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Children buy snacks, sweets and apps with their pocket money

May 18, 2020

We already know that the children and youth of today are a digital generation. We also know that they like sweets and snacks, I mean which young people don’t? But how much money they spend on their digital interests and their sweet cravings is probably something which many people are unaware of, especially in relation to other children's spending.

In this blog we have used exclusive anonymised data from the Gimi app to unveil how often, how much and on what exactly children in Sweden spend their money on today.

Where the money is spent

During the first three months of 2020, Ica and Coop topped the number of purchases made with the Gimi card all three months in a row. These stores were also at the top of the list on where the kids spent the most money in January, February and March. In third place of the list for the amount of purchases was Hemköp and AppStore / iTunes, while H&M, Playstation Network and Microsoft competed for third place of the list for where the children spent the most money.

Based on these figures, it is possible to assume that Saturday sweets, snacks, mobile games and apps are what children are used to paying for themselves and what they buy on a regular basis. More expensive things, such as TV- and computer games or clothes, makeup and accessories, instead seem to be things children put money aside for such as creating dreams and wishes in the Gimi app.

How the money is spent

We found that 95% of children with the Gimi card made more than one purchase per month during January, February and March 2020. In January and February, 5% of Gimi card users made more than 19 purchases a month! The median value for the number of monthly purchases was 4 with Saturday being a popular choice of day to use the card, we could hypothesize this as purchases similar to “Saturday candy from the grocery store”.

However, how much a child spends per month varies quite considerably. This could be linked to whether or not a child reached a dream. Also perhaps if an expensive large item or lots of smaller items were purchased. The study showed that 95% of Gimi card users bought items worth more than SEK 35 during March and that 5% bought items more than SEK 1326 during the same month. The median this month, on the other hand, was SEK 258, which, in relation to the median for the number of purchases, gives a value of about SEK 65 per purchase. If it is a high or low number is up to every individual to decide, but it can be good to have in the back of your head when you evaluate your child's spendings.


Do you think your child wastes too much money on sweets and snacks or perhaps you are seeing your child finding it difficult to save up for their dream?

If so, it could be the perfect time to use the Dream calculator! Inside the Dream Calculator, the child can learn both visually and interactively the correlation between achieving a dream and the amount of money they spend on sweets and unnecessary stuff. Through the Dream Calculator, the child can themselves weigh how much is needed to put aside per week to reach the dream within a certain time frame. In addition, we also recommend an inspiring video about saving money that you can watch together with your child- simply scroll down on this page and take a look!

Maturity for digital shopping

As mentioned earlier, children are now very digital and their most common purchases after Saturday sweets and snacks are connected to the mobile phone or the computer. Ultimately the timing for when a young person can start buying things online is up to the parents, therefore Gimi has added a feature in the app where you as a parent can easily turn off and turn on internet purchases for your child with a Gimi card.

The financial understanding for children may vary, but when it comes to online shopping, age seems to have a certain significance. Of the 7-year-olds using the Gimi card, 13% of parents have switched off the function for Internet purchases, while the figure for 10-year-olds is 8.6%. From this, we can see that the majority of parents do not seem to see any major risk of their children buying things online. One reason for this may be that parents with children using the Gimi card have full control over when and where the transactions are made!

“The kids know that their parents get a notification every time they buy something with the Gimi card. This means that many children are needing to evaluate an additional time before buying something. Having to confront their parents is something many children want to avoid, which is why the Gimi card also becomes a way to exercise impulse control.”
Sofie von Krusenstierna, Behavioral Scientist and Community Manager at Gimi

For more information about the Gimi card and at what age it is advisable to switch from cash to digital money, you can read more here: When is my child ready for their own card?

The grocery store - An ideal opportunity to learn

The fact that grocery stores are where children both make the largest amount of purchases as well as spend most of their money is clear. An idea for parents could be to actually use this environment to give kids some practice around budgeting by teaching them price comparisons around the store as you do your weekly shop.

Check out the list below of how you can give your child a task next time you go to the grocery store, and get inspiration from the dinner challenge video by Zoe on YouTube! And don’t forget, most kids like to have tasks to solve so try and make learning about money fun where you can.

Here are 3 examples of price comparison exercises you can do with your children:

  1. Let your child compare the kilo price on the breakfast cereals and tell you which option gives the most cereals for the money.

  2. Let your child find out how much they would save by buying a pack of 10 ice creams compared to buying 10 single pieces of ice cream.
  3. Let your child find out what is cheapest, to buy 500 grams of nuts by weight or 500 grams of nuts in a bag.

By giving children exercises like these, it can open their eyes for what things cost and create an understanding of how they can make alternative choices that cost less money. Maybe the child chooses the more expensive alternative anyway, but then it is an active choice and the child has learned to value price against quality.

Are you ready for smarter pocket money?