UK Living Costs Affecting Parents
UK households are facing the biggest income squeeze since the 1970’s – due to all the rising energy bills, fuel costs, and supermarket prices.
At Swycha, we wanted to understand how parents were feeling with shrinking budgets, so we completed a unique research study that interviewed 2000 parents in the UK. We asked parents exactly how the rising costs are impacting the way they financially support and raise their children. Though our research initially intended to assess how affordable buying new phones for children is at the moment, we uncovered just how financially difficult being a parent in 2022 has become.
This month, we interviewed 2000 parents in the UK with children aged 4 – 21.
3 in 4 UK parents (80%) said they are finding harder to financially support their children at the moment due to all the rising UK living costs.
- 45% of parents said yes – it’s getting more difficult to financially support my child
- 23% of parents said yes – and I fear it will get worse in the future
- 12% of parents said yes – but things will improve as I change my personal circumstances
- 20% of parents said no – financially supporting my children hasn’t really changed.
73% of parents say that raising children is more financially difficult right now compared to this time last year (due to the raising costs).
However, only 28% of parents believe that the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic (i.e., changing jobs, going back to the office) still impacts their finances as a parent.
We also asked parents to state what their biggest financial difficulties are at the moment.
In order of the most prevalent costs that are troubling parents, our research found these to be:
- Rising energy costs (gas and electric)
- Rising food process
- Rising fuel prices
- Finding money to give their children spending money
- Affording their children’s birthdays and Christmas’s
- Education costs (uniforms, lunches, sports clubs etc)
- Direct debits
- Parents finding money for own leisure
- Increasing NI contributions
70% of all parents in our study said the rising energy costs are troubling them. 64% of all parents said the increasing supermarket prices are affecting their approach to family shopping.
58% said the rising cost of petrol and diesel was a big concern. Interestingly, 42% of all parents said that finding money for upcoming birthday gifts will be an issue for them. 31% said paying direct debits for their children’s phone contract is also hard.
Because of the above, families are naturally having to make sacrifices.
In order of the most common sacrifices that parents in the UK are having to make, our research found these to be:
- Not going on holiday this year
- Cutting back on heating, electricity, or water
- Food shopping – switching supermarkets, switching home brands, no organic food
- Parents not buying clothes for themselves
- Limiting use of the car and choosing public transport (cutting back on fuel)
- Parents socialising with friends less (going for drinks etc)
- Meals out and takeaways
- Cancelling TV and streaming subscriptions (Disney+, Netflix, Spotify etc)
- Parents giving up or cutting back on personal hobbies (golf clubs etc)
- Home improvements or buying a new house.
73% of parents say that financially raising children is more difficult right now compared to this time last year (due to the raising costs). However, only 28% of parents believe that the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic (i.e., changing jobs, having to go back to the office) still impacts their parents as a finance.
Parents and Affording New Phones for Children
We also uncovered a number of issues for parents in affording luxury items, particularly mobile phones, for their children.
- 44% of parents say that paying their children’s mobile phone contracts has become stressful due to rising essential living costs
- 31% of parents are currently paying more than £50 a month on their children’s phone (on top of their own bills)
- 43% of parents say they feel pressure to buy their children brand new technology products, such as a new phone or games console, for birthdays and Christmas despite growing financial difficulties.
48% of parents even say the financial cost of buying their children the exact mobile phone they want outweighs the emotional cost of disappointing them.
Parents are spending increasing amounts of money on their children’s phones – at a much younger age - which naturally, due to rising household bills, is becoming a difficult outlay.
- 36% of parents are paying over £200 upfront on their children’s brand-new mobile phone handset
- 73% of parents purchased a brand-new phone for their children in the last 2 years o 10 years, 7 months – is the average age a child is bought or gifted their first mobile phone in the UK
- 46% of children ask for a specific model of phone because they want to fit in with their peers
With budgets tightening, parents are looking for affordable options for their children – however only 30% of parents gift secondhand phones to their children. The rest their children buy brand new smartphones. Only 7% of parents choose to purchase refurbished mobile phones for their children. Refurbished phones tend to be more affordable then buying new handsets direct from networks such as Vodafone, or the Apple Store.