Ditch daily coffees, boycott takeaways and cancel your gym membership: Top saving tips for parents revealed as a THIRD admit to dipping into their child's savings

  • Santander survey found 32 per cent of parents admitted to raiding their children's money boxes if they needed extra cash
  • Young savers' money is used to fund everything from holidays to cars 
  • Over 70 per cent of parents can no longer afford to save for their children
  • Money-saving tips include ditching the gym, takeaways and daily coffees 

It's a guilty secret that no parent will admit to, jarring open their own child's piggy bank to access extra cash. 

A recent report by Santander has revealed that 32 per cent of parents say they have raided their children's savings to help pay for something for themselves.

The bank also found that parents were dipping into their children's money not just to cover unexpected bills but also to pay for luxury items, new cars, holidays and home improvements. 

Of those who owned up to pilfering cash from their own children, only 49 per cent of parents actually put the money back. Nineteen per cent said they intended to but didn't, and 15 per cent admitted they actually had no intention of ever putting it back.

Research has revealed that a third of parents dip into their children's savings when financially struggling 

Research has revealed that a third of parents dip into their children's savings when financially struggling 

Worryingly, over a third of parents said they were now out of the habit of saving for their children, which could leave them unable to help when their children need some of life's heftier purchases including a university fund or a deposit for a house. 

A third of those parents who did have some kind of formal savings arrangement for their children, such as a bank account, a junior ISA or child trust fund, admitted that they were no longer putting money into it.

To avoid using your children's savings, financial journalist Kalpana Fitzpatrick reveals her top tips to help you build your own stash of cash – whether it's for a rainy day, a holiday, a car, or a pair of new shoes – a little budgeting and a lot scrimping can go a long way to help ensure your children's money remains untouched:

1. CUT OUT THE DAILY COFFEE FIX

In need of a caffeine fix? That'll be a cool £40 a month...but ditch the daily lattes and watch your savings go much further

In need of a caffeine fix? That'll be a cool £40 a month...but ditch the daily lattes and watch your savings go much further

And you can kiss goodbye to takeaways...not only are they generally unhealthy, they're also expensive

And you can kiss goodbye to takeaways...not only are they generally unhealthy, they're also expensive

Coffee is expensive! If you are serious about saving some extra cash, then you won't mind giving a trip to your local barista a miss. A take-away coffee can set you back around £2 (or more) each day.

If you are having one a day in the working week, then you could save yourself around £40 a month, and if you are having even more, then the savings are higher.

Instead, consider taking coffee from home in a flask and keep some coffee at work too.

You will enjoy the extra cash in your pocket.

2. DITCH THE TAKEAWAYS

This is great for your wallet as well as your waist, so if you are counting the calories as well as the pennies, then this is for you.

Believe it or not, the average Brit spends over £1,300 a year on takeaway food.

So by giving the fast food a miss, you really could give your savings a significant boost.

Chinese food seems to top the list when it comes to the favorite British take-away, so why not get a fantastic Chinese cookbook and put your culinary skills to test? 

You'll be surprised at how easy some recipes are, which also work out cheaper and a little healthier too.

Instead of paying for a gym membership, take advantage of free day passes

Instead of paying for a gym membership, take advantage of free day passes

3.CANCEL GYM MEMBERSHIP

Gyms are well known for being notoriously expensive and despite all the good intentions, most people do not use it enough to justify the cost.

The average gym bill is around £600 a year (significantly higher in some places) – this could easily be used to pay for a large chunk of your holiday.

If you are paying for unused gym membership, or just need to save more, then cancel it and get fit for free or less.

You can get a free day pass at LA Fitness, Nuffield Health and Fitness First by filling out your details on their websites.

There are also some great DVDs and apps to help you exercise at home, or you could set up a running group with some friends.

If you really want to keep a gym membership but not the costs, then take a look at some 'no-frills' gyms that are starting to pop up, such as Xercise4less and Fit Space, which can cost as little as £10 a month.

If you are are collecting loyalty points, then you can also use Nectar points to pay for swimming at local pools for you and your children or use your Tesco Clubcard to pay for gym membership at a Nuffield Health gym.

4. RECYCLE YOUR MOBILE PHONE 

If you have an old mobile phone hanging around just gathering dust, then sell it – it could be worth hundreds of pounds if it's a recent model.

There are several sites that will give you cash for an old handset, as long as it is in a reasonable condition.

Plan ahead and take a packed lunch: Kalpana says that making simple changes such as taking a packed lunch to work can help make big savings 

Plan ahead and take a packed lunch: Kalpana says that making simple changes such as taking a packed lunch to work can help make big savings 

Upgrading your phone but still have a half-decent handset? Then use a phone recycling website to get some cash for the phone you no longer want

Upgrading your phone but still have a half-decent handset? Then use a phone recycling website to get some cash for the phone you no longer want

It makes sense to sell old handsets that you are no longer using as soon as possible as they will lose value over time.

Try a few sites, such as Mazuma, Fonebank, or Asda Tech Trade-in for example, to see which one gives you the best price.

If you have recently upgraded your handset or are thinking about it, ask your provider to see if they will give you cash for your old handset.

If it's a handset that you think is worth more than these sites offer, then try selling it on eBay instead.

5. KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR SPENDING 

With so many ways to pay for things these days, other than just cash, it can become difficult to keep track of your spending and to stay within a budget.

THE TOP REASONS WHY PARENTS REACH FOR THEIR CHILD'S SAVINGS:

 

 Unexpected bill

 44 per cent

 Child needed  something

 41 per cent

 Cost of living  expenses

 40 per cent

 Pay for a car

 28 per cent

 Pay for a holiday

 26 per cent

 For a luxury item

 21 per cent

 Home improvements

 15 per cent

Source:Santander 

To make sure you are not overspending and are able to put money aside each month, it is vital that you budget and are aware of your outgoings.

To help you, start making a list of all your spending and then see where you can make the cuts – you'll be surprised at how much you spend unnecessarily. 

There will usually always be something that you do not need; be tough with yourself if you really want to see your rainy day savings mount.

If you're not one for pen and paper, then there are smart phone apps that can help you keep track of your spending and help you budget.

To make your life a little easier, take a look at Money Dashboard, which shows you where your money goes, sync all your accounts and helps you budget, or see Goodbudget, which allows you to share budgets with your family which can sync across multiple devices.

6.TAKE A PACKED LUNCH

Do you regularly find yourself making a trip to the cashpoint around lunchtime as you go on the hunt for something to eat?

Taking a packed lunch from home means you are less likely to visit a cashpoint and, as a result, you will spend less.

Going out for your lunch can set you back around £5 (or more) a day, so taking it from home could save you around £100 a month.

You'll not only save some cash, but you'll also find that you have more time to enjoy your lunch hour as you avoid those queues in the sandwich shop or staff canteen.

Try and make sandwiches the night before to avoid the morning madness at home. If you don't like sandwiches, try making some extra food for dinner and use that for lunch the next day.

It's a good idea to plan the week's meals, incorporating lunch ideas into it.

You could also try and make some meals at the weekend, which can be frozen for use in the week.

Packed lunches are a fantastic way of keeping your spending low, allowing you to put more money away into your emergency cash box or account.

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