The Bank of Mum and Dad may be one of the UK’s biggest mortgage lenders, but where do mum and dad turn to when they’re short of a few quid?

Almost half of parents have raided their children’s piggy banks at some point, new research has revealed.

The latest study by Nationwide shows that 46% of parents have borrowed or ‘stolen’ their children’s pocket money.

It is reassuring that the vast majority of parents, including me, pay the cash back

Andrew Baddeley-Chappell, head of savings policy, Nationwide
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More than half of mums (51%) are guilty of this, compared to only 35% of dads.

The top reasons given for raiding the piggy bank are: paying the school lunch money or a bill (both 15%), paying for school trips and needing change for parking (both 11%).

Other reasons for borrowing money include bus fares, paying the cleaner or the window cleaner, getting a haircut or filling up the car – and even to reward their child from the tooth fairy.

5% of parents admitted they needed the money to pay for a takeaway.

Women are more likely to raid their children's pocket money than men, Nationwide found. Image by Yulia Grigoryeva/

The average amount of money taken by parents is £21.41 with 10% saying they had taken £50 or more in the past 12 months. 

Nearly two in five parents (39%) admitted their children had noticed that money had gone missing, but 93% said they gave the money back and 14% of those actually put more money back than they took. 

Nearly a third (32%) confessed to taking the money, while 23% returned the money without saying a word to their kids about it. 

Andrew Baddeley-Chappell, Nationwide’s head of savings policy, said: “Despite being in charge of instilling a good approach to finance, almost half of parents have been caught in spring raids on their kid’s piggy bank stash.

“While liberating change for parking or to pay school lunch money could be viewed as excusable, one in 10 parents actually borrowed more than £50 in the last year, including for paying bills. 

“Although more than half of kids don’t even notice the money has gone, it is reassuring that the vast majority of parents, including me, pay the cash back, with one in seven paying back even more than they borrowed to ease their guilt.

“Based on these findings, perhaps there are even more reasons for parents to encourage their kids to start the savings habit.”