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Lieke Braadbaart

Online Writer
Published: 19/06/2017

After this weekend's Father's Day celebrations, you may be feeling pretty good about the amount of attention you've just given your dad, but when you crunch the numbers, it turns out that dads get £367 less in gifts over the course of a year than mums.

The gift gap

Overall, adults spend an average of £1,419 each year to show their parents their appreciation, research from has revealed. Of this total, £893 goes to their mum, while a lesser £526 goes to dad.

But where does it go exactly? Mum can expect £259 in unprompted gifts throughout the year, £76 in Mother's Day presents, £199 for Christmas and £67 on her birthday. Additionally, £69 goes to treating mum to dinner and £122 gets spent on taking her on holiday, while £101 is spent helping with random errands and odd jobs around the house.

Dad, meanwhile, can expect £174 in spontaneous gifts, £32 worth of Father's Day presents, £73 for Christmas and £65 on his birthday. He also gets treated to £53 in dinner expenses, £83 for a holiday together, and £46 gets spent on helping dad with errands and such. So, while the number of gifts and special treats might be the same, the value of those expressions of love is less when it comes to dad.

This gap might have something to do with why 94% of adult children are happy to spend such a large amount of money on their parents, with 84% simply thinking it is a nice thing to do but 54% wanting to show gratitude for all their parents have done in raising them. Since the majority of child-raising is still done by mothers, these kids might feel their mum deserves a bit extra for all her trouble.

Spending peak

The survey further showed that only 10% are treating their parents purely because they are wealthier, with spending habits instead being more determined by age. As 44% of respondents believe that children should start paying for dinner instead of their parents when they are in their 20s, it's maybe not surprising to find that spending peaks during that age range.

Indeed, children in their 30s and 40s spend a lot less, despite incomes generally increasing over the years. The reason for this might be that they then have children of their own to spend on, with Natasha Rachel Smith, consumer affairs editor at, pointing out that "when people become a part of the sandwich generation, faced with the cost of bringing up their own family while also supporting their parents, finances can become very stretched."

It's not surprising then that spending on parents increases again when children reach their 50s, with their own children old enough by that time to start treating them, and so the circle continues.

Spending while saving

But just because it's good to spend money on your parents, it doesn't mean you can't get something out of it yourself, too. If you splurge on your parents using a cashback credit card, you could earn enough over the course of a year to treat yourself to a little something. Just make sure that you pay off the money on the credit card as soon as possible, otherwise you might lose more in interest payments than you could ever gain in cashback.

Another way to knock a bit off that £1,419 spend without treating your parents less is by being savvy with vouchers and discount codes. As Natasha says: "When it comes to treating parents, birthdays and Christmas, shopping around for the best deals and earning cashback where possible allows for costs to be reduced while also showing your appreciation."


Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time. Links to third parties on this page are paid for by the third party. You can find out more about the individual products by visiting their site. will receive a small payment if you use their services after you click through to their site. All information is subject to change without notice. Please check all terms before making any decisions. This information is intended solely to provide guidance and is not financial advice. Moneyfacts will not be liable for any loss arising from your use or reliance on this information. If you are in any doubt, Moneyfacts recommends you obtain independent financial advice.

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