Keeping up with the Jones's kids costs parents £900 a year

Parents who cave in to pressure from their children to buy them the latest 'must have' item so they can keep up with their peers estimate this adds nearly £900 to their annual household spending typically, a survey has found.

Wednesday, 3rd August 2016, 11:53 am
Updated Wednesday, 3rd August 2016, 12:54 pm

Nearly half of parents in Yorkshire say they feel “under pressure” to buy their children expensive items, invest in hobbies or throw big parties so they can have the same as their children’s friends and acquaintances.

One money expert suggested the findings are a reflection of how advertising and social media have helped a “keeping up with the Joneses” mindset to rub off on to the younger generation.

Technology such as phones and tablets is the main driver of pressure on parents, with 44% of parents feeling under pressure to buy their children the latest gadgets, the research among more than 2,000 people found.

Some 43% of parents feel under pressure to buy their child particular items of clothing, while 30% feel under pressure to splash out on membership of a society or club, such as a football club.

Meanwhile, 27% of parents also feel under pressure to throw lavish children’s parties or buy expensive gifts. Parents in London were the most likely to feel pressured by their children into buying items so they could keep up with their children’s friends, with 70% saying this happened.

Parents in the South West of England were the least likely to feel under pressure, with only 28% feeling the strain. In Wales, more than half (52%) of parents feel under peer pressure, while in Scotland and Northern Ireland 43% and 36% of parents feel this way respectively.

Among those who feel this type of pressure, parents estimated this added £865 to the whole family’s spending per year on average. The research was compiled for Sainsbury’s Bank’s Family Finance report, authored by Jasmine Birtles, founder of website MoneyMagpie.

Ms Birtles suggested parents should discuss with their children from an early age what they can afford.

Andrew Hagger, founder of said: “Incessant marketing of the latest ‘must-have’ gadgets on TV, the internet and social media has helped fuel a keeping up with the Joneses mindset which has rubbed off on to the younger generation.”

He added: “Children should be encouraged to understand the value of money at an early age as well as being taught some basic budgeting skills - and that’s down to both schools and parents.

“Peer pressure can be a big issue for children as well as a financial one for their parents, so it’s a key issue for the whole family to sit down and address as a unit.”

Here are the percentages of parents who feel under pressure from their children to buy or provide particular items or events, according to the research from Sainsbury’s Bank. Parents could pick more than one item:

• Technology such as mobile phones and tablets, 44%

• Fashionable clothing, 43%

• School trips and excursions, 42%

• Membership to clubs and societies such as football clubs, 30%

• Expensive children’s parties or birthday gifts, 27%

• A memorable school prom, 20%

• Expensive holidays, 19%