Spending on children to drop in 2008 as parents struggle to make ends meet

Posted in: Research Last updated: 15 Feb 2008

Almost one in two parents with young children say they are struggling to make ends meet – and just over one in two will cut back on the amount they spend on their children in 2008.

With Government targets to halve child poverty by 2010 falling years behind schedule¹, new research from Engage Mutual Assurance suggests that fears of a recession in 2008 could further cut the amount of money parents spend on their children.

44 per cent of parents with children under 18 say that they are already struggling to make ends meet. Additionally, just over one in two parents say that they will have to cut back on spending on their children in 2008 as costs of living increase (56%).

More than one in five parents anticipate having less money to put towards their children’s clothes (24%), toys (26%) and savings (22%) in 2008.

Cut Backs Parents Anticipate to Spending on Children in 2008

   Cut Backs in 2008  %  Parents with children under 18
 1  The number of holidays I can take my children on  38%
 2  The number of day trips I can take my children on  29%
 3  The amount of toys I can buy my children  26%
 4  The amount I spend on my children's clothes 24% 
 5  The amount I pay into my children's savings accounts 22% 
 6  The amount I spend on my children's hobbies 17% 
 7  The amount of pocket money I give my children 15% 
 8  The amount I pay for school fees (i.e. my children will have to change school)  3%

As part of its ongoing 3GB research2, which examines the role that money has to play in family relationships, Engage Mutual Assurance questioned a GB representative sample of almost 2,000 adults on their family finances in 2008.

further findings

  • comfortable but still making cut backs: More than one in three of the 51% of parents who said they are currently comfortable with their financial situation, and able to give their children most of what they need, anticipate cutting back on the amount they will spend on their kids in 2008 (38%). This is the case for 79 per cent of parents who are already struggling to make ends meet.
  • older parents struggling most: Parents aged 45 to 54 are finding it hardest to give their children what they want or need – 49% say that they are struggling to make ends meet.
  • parents saving less in 2008: 22 per cent of parents with kids under 18 say they will save less for their children in 2008. Just 6 per cent of parents with children under 18 will save more for their children in the year ahead.
  • very few well-off: Just 2 per cent of parents with children under 18 consider themselves to be well-off and able to provide their children with everything they want or need.

Karl Elliott, 3GB spokesperson for engage Mutual Assurance said:

“With the increased cost of food, fuel and mortgages taking effect, our research shows that many parents anticipate finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet in the year ahead. However, we encourage parents to continue saving little and often for their children’s future even if it is just £5 each month.”

“Engage provides a number of simple and straight forward savings and investment schemes which can help parents to save for their children. Saving just £5 a month into a CTF makes saving affordable for everyone.”


  1. The Times, 29th October 2007,http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article2759859.ece
  2. 3GB is engage’s Three Generation Britain research index. Research was conducted by YouGov across a GB representative of 1,943 adults (including 487 parents with children under 18) between 18th January and 21st January 2008. The research explores the financial relationships of care between the generations and investigates shifts in traditional financial provision.
  3. engage Mutual Assurance can be contacted on 0800 169 4321 or by visitingwww.engagemutual.com

The information contained in this press release is intended solely for journalists and should not be relied upon by private investors or any other persons to make financial decisions.

notes to Editors:

  1. this research was undertaken by YouGov on behalf of engage Mutual Assurance. The survey was conducted between the 18th January and 21st January 2008 across a representative GB sample of 1,943, including 487 parents with children under 18.
  2. engage Mutual Assurance is a trading style of Homeowners Friendly Society (HFSL) and it’s wholly-owned subsidiary engage Mutual Funds Limited (EMFL).
  3. engage Mutual Funds Limited (EMFL) is a provider of the Child Trust Fund direct and in partnership with partners including Legal and General, ASDA and Debenhams stores.
  4. engage supports mutuality, friendly societies and the regional financial services industry through links with the Association of Mutual Insurers, the Association of Friendly Societies, Mutuo and Leeds Financial Services Initiative.
  5. established in 1980, Homeowners Friendly Society Limited (HFSL) is Registered and Incorporated under the Friendly Societies Act 1992, Reg.No.964F, it’s wholly owned subsidiary engage Mutual Funds Limited (eMFL) is Registered in England No 3224780. Both are authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA).
  6. Homeowners Friendly Society Limited’s FSA Register number is 110072 and engage Mutual Funds Limited’s FSA Register number is 181487. You can check this on the FSA’s Register by visiting the FSA’s website www.fsa.gov.uk/register or by contacting the FSA on 0845 606 1234