Who is the most impulsive and reckless spender in your family?

Siblings have no trouble finding differences to bicker about, and spending habits are as likely as anything to cause familial ructions.

But children in large families are likely to display very different attitudes towards money, research suggests. The middle child in a family is often the biggest spender compared to siblings, a study from peer-to-peer lending platform Zopa shows.

Over a third of middle children confessed they felt they ‘had’ to buy things they do not need, while one in four said they often stray beyond their shopping list, be it on the high street or online.

Guilty as charged: The middle child is often the biggest spender among siblings, Zopa says

Meanwhile, the first-born child is typically much more prudent, with only 11 per cent admitting they regularly snap up more than is on their shopping list.

In a three-child household, the youngest – who is often regarded as the most likely to be spoiled and indulged – in fact often follow the example of their eldest sibling and are careful about how they use their cash, according to Zopa.

Only 12 per cent of last-born siblings admitted they often squander their money on unnecessary purchases.

Psychologist Kate Nightingale, said: ‘Our psychological predisposition can make us more likely to splurge, since the oldest, first born siblings are asked early on to be responsible for their younger sisters and brothers, they have to train themselves in self-control and this can help them when controlling their spending and finances.’

Nearly 70 per cent of eldest siblings said they had picked up prudent spending habits having watched their parents be careful with their own money.  

How cautious are you? The first born child is typically much more prudent when it comes to spending, according to Zopa's research

How cautious are you? The first born child is typically much more prudent when it comes to spending, according to Zopa’s research 

Meanwhile, 37 per cent of people surveyed by Zopa said they feel the need to buy at least one item each week that they do not really need in order to ‘feel good.’


Do you spend more money than you need to most weeks?

One in five admitted to always diverting from their shopping list and buying more than they intended when purchasing from the high street or on the internet. 

Supermarkets were reported to be the places where most impulse-spending happens, closely followed by online clothing stores, which often tempt shoppers with speedy delivery and free returns. 

Having spent so much time at home this year and with many retailers shutting physical shops for a spell, many households have ramped up their online spending significantly in recent months.

From June to August, non-food spending online increased over 44 per cent on a year ago, while in-store sales fell over 17 per cent, recent data from the British Retail Consortium showed. 

It's all in the wiring: There are strong psychological forces behind our desire to spend

It’s all in the wiring: There are strong psychological forces behind our desire to spend 

Nearly half of Britons surveyed by Zopa said they cannot resist over-buying because they want to give themselves a treat and 21 per cent confessed to having zero willpower to stop themselves spending too much money.

It is clear that Britain is a nation obsessed with shopping, but 2020 has been a tough year for many households, with swathes of jobs lost, mass pay cuts and bills mounting up. And, with the Black Friday sales and Christmas just around the corner, it is important to keep track of what you can really afford.

High street and online retailers use all the tricks of the trade to try and get people to part with their cash and encourage impulsive spending. 

Rows of tempting treats, or more likely in the current times, hand sanitiser, often line the aisles next to tills and online shops even occasionally send email reminders to potential buyers who have left items unpurchased in their shopping baskets.

From dealing with pocket money to stashing away cash in a pension for later life, it is therefore clear that getting a financial education from an early age is vital for people from all walks of life to ensure overspending does not become an everyday occurrence.

Irresistible: Online retailers know all the the tricks of the trade to get you to spend money

Irresistible: Online retailers know all the the tricks of the trade to get you to spend money 

Psychologist Ms Nightingale, said: ‘Some people are driven by the enjoyment of beautiful and luxurious products, while others value experiences like camping with family. These varying needs are ingrained in us, so some of us may find it a bit harder to control our desire to indulge when it comes to spending on material things.’

To help people who struggle with impulse spending Zopa said it had developed a new credit card enabled with a feature called ‘Safety Net’ that allows customers to lock away part of their available credit balance for ‘small unexpected expenses. ‘ 

Clare Gambardella, Chief Customer Officer at Zopa said: ‘There are things which inform your approach to spending which you can’t control. 

‘However Zopa’s new credit card provides innovative tools like the SafetyNet and real time balance updates to help customers make well informed decisions about their money.’

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