What do you pay for on your kid's behalf, and what should they pay for themselves?

MSE_Laura_F Posts: 1,572 MSE Staff
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I'm interested to know:

Parents with kids who have their own money (pocket money, birthday gifts, part-time jobs etc): do you still pay for everything for them, or are they expected to pay for certain things?

Mobile phone bills?

Computer games?

TV/music subscriptions?

And how old is your child?



  • MSE_Laura_F
    MSE_Laura_F Posts: 1,572 MSE Staff
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    Thanks @Penguin_ , that's moved.
  • diystarter7
    diystarter7 Posts: 5,202 Forumite
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    As soon as my children did PT work they paid for everything other than the food in the house.

    We gave them presents at the usual points and a bit for their cars but only after they bought them for cash but nothing else.

    Should they ask us for money, the answer will be no. Simply because they need to learn not to live from hand to mouth and I think we've achieved that goal.
  • JGB1955
    JGB1955 Posts: 3,522 Forumite
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    edited 16 June 2022 at 5:23PM
    From the age of (around 11) we 'gave' our children their Child Benefit payments to pay for their (non-school uniform) clothes and anything else they wanted.  I don't think £20 a week is something to be sniffed at...  Once she hit 15 she worked in a local cafe - £60 more per week.  Sorted!

    20 years later, we find ourselves providing free after school child care , free baby sitting and free holidays.... even ones we're not actually going on.  C'est la vie!
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  • Drawingaline
    Drawingaline Posts: 2,951 Forumite
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    edited 16 June 2022 at 6:38PM
    My older two got jobs at 16 and since then we pay phone bills, new underwear and everything for the house (food, utilities used etc) and anything that is required for their college courses.

    They pay bus fares, clothing, fun things, trips, give me fuel money if they don't walk to work, basically everything 'non essential' (we would cover essential clothing if shoes broke for instance) they also have to save a third of their pay towards future things, for my daughter this is uni, for my son it may be towards a car or moving out as he probably won't go to uni)

    I will say they have well paying jobs for their age, ork up to four shifts a week and earn approximately £600-800 a month so actually have more disposable income than me!

    My daughter has around 5k saved towards uni, she is hopefully going in September. Her loan will cover her accommodation so we will continue paying her phone bill and probably give her money towards food every month.

    I won't take rent until they are working full time and no longer studying.

    Some people feel I am quite harsh with them, but they are learning to budget and manage their own money, they can walk home from college if they want to spend the money set aside for bus fares on food for example. I would rather be this way than let them have everything given to them and they never understand what things cost. 

    We did pay for driving lessons. Initially I was going to get them to reimburse me from their child trust funds at 18 (held about 1k) as we really couldn't afford to pay, but hubby had a big payrise so I changed to just paying for them. Hubby can't drive so I am quite vocal on them learning and passing ASAP, they don't need to ever use the skill, but it's harder sometimes to prioritise it later in life. Sometimes being the only driver in the house is an absolute pain!
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  • Spendless
    Spendless Posts: 24,177 Forumite
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    There are so many variables with this. DS went to the town centre college. It was still 5 miles away so a  long and not practical walk. DD for various reasons went to a college 30 miles away and had to commute by train. We paid  for fares for both. 

    I've said before on here, it's difficult where we live to find a part-time job that doesn't require full flexibility. Last year DD in her 1st job at a cafe that was paying her under NMW anyway lost the job because 'she was still at college' - (this was late May - she was due to finish July 1st!) and the owner also  didn't want 'anyone who was moving to Uni in the Autumn' I saw the text myself. 
  • silvercar
    silvercar Posts: 47,126 Ambassador
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    edited 16 June 2022 at 8:15PM
    We paid for kids’ mobile phone contracts until they finished uni. We also paid for driving lessons. 

    When we go out for family meals we still pay.

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  • zagfles
    zagfles Posts: 20,363 Forumite
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    We gave ours around £120-£140 per month from about age 12 up till uni, and then at uni made sure they got at least the full loan, but expected them to pay for all personal stuff themselves, including stuff like school trips, school uniforms etc, ie including things they needed but wouldn't really choose to spend money on. To try to teach them that money's needed for boring stuff as well as fun stuff. We also wanted to avoid them feeling they needed to get a PT job whether before or at uni, we'd prefer if it they studied hard. Which they did.
    They sorted their own mobile deals, obviously PAYG, there was no way on earth I'd undersign a contract even though they were sensible kids, but in any case PAYG is cheaper if you know what you're doing and make sensible use of "bundles" etc. I think they're still on PAYG even now as adults, paying maybe £7-10 a month for oodles of data, calls and texts while they have friends on rip-off £30 a month contracts! They now advise us on mobiles :D
    It seems to have worked well, they both got degrees with 1st class hons and both doing well in well paid jobs with a good career trajectories. They are also very very good with money, they spend less than they earn despite paying a lot in rent, so well on the way to a house deposit.
  • diystarter7
    diystarter7 Posts: 5,202 Forumite
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    It is your choice but the sooner you stop giving handouts to your children the sooner they learn the true value of money.
    It worked for us and almost everyone we know that did that.

    There are others we know that were nice and very kind to their kids EG letting them take the car, then more often and the kids would never fill her up and at times leave it on empty, the parents got fed up, the kids called the parents tight and were angry as they knew nothing different. Same applies to mobiles/contracts and the latest phones.

    The sooner you let your kids spend within their limits and no borrowing the better IMO
  • Bobinyorkshire
    We paid for our kids Uni accommodation and they had some Children’s bonds (from NS & I) which matured. Also gave them £2K towards car when they finished Uni and got a job.They budgeted there way through Uni with maintenance loan and they have a good handle on money now. Just drip feeding info about pensions and they cringe when I mention ‘compound interest’ 😂
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