Sep 16

Resist Parental Peer Pressure And Save £865 A Year

Reading Time: 5 mins

Did you know that parental peer pressure is costing mums and dads in the UK £6 billion a year!

This is where other parents (not you of course!) let the side down by buying their little darlings expensive things that your little darlings then want and bug you until you break down and give in to them.

Yes, according to research by Sainsbury’s Bank, parents are, together, shelling out six billion pounds a year just because some of people don’t know how to say “no love, we can’t afford it”!peer pressure

Soooo… do you cope with this increasing pressure from your children when they have found out that their friends’ parents are buying them lots of stuff that could potentially put those parents close to bankruptcy and would definitely put you there?

It’s a tough one, but there are ways you can do it and we’ve come up with some solutions below

…oh, and if you have your own ideas as to how to give your kids what they need while staving off the ‘I want a Dior dress for my party because Stacey got a Channel one…”. tell us in the comments below.


Comment to enter competition

I bet you have your own thoughts, strategies and experiences when it comes to resisting parental peer pressure and helping your children learn to want less. There’s a £25 Amazon voucher up for grabs for the best piece of advice (or funniest) so get writing! Leave your comments below. Competition ends 20th October 2016.


What is peer pressure making you buy?

According to the Sainsbury’s Bank report, ‘PPPs’ (Peer-Pressured Parents) are paying an extra £865 a year buying things like the latest smartphones, designer clothes and paying for expensive birthday parties.

Those who are also paying for clubs, hobbies and private educational tuition might be shelling out another £2,400 a year!peer pressure

The top three must-haves parents get peer-pressured into buying are:

  1. the latest technology, such as phones and tablets
  2. ‘cool’ clothes
  3. school trips and excursions

These are followed by

  • membership to clubs and societies such as football and scouts
  • expensive children’s parties or birthday gifts

And as the kids get older, giving them a party to remember is de rigueur, with over half of parents expecting to pay for major birthday parties such as their 16th, 18th and 21st celebrations.

Maybe you could add some ‘must haves’ of your own to that list? Tell us about them in the comments below.

There are regional differences when it comes to how pressurised parents feel to buy their kids the latest must haves.

Not surprisingly, London parents feel the most pressure (as you can see from the chart below) but, what is a surprise is that those in the South East – so just outside of London – feel the least pressure. Go figure!

Regional breakdown of parents who feel ‘parent peer pressure’

North East North West Yorks & Humber East Midlands West Midlands East of England London South East South West Wales Scotland Northern Ireland
47% 52% 48% 52% 39% 50% 70% 32% 28% 52% 43% 36%


how to resist peer pressure from kids

It’s all very well for me to itemise what you already know you’re being emotionally blackmailed into buying, but how do you deal with it?peer pressure

So “everyone at school’ has the latest gizmo that you have difficulty spelling let alone affording. The pressure is relentless. You’re accused of all kinds of cruelty and meanness.

You would love to buy it for them but there are small things like the gas and mortgage bills to pay first. What do you do?

Here are a few ways to cope with it. Do you have more? Tell us in the comments below.

  1. Reason with your children. Explain how much you can afford and, maybe, give them a choice between having the latest gadget that they want, or something else they’ve been asking for. Explain that they can only have one of them so put the ball in their court.
  2. Go second hand. If they desperately want a new gadget/jeans/bike and you can’t afford it, look on sites like Gumtree, eBay, Facebook groups and the police auction site Bumblebee Auctions. If it’s a little one that wants a bike you might even find a free one by keeping an eye on your local Freecycle site or Gumtree Free Stuff section.
  3. Share the load with other parents: Financial writer and mum of two, Melanie Wright says “if you are feeling the pressure to throw them a big party when they reach those landmark ages of 16, 18 or 21, see if you can join forces with one of their friends who has a birthday around the same time so you can split the cost – and the workload – with another family.”
  4. Get the kids to contribute: If your child wants, say, a new smartphone, Andrew Hagger from advises that you turn it into a positive by making them contribute. “Strike a balance,” he says, “so that the child contributes an agreed amount towards the cost of their new phone via their own earned income (pocket money/part time job). Appreciating the value of money and how long it takes to save for something is a life skill that will stand them in good stead for years to come.”

