Despite a wider financial crunch in the U.K., British kids have reason to be cheerful with new data showing that their allowances — known as “pocket money” in Britain — outpacing both inflation and their parents’ wage increases over the past year.
Compared to a year ago, allowances have soared by an average of 10.69% — more than inflation, which was up 10.4% on an annual basis for the timeframe covered by NatWest Rooster Money’s pocket money index published Thursday.
On average, kids in the U.K. now get £333.84 ($415.08) of pocket money a year, which is £32.24 more than in the previous surveyed time period. On a weekly basis, the average is now £6.42, which is around $8, £0.62 higher than a year earlier.
Six-year-olds saw the biggest year-on-year increase, more than triple that of inflation, at 34.5%. They now get £3.94 a week, over a pound more than the previous £2.93 figure.
Fifteen-year-olds were the only ones who saw a decrease of pocket money, by £0.52 to £9.72 a week. Those who were just a year older, however, took home the biggest amount of money — 16-year-olds received £12.75 a week, just over the £12.59 average for 17-year-olds.
But the cost-of-living crisis is impacting pocket money, Will Carmichael, CEO and co-founder of NatWest Rooster Money, points out.
“Household budgets are being stretched like never before, and we’ve seen that fewer kids are getting regular weekly pocket money compared to 2021/22,” he said in the report, adding that many families are however trying to prevent kids from being affected by rising prices.
The annual NatWest Rooster Money Pocket Money Index is based on data from 126,122 children in the U.K. which was collected between March 2022 and February 2023. “Pocket money” is defined as the sum of regular allowances and add-ons from things like birthdays, the tooth fairy, good grades and doing chores.
Add-ons to pocket money
Birthdays bring the biggest boost with an average of £47.01, the report found, with good grades on exams or reports coming in second at £15.98, which is around £1 less than in the previous year. Among all subjects, good math grades will give kids the biggest top up to their pocket money.
Other common reasons parents top up their kids’ allowance are good behavior, doing their homework, reading and the tooth fairy — which, however, only adds an average of £3.24 to kids’ income.
When it comes to chores, financial rewards for the five most popular tasks range from £2.46 for cleaning the car to £0.64 for helping with gardening.
On top of pocket money, kids are also earning themselves extra cash, the report found. Reselling their clothes and toys brought them the biggest boost — at an average of £26.26 on average. Babysitting came in second place, with the amount of money earned from it rising by a notable 24%, while tutoring came third.
Saving and spending
Kids aren’t spending all of their money either — on average, they save 8% of their cash, or £27.94 each a year. Across all six- to 17-year-olds in the U.K., this would total just over £265 million, NatWest Rooster Money calculated.
“That’s enough to finance The LEGO Movie (and four sequels) or buy 80,547,985 Happy Meals,” the report said.
Happy Meal makers McDonald’s were also one of the places where kids like to spend their money, coming in fourth. Apple was one spot ahead, while the two top spots were taken up by U.K. supermarket chains Tesco and Co-op.
Another supermarket chain, Sainsbury’s rounds out the top five. Online spending on platforms including the PlayStation Network and Microsoft Xbox have declined — now in ninth and 10th place.
“Despite advances in things like gaming currencies, it’s clear that some things don’t change,” Carmichael said.
“Kids are still flocking to the shops and newsagents, presumably to pick up the classic sweets, drinks and snacks, just as many of us will remember doing when we were children!”