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Lieke Braadbaart

Online Writer
Published: 15/02/2018
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Have you ever wondered what the teenager in your life is spending their birthday money or weekly allowance on? Well, the Office for National Statistics has the answer, with newly released spending data granting us a peek into the spending habits of the UK's seven to 15-year-olds.

Top spenders

According to their figures, which look at the 2015 to 2017 financial years, those between seven and 15 spent an average of £12.40 per week, ranging from £7.40 among seven-year-olds to £25 among those who are 15. The largest expense by far across the age range was clothes and shoes, on which an average of £1.77 was spent per week. This was followed by £0.98 spent on school dinners and £0.91 on soft drinks.

Other expenses included eating out, games, toys, hobbies and computer-related purchases. Parents may be pleasantly surprised to find that only £0.54 of the kids' weekly spending went to sweets, with less than half (48%) of all children spending money on chocolate and such. The data also made the slightly rebellious finding that 56% of 7-to-15 year-olds bought at least one soft drink in a two-week period and mainly drank them while away from home.

This percentage increased with age, as 76% of those aged 13 to 15 bought soft drinks, compared with 38% of seven-to-nine year-olds. The least money was spent on toiletries, at £0.41 per week, but this also saw an interesting age divergence, as teenage girls upped their cosmetics spending considerably. As a result of this and other expenses, teenage girls ended up spending an average of £2.80 a week more than boys overall, with £1.70 per week spent on cosmetics by 13-to-15 year-old girls, compared to the less than 10p spent by boys of all ages.

Spend, or save?

One thing that's notably missing from children's spending patterns is a savings account. While it may be hard to get a child to see the value of saving for later life, the fact that some kids managed to save up for expensive purchases such as a bike, mobile phone or even their own computer, according to the data, suggests that they do have the ability to not spend everything they get.

So, why not introduce the teenager in your life to a Junior ISA or children's account? This would allow them to save up for things like expensive toys with the help of interest – it's never too early to teach your kids about the benefits of saving and interest.


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