Annual poll shows six in ten parents raid their children's piggy banks to cover costs

Parents are plundering children's '˜piggy banks' to the tune of nearly £50 a year, according to an annual poll that shows a significant rise in the amount borrowed by mum and dad.

Parents are plundering childrens piggy banks to the tune of nearly £50 a year, according to the survey.
Parents are plundering childrens piggy banks to the tune of nearly £50 a year, according to the survey.

The Nationwide Financial Planning survey into ‘piggy bank raiding’ quizzed 2,000 parents of children between four and 16. It shows three in five (60 per cent) admit taking money from their offspring – a 14 per cent increase on last year’s study.

According to the Society’s poll, the average amount taken by parents over a 12 month period is £46.20 – a sharp rise of 115 per cent on the £21.41 indicated last year – while one in five (20 per cent) admit to pilfering £60 or more annually. Just over a fifth (21 per cent) admit to raiding the piggy bank twice or more times a month. And when it comes to the parental divide, dads (£51.12 per annum) take more than mums (£44.52).

The money is used for: Paying the school lunch money (32 per cent), needing loose change for parking (29 per cent) and covering school trips (24 per cent) are the primary reasons parents need to dip into the ‘Bank of Child’. Other reasons include donating to school charity days (21 per cent) and paying for clubs and societies (20 per cent).

In terms of mum and dad, it’s women who need the cash for school charity days (23 per cent v 16 per cent for men), school lunch money (33 per cent v 30 per cent for men) and school trips (24 per cent v 20 per cent for men). Men, on the other hand, will take money to pay a bill (16 per cent v 12 per cent for women), buy Christmas presents (14 per cent v 10 per cent for women) and to cover any doorstep charity requests (10 per cent v 7 per cent for women). However, both mum and dad are prone to raiding their children’s piggy banks to get a takeaway (12 per cent of men and 10 per cent of women).

While the reason for borrowing money may be genuine, three quarters (76 per cent) of parents feel some sort of guilt, with a third (33 per cent) admitting they feel bad each time they do it.

Children aren’t oblivious to this parental piggy bank raiding, however, as around two in five (39 per cent) parents admit their children had noticed the money had gone missing – the same percentage as in 2016’s survey.

More than a third (34 per cent) parents say they don’t always pay the money back and it’s dads who are the biggest culprits, with 43 per cent admitting to this versus just 30 per cent of mums.