“Bon anniverscare”: Which region forks out the most on their children’s birthdays?

children’s birthdays

  • Moneyminding: Parents spend £433 on birthday parties every year (per child)
  • Showered with presents: On top of this, parents fork out an average of £165 worth of presents for their kids every year and spend £16 on presents for other children when attending birthdays
  • Savings sacrificed: half of parents in the UK forfeit other financial priorities to afford extravagant birthdays
  • Top 10 most generous regions revealed

Parents in the UK will spend an average of £4,886.28 on birthdays through primary school according to new research from Barclays. This is despite a third (33%) admitting that they buy more presents than their children need and 31% admitting they should spend their money in more intelligent ways.

In a survey of 1,000 parents with children aged eight or below, it was revealed that the average parent will spend £164.65 on presents, £433.39 on parties and £100.06 on presents for other children every year. In addition to this high expense, parents also revealed they will spend as much as ££223.05 on party bags. And with parents expected to have to fork out an average of £60,000 on the expenses children’s school years bring, from school uniforms, to trips, to extra-curricular activities, the strain on savings is only going to deepen in later life[1].

Looking at the regions in the UK most guilty of overspending on their children’s birthdays, London came out on top – the average Londoner set to spend £5,047.72 through primary school. This was followed closely by the North East and North West regions, with inhabitants set to spend an average of £4,313.72 and £3,532.01 respectively.

Regions that spend the most on birthdays:

Region (ranked from most spend to least spend)Amount spent on presentsAmount spent on partiesTOTAL spend on birthdays through primary school
North East£2282.11£2031.61£4313.72
North West£1778.10£1753.91£3532.01
South West£1757.37£1457.97£3215.34
South East£1590.35£1518.74£3109.09
West Midlands£1578.68£1442.11£3020.79
Yorkshire and the Humber£1306.20£1283.01£2589.20
Northern Ireland£1470.52£1091.59£2562.11
East Midlands£1070.76£1250.23£2320.99
East/East Anglia£1211.49£1101.17£2312.66

Who spends the most on:

  • Birthday Parties – Londoners spend an average of £287.74 on a birthday party for their child
  • Birthday Presents – Londoners spoil their children the most, gifting each child an average of 9 presents a year, amounting to almost £225.44 a year
  • Goody bags – people from the North East spend the most on party bags, with a total cost of £328.88 per party
  • Gifts for friends – Londoners spend the most on presents for other people’s children, forking out an average of £162.48 a year

A price too high

The research showed that parents feel immense financial strain due to the amount they spend on birthdays, with half (50%) admitting to having sacrificed other financial commitments such as saving and investing to afford extravagant birthday costs.


  • The people of Scotland are most aware of their overspending, with almost half of people surveyed (42%) thinking that they buy their children more presents than they need
  • Londoners are most guilty of dipping into their savings to pay for birthdays, with almost a quarter (24%) admitting to dipping into their rainy day fund
  • The research found that the people living in the West Midlands are the most remorseful, with over a third (38%) believing  they could have used the money spent on presents in better ways
  • Those living in East Anglia are most likely to sacrifice their own needs to throw their children the perfect party, with almost a quarter (23%) admitting this.
  • Londoners admit that their children are the most spoilt due to the amount of presents they receive (27%)

Clare Francis, Savings and Investments Director at Barclays, said: “As a parent, it’s easy to understand why people spend so much money on their children on their birthdays, but the money you spend on this one day adds up and ultimately can end up having quite an impact on the savings you might have otherwise put aside for your child’s future, especially since many of us are juggling just to make ends meet each month already.

For anyone spending more than they think they should, it’s perhaps time to reassess the amount you’d typically spend on birthdays and take a longer term view. Although it seems worthwhile now, there are plenty of moments later in their lives when having that bit of extra money will help, whether it be funding items for school or a trip abroad. So make the decision to not get carried away and hold firm in not bowing down to peer pressure for their next birthday – it could make a big difference in the future.”


Naughty naughty

The research also revealed some of the misbehaviours of children at birthday parties, which included anecdotes about children blowing out candles on the birthday cake, eating the sweets they brought as gifts and stealing the birthday money.

Looking at the most common misbehaviours, a fifth (20%) of parents have said they have witnessed a bust up between children at their child’s party. One in five have endured a child’s guest having a tantrum and one in 10 have had a child turn up uninvited.

Parents ranked their home as the most stressful place to host a children’s birthday party, followed by a swimming pool and a restaurant – completing the top three.

  1. Your own home
  2. A swimming pool
  3. A restaurant
  4. A theme park
  5. A soft play park
  6. An ice rink
  7. The cinema
  8. An arcade
  9. A bowling alley
  10. A trampoline park

Clare Francis continues: “The sooner you start saving, the better your financial trajectory will be. Save regularly and use that money to plan for longer financial goals that are 10 years or more away. That financial cushion also allows for any sudden emergencies, such when the car breaks down or the boiler packs up. If you’re looking for some guidance on where to start, give Barclays Finance Manager a try and help plan your financial future.”

Barclays Finance Manager can help people set savings goals and take a long-term view, and plan ahead for the financial impact of life’s ups and downs.

Barclays also offers a number of tools that customers can use to help avoid the temptation to overspend. For example, the new ‘Your Cards’ feature on Barclays Mobile Banking allows people to set their own ATM withdrawal limits, and to switch off the ability to shop online.

Love Belfast
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