Edwards said: “My 11-year-old can earn £5 a week as long as he does all his chores every day. No chores no money. My nine-year-old can earn £3 a week if she does hers all week.”
Lisa Humphrey said her 15-year-old son earns £5 a week if he completes his dedicated job of clearing up after the dog.
However another mum argued that pocket money should not be given for chores. Kirsty Judge wrote: “I do not pay pocket money for household chores suitable for a child’s age. They have to learn that housekeeping is not a job, it is a way of life. Any extras, I decide the amount dependent on the type and size of the job but give no more than a couple of pounds usually.”
Dad-of-four Wilson doesn’t believe £11 is too much. His younger daughters are too little for pocket money, but he gives his two elder daughters £10 a week each, he said. However, he refers to it as “allowance” over “pocket money”.
“This helps reinforce our lessons around saving, encouraging our daughters to ensure they ‘allow’ this money to stretch to what they need,” he told HuffPost UK. “Ultimately, £10 is what we consider affordable. We noticed our daughters were spending around £5 a week and so we wanted to ensure that they had a surplus they could save or put towards more expensive items.
“It has allowed us to get them more involved in buying items they might need for school or sports, which is really helping them learn how to budget and not just see money as a treat.”
How much pocket money do you give your children? Get involved in the conversation by commenting on Facebook.