Money Savvy Kids

Could UK youngsters be the silver lining to the nation’s recession cloud?

New research from TK Maxx reveals that the failing economy has actually helped parents nurture a new generation of highly savvy, money conscious young shoppers. The research saw parents of primary school children surveyed and discovered that many money-conscious children now hold their own purse strings when it comes to shopping. Over half (51 per cent) spend, on average, around £365 a year on clothes alone.

But far from thoughtlessly splashing their cash, nearly two thirds (60 per cent) of 5-11 year olds meticulously save up their pocket money and cash received from relatives for Christmas and birthdays, stocking up their piggy banks so they can support their personal purchases.

Born out of the recession these children have grown up with an eye for a deal, using knowledge and financial know-how garnered from their parents to ensure they spend their money wisely.

Most Mums and Dads (71 per cent) believe they have an obligation to the younger generation and the future economy to instil these values in their offspring.

It’s therefore no surprise 60 per cent of parents agree their kids have a greater awareness of money than they did when they were young, with over half (55 per cent) boasting that their children are exceptional bargain hunters.

According to the TK Maxx Young Shoppers study these good money morals are being put into practice by UK kids, as follows:

  • More than one in two (55 per cent) 5-11 year olds know how to spot a deal.
  •  Over two-thirds (68 per cent) of children carefully check the price on labels before making a decision
  • Over half of primary school kids (52 per cent) go as far as adding up the cost of their shopping trip
  •  43 per cent of kids replace items with something cheaper if they go over budget

In response, kids are enjoying a newfound responsibility, independence and opportunity to shape their own style with a quarter (25 per cent) as young as five being the key decision maker when buying their clothes.


Many parents (84 percent) use shopping trips as an opportunity to teach their children basic numeracy skills, asking them to add up and subtract the cost of their purchases and work out discounts.

They also try to instil appreciation and good spending habits in their young ones by:

  • Communicating that some item(s) are too expensive (82 per cent)
  • Teaching their kids to appreciate what they’ve been bought by saying ‘thank you’ (70 per cent)
  • Telling them the price of items before buying them (64 per cent)
  • Ensuring their kids earn their purchases through carrying out chores (36 per cent)
  •  Limiting their child to a number of items per shopping trip (27 per cent)

A TK Maxx spokesperson, said: "It’s interesting that no matter what age we are, as a nation we have developed a far more sophisticated and savvy approach to shopping. Not only are the younger generation confident in establishing their own style, the research also shows they have a role in helping shape our future economy whilst learning how to save and manage their money from an early age.”

Mrs Moneypenny

In a live experiment conducted at a TK Maxx store, a group of children were each given £30 vouchers to spend in-store on clothing and accessories. The results showed the children repeatedly seeking out the best and most attractive fashion deals to ensure they got more bang for their buck.

Mrs Moneypenny, presenter of Channel 4’s SuperScrimpers, who hosted the experiment said, “Given the current economic climate it is refreshing to see that parents are instilling such good money values in their children, from as early as five years old. The tactics used to teach kids bargain hunting techniques makes learning and shopping fun whilst ensuring they get more for their money, making any budget go a long way.”

Mrs Moneypenny’s top tips for money-savvy kids:

  • Financial education should begin as soon as a child can count so before they even start school. It is never too early; teach them to recognise coins and ask for the price of things. Playing shop is an excellent way of doing this.
  • Saving is a vital skill to learn. Deferred gratification – saving up for something rather than buying it on credit – is the single most useful skill parents can teach their children. Open a savings account with a physical book to encourage them to watch it grow.
  • Paying children for tasks is a good way to teach them the value of money.  
  • Saying ‘thank you’ is something which everyone needs to learn. At every age

Do you have money savvy kids? Do you use shopping as an opportunity to teach your children numeracy skills?  Let us know by leaving a comment below.

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    We value your opinion. Here are some of our readers thoughts on this item.

    • Julia, KidsTravel2
    • Thursday 13 September 2012 1:08 PM
    • Trying to teach my 7 year old at the moment. Think its so important to be money savvy. Recently we had a clear out of his room and did a car boot sale. It was a double whammy win win (is that a phrase?) as it motivated him to clear out his clutter and I let him keep whatever he made to put towards an item he had been after for a while. He felt proud when he sold his toys, got feedback if he was asking too much and it gave him a much better understanding and appreciation of money.

    • dadzclub HQ
    • Thursday 20 September 2012 10:04 AM
    • Thanks Julia. Double whammy win win! Love it.

      Really great comment.

    • Kate theparentconsultancy
    • Friday 01 March 2013 1:20 PM
    • So important to teach your child to be money savvy, our children can save up for days out holidays etc so they can buy their own ice creams or souvenirs they have jobs to do each day and will get pocket money each week if the tasks a have been completed. My daughter recently received a toys R us voucher as she didn't want anything decided she could sell it to me!

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