Young people earn more, get more pocket money and still lack money

Secondary school students receive an average of 147 euros per month in pocket money, change and wages from secondary jobs. This has been investigated by the National Institute for Budget Information (Nibud). That’s 35 euros more than four years ago, the last time Nibud investigated this.

Just like back then, almost 90 percent of the students receive pocket money. Dressing money now gets 50 percent, in 2016 it was 38 percent. They now spend an hour more per week on part-time jobs than they did back then.

Learning how to handle money

Parents bear a lot of the expenses of their children, so pupils don’t have to make a living from their own income. But Nibud thinks it’s important that young people learn to handle money early on. “Learning how to make a living from a certain budget is a prerequisite for avoiding payment problems later on,” says Nibud director Arjan Vliegenthart.

Most of the money students spend on clothes, on average about 48 euros a month. The proportion of parents who pay the costs in full has decreased. But the part that pays for everything for days out, the telephone and the holidays has actually increased.

Still, more than half of the students think they are short of money. Young people up to 16 are more likely to experience a shortage than 17 and 18-year-olds. They also often have higher incomes. 43 percent of young people ask their parents for extra money in case of a shortage. Young people also borrow money if they think they are short.

Shortage is ‘between the ears’

According to Nibud, students are influenced by what they see on social media in their dealings with money. “The shortage of money is not so much in their wallets, but mainly between their ears,” says professor Wilco van Dijk, who holds the Nibud chair at Leiden University. “Young people look at what others do and want to do what others do. If it seems on a daily basis that others can spend more money than you, that frustrates them”

Nibud does see a number of positive developments in the financial behaviour of students. Compared to 2016, students talk to their parents more often about planning and calculating expenses and help parents save more often. And more young people now receive change. Nibud believes that locker money is a good way to practice with money and make choices. “It is good to see that more than three-quarters of the students discuss with their parents what they have bought from their change or pocket money”, according to Nibud.