April 19 2014 Latest news:

Children will clearly continue to come first in the eyes of their parents as Christmas budgets are planned.

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While more than half of all parents will spend the same or more on their children than they did last year despite economic difficulties, around two thirds will spend less on other family members to help balance the domestic books.

According to the Cost of a Child study from insurance, investment and retirement group LV=, mums and dads will spend an average of £168 on presents per child this Christmas.

This breaks down to £148 on gifts and £20 on stocking-fillers.

The amount parents spend on Christmas presents rises the older the child gets. Children under four will have £124 spent on them, rising to £201 for children aged 11 to 18.

Parents in the North East are the most generous while those in the East Midlands will spend the least.

Mark Jones, LV= head of protection, said: “Kids clearly come first despite the economic downturn.

“Many families will be feeling the financial strain of keeping their kids happy this Christmas, so it’s important parents try and look beyond the short term and also ensure they have suitable budgets and long term financial plans in place.

“Even a small drop in a family’s income can make it hard to balance the books, especially at this time of year.”

There is plenty of other financial advice out there in the run up to Christmas.

Gordon Bowden, of Quainton Hills Financial Planning Ltd, said: “Put aside a regular amount each month to invest for the long term.

“Do not spend your monthly income and then see what is left over.

“There will never be enough left over.

“Instead decide how much you want to save and work out your spending budget from what is left.”

And back on the subject of youngsters, Colin Jackson, of Baronworth Investments Limited, said that teaching children that money matters was of utmost importance.

“The announcement that Junior ISAs would be launched, probably in autumn 2011, should go some way to educating children particularly when it comes to saving.

“Mums, dads, grandparents, aunts and uncles often give monetary presents to children at Christmas.

“Perhaps it would be a good idea to put these presents into a Junior ISA and for those children old enough to understand, explain the reason for doing this - to save for their future.”

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