As the UK prepares for the festive season, research from the Money Advice Service reveals that 45% of parents1 say their children are more likely to pester them for money or to buy them things in the lead up to Christmas.
Pester power is the ability children have to convince their parents to buy something, by asking for something repeatedly2. A third of parents (33%) say pester power regularly gets the better of them, and worryingly, a third (33%) report that giving in to pester power has caused them to over-stretch their finances, meaning they’ve been overdrawn or taken on new lines of credit to pay for the extra expense.
Sarah Porretta, Director of Financial Capability at the Money Advice Service, commented:
“It can feel like there is a great deal of pressure to spend over Christmas, but it’s never worth putting yourself through stress and worry in the New Year or getting into debt you can’t manage.
“An effective way to manage your child’s expectations is to include them in the Christmas planning process. Our research shows that including children in the budgeting process teaches them the value of money, which helps resist pester power.
“And if you are worried about getting into debt over the festive season, don’t wait to seek out assistance. There are lots of free advice services across the UK to help you find advice in a way that’s best for you, which can be accessed via the Money Advice Service website.”
The Money Advice Service offers the following tips for families to reign in their spending this festive season:
It’s ok to say no
Remember that it’s perfectly okay to say no to your children when they ask for things. It’s important they know the difference between needs and wants. Just make sure you explain why – take this as an opportunity to teach them that we have money for certain items, but not always for sweets or toys.
Set a budget – then make a wishlist
When it comes to buying your children Christmas presents, set a budget you can afford. Then ask your children to make a wishlist based on items that fall within that budget – not only will this set their expectations, but it will also help them learn about the value of money.
Make a list before you go shopping
Involve your children in drawing up the Christmas shopping process. Giving them a little money and assigning responsibility for a small part of the Christmas shop can help them feel included and give them an important role to play come Christmas.
Get your children involved in the Christmas day planning
Task your children with helping you choose the food you’ll be serving on Christmas day by doing a taste test. Swap expensive food options for more affordable alternatives such as supermarket branded items. You would be surprised at how much money you can save – especially since you’ll often be unable to tell the difference in taste. Do a blind taste test with your kids and you might find you can swap to cheaper foods for the Christmas celebrations.
Seek advice if you’re worried about debt
The sooner you seek out debt advice, the better. Most people who have got debt advice have reported they feel less stressed or anxious and more in control of their life again. Our free debt advice locator tool on our website outlines services that are free, confidential and hold a standard accredited by the Money Advice Service.