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Pocket money increases outpace income rises

Kit Klarenberg
Written By:
Kit Klarenberg

The amount of pocket money given to children has increased fourfold in the last three decades without a corresponding increase in wages.

The average pocket money given to 8-15 year olds has increased by 448 per cent since 1987, despite average parents’ incomes increasing by 193 per cent – a net difference of 255 per cent, according to the Halifax Annual Pocket Money survey.

The figures suggest in the last year, wages have risen by 2 per cent on average, while pocket money has fallen by 2.4 per cent. The current average weekly pocket money is £6.20.

Children enjoyed the largest pocket money increases in 2003, with an average year-on-year increase of 106 per cent. Pocket money continued to climb until 2005, reaching an all-time peak of £8.37, before falling due to the economic downturn.

Free money or “wages”?

The findings show the number of children expected to ‘work’ for their pocket money, by doing household errands, has reduced in the past 12 months, with 59 per cent of kids now expected to work in return for their allowance, compared to 65 per cent last year.

Bedroom tidying remains the most common task children have to do, with 64 per cent of children who are expected to do chores undertaking this job. This is followed by washing up (35 per cent), cleaning (35 per cent) and vacuuming (30 per cent). Some children (26 per cent) even consider homework to be a chore worthy of recompense.

Gender divide

Fewer girls do chores in return for their weekly cash than boys. In 2014, there was little difference, with 66 per cent of boys and 65 per cent of girls expected to do work around the house. This year, the gap has widened to 64 per cent of boys and 53 per cent of girls.

Children aged 11 are most likely to have to complete chores in return for their pocket money, with 64 per cent undertaking these tasks. Eight year olds are the least likely, with 50 per cent expected to work in return for their allowance.

Giles Martin, head of savings at Halifax, said: “Our research shows most parents are clearly very generous when it comes to how much pocket money they give their children, having given higher percentage increases, on average, than they’ve seen in their own pay packets for many years.

“It’s surprising to see that in the last year, the number of parents who ask their children to do chores in return for their pocket money has decreased. Earning money can help children understand its value as well as giving them the opportunity to build strong savings habits from a young age.”