Get a FREE copy of our eBook for parents I’m not made of money! Budgeting Tips for Stressed Parents” which has lots more tips and hints for saving money with kids.


 strategies for resisting pressure long-term

 Our lives will be easier, and our children’s lives happier, if we can lift day-to-day thoughts and actions above the constant pressure from all sides to acquire. Here are some ways to do it generally.

  1. Be a role model. Show that you can delay gratification so that they learn from you. For example, when you’re shopping, say, “Wow! That’s a fantastic computer. I’m going to save up for it so that I can buy it soon.” Get other adults in the family to do the same so that it becomes the norm.
  2. Be open about your finances and include the children in decisions. If you keep a dialogue going with children, explaining from an early age what you can afford, what is important in life and how they need to be leaders, not followers, in their own lives, this will make it easier to resist the ‘gimmies’ when they come. Also, teaching them to resist the pressure to have what others have and do what others do all the time will help them lead stronger, richer and more independent lives later on.
  3. Explain the difference between wants and needs. Say something like, “We all need food but you don’t need an Xbox, even if you really want it.” Your child may not get it at first, but eventually they will learn.
  4. Turn their thoughts to giving, not having. Help your child pack up some of their old toys and clothes, and take them together to a local charity shop. Giving to others who are less fortunate than they are will help them to learn to appreciate all the things they own.

Don’t forget to leave your comments below for the chance to win a £25 Amazon voucher. Competition ends 20th October 2016. 

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Fiona Adetula
Fiona Adetula

I definitely think talking to your children about how the world works is important. don’t shy away from it, or candy-cote it, kids are young and inexperienced but they…. don’t lack complete understanding, lol. I’m not a parent but looking from my parents perspective and remembering how we were bought up, it’s so important to teach your kids to work for the ‘nice things’ in life. I don’t know if it’s only me, most likely not, but I never really understood how some kids were ok with their parents just paying for everything, from phone bill to wardrobe makeovers…… new… Read more »

Sarah robertson
Sarah robertson

My daughter was desparate for a furby a while ago, because everyone else has one. After a few months of nagging from her we sorted out her toys, and she helped me to list some that she no longer played with on ebay, we went halves on the profit (as I bought them in the first place, and helped to sell them), and she had enough to buy 2 second hand furbies on ebay. All our big purchases are second hand, including birthday and christmas presents. My daughter has never questioned this. There are so many barely used unwanted or… Read more »

Jeanette Davenport

I have taught my children that money dose’t grow on tree’s, if there is something they want to buy they have to work for it. And this has taught them to respect their money and to look after the things they have.

K Manson
K Manson

As parents we have never given in too peer pressure, I think it is wrong. We have always made our children save up for anything they really wanted.


I find you have to take any sentence beginning “Everyone else……….” with a pinch of salt! I tend to sit down and rationalise this with my children and sometimes they really do listen but hate me temporarily for being right. The most pressure I get is from my daughter who wants to own her own pony “like everyone else” and I have made a deal with her that she can have riding lessons but the horse is just never going to happen. Having spoken to other mums it appears that no one in my daughter’s circle of friends actually owns… Read more »

theresa cooke
theresa cooke

Children accept what you say if you explain thing rather than say no. I find children’s parties the worse. very competitive to have the best.

Ian Beckham
Ian Beckham

Always listen to your children, but take what they tell you regarding what other children are getting and allowed to do, with a pinch of salt


Thanks for this article… I was recently under a lot of pressure as my son moved to secondary school, wanting an expensive phone.
Just because every child had a smart, very expensive phone it was such a challenge!
So I bought myself a new phone ( it was about time) and gave me my old phone.
He was satisfied, plus I got an app on his phone to control the games.
I can now control his phone and keep an eye on him from my phone.
Great app, Screen time. I recommend it to all the parents

Elizabeth Taylor
Elizabeth Taylor

I think we need to show our children how others live with so little and show them that money does not buy you happiness. My children have all grown up but I am proud of how they have grown into caring adults that question conformity and look at the world with a much more balanced view. This is something we can teach our children if we take the time and explain things fully. Life is difficult and unfair but we can show them that it is fufilling but being ourselves and not giving in to the false gods the media… Read more »

David Metcalfe
David Metcalfe

Sit your children down explain the importance of money explain that gas and leccy don’t just magically appear they have to be paid for as food does after a while they will soon grasp that money doesn’t just appear .

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