Little Spenders

Where the kids rule the family finances!

Being taught basic money skills as a kid can help you progress in life. So we decided to try a fun experiment to see what would happen if the Bhaker family gave control of the weekly finances to their kids – and discover if they learned any lessons.

Episode 1: ‘We’ve never been in charge before!’

Imagine if you gave two children £500. Then put Mum and Dad’s debit card in their hands and offer them a week in charge of household spending – what on earth would happen next?

Let’s get this baby rolling It’s going to be a blast

Hi I’m mum.

I’m Stella and this is my beautiful family We are the Bhakers So this week you two are in charge of our weekly family budget You can spend the money on whatever you want I don’t want to pay the bills You don’t have to pay the bills I’m going to buy my own dog Okay Excited, but the nerve-racking part is will they remember that we need to eat.

Bit Nervous Mum: This is where the fun begins, it’s all up to you now It felt a little weird to me because we’ve never been in charge before Mum: Them learning life skills of money and the value of money is really important for us We can just go wild, we can go crazy in the shops Daughter: I like lollies Son: I’m going to get some popcorn Son: Dad, can you reach for the orange lollipops please?

Son: Dad Son: Dad Son: DAD, can you help me get some magnets?



there is a lot of sugar going into the trolley.

A little bit concerned about that Do you want maybe chocolate powder so you don’t have to have your chocolate straws with your milk?

Okay Cashier: That’s £41.

82 please Didn’t get actually proper food, we only got snack food, but I don’t know if it could feed the whole family for a week, no, definitely not Daughter: Starters.

Salted caramel brownie Ricebox, Margherita Po Po Chicken… Double chicken burgers A whole chicken, yeah probably look at that one They’re really good Delivery Driver: Here you go Might not make it beyond Tuesday at this point and we might just be all high on sugar Next time I would probably get, not sweets, but more proper food so we could feed the family not just like kind of junk food, you know Mum: Is this for me and Dad?

Dad: Excellent Daughter: This looks cute for the baby I just want it to be fast

Episode 2: A spa and petting zoo: the bills begin to pile up

Watch as the Bhaker children budget for a petting zoo in our second instalment. What could possibly go wrong?

Sienna: Mum and dad gave us the weekly budget

Ressio: Popcorn

Sienna: Crisps, chocolate milk

Sienna: Me and Ressio we are looking at a petting zoo today

A lizard

Guinea pigs


I really want to get one of those

Sienna: Well I do think it is a little bit expensive but we are going to see all of the animals for all of that

Ressio: Oh my God

Aw, they are so cute!

What’s that bird called?

Animal Handler: That is my laughing kookaburra

Sienna: I thought that was a woodpecker

Looks so cute

Animal Handler: What are skunks most commonly known for doing?

Ressio: Farts

Ressio: Ahh she’s really fluffy

Wasn’t surprised that she went all out with the petting zoo

Legs are starting to move fast

Animal Handler: And we will give her nuggets as well

Sienna: Nuggets!

Ressio: I eat nuggets!

Animal Handler: Not chicken nuggets

We can have two of these can’t we?

I do think it was worth £130

Ressio: Shall we do this one?

Sienna: Oh this one. This one

Today I would love kind of like a spa day for mum and dad.

Maybe do a couple of fun things for maybe us.

Pools, bubble guns, waterslide

Oooh I really like this big, big, big, big, big grey one

Sienna: This is a surprise for you guys

From let’s go all out they started to calm down...

Consider. They’ve realised the budget is going down. What would mum and dad do during the week on that budget as well, which was really nice

Ressio: Dad you’re getting a facial massage

Sienna: And mum you’re getting your nails done


Ressio: You have to try and pop them Sienna

Dad: Look at that

We were gonna get a hot tub but it was too expensive so then we got a pool

Ressio: Oooh, look at that big one

I think they felt like,  let’s get out and do the things we love but more on a budget

Mum & Dad: Go

Ressio: I thought it was easy, this is hard

Mum: Now keep going

Dad: Give it some power

Nails for mum and massage for dad.

I feel it was worth it!

We have still got a bit of money left but probably going to be empty before end of Friday maybe

Dad: Hole in one

I’m ready

Episode 3: Did they blow the budget?

It's their final two days in charge of household finances – see what the Bhaker kids learn in Episode 3 of Little Spenders.  

Mum and Dad gave us the weekly budget


Guinea pigs


We are looking at go karts today


On a normal car you don’t like

You don’t actually have fun going fast

Yeah it’s just like

because then the police will arrest you

Practice sessions

Thirty pounds

Let’s book it

Lovely to see that she considered her brother when it came to the go karting

I sound weird like I’m in space

Let’s get ready!

And a sports car came


A supercar turned up for twenty minutes

Mum: So they’ve considered how much it cost them

Dad: Err yes

Do you want to get in it and have a little ride of it?

Oh I don’t know how to drive

No you don’t have to drive

Let’s get this baby rolling

Today I would love to do some golf

Hole in one?

and with the rest of our budget we can afford it

Yes I think we can

Sienna how much did this all cost today?

Twenty-eight pounds

Dad: Is that for all of us?


Boys win!

So how do you think your budget is going so far for the week?

We are thinking carefully about money and being aware of what we are spending

Dad: Ohhh well done!

Okay mum and dad this is our Bollywood night!

It’s just lovely that they’ve finished off with a Bhangra night and done something that we do on a Friday but just on a bigger scale

Dad do you want to start your drumming?


I feel like the experience has helped our kids with money skills,making them more aware that if we spend something it gets deducted

And I think that’s been shown throughout the week where we’ve spent big money started to go down

I did learn something about money

you need to be careful what you’re buying

Would we give the weekly budget again?

Maybe every two years


Learning to use money early helps kids when they’re older

Through Barclays LifeSkills, we’re here to support parents and help kids build their Moneyverse for the first time. Our useful hints, tips and fun tools can help youngsters to understand and learn about money.

Needs and wants

This interactive tool helps young people think about the differences between needs and wants, and how these might affect spending habits.

Saving money and sticking to a budget

Saving money and keeping to a budget are skills you’re never too young to learn. Help your child understand the importance of money management by having them try to plan a weekly budget.

Start a conversation with kids about cash

Timely chats about spending and saving at a young age can help to nurture a healthy relationship with money for the future. Why not get your children to guess what the shopping adds up to?

Meet the Bhakers

Sabella and Ravi Bhaker, a couple from Manchester, gamely took up our challenge to see how their whole family would fare with eight-year old daughter Sienna and six-year old son Reissio holding the purse strings.

"Amazing fun!" was the natural response from the children – cue wild supermarket scenes, trips to go-kart tracks, a spin in a Lamborghini and enough sugar to last a lifetime. 

But another reaction from Sienna and Reissio to the money was much more surprising: "Be careful and don’t go wild". Both kids began to look closely at prices and work out the value of what they bought. They also watched their budget like a hawk – and ended up with some money left on the last day to spoil their parents. 

We spoke to the Bhakers a week after the cameras left to find out how it went. Here are five memorable lessons from their experience…

1. Reissio: “We hired a blue Lamborghini, and Dad held a skunk.”

As expected, fun came first. Taking Mum and Dad’s bank card felt like a magical treat, and the children let their imagination run riot. 

From mini-golf to track racing, a spa and home visit from a petting zoo (rabbits, owls, skunks), the kids decided to spend a big chunk of the budget on entertainment for the family. 

Reissio says: “We got to go Dino-golfing, go-karting, had a petting zoo come to our house – where Dad held a skunk, and even went in a blue Lamborghini! It was fantastic, and my Dad went round the track with the owner.”

Sienna adds: “We were really nervous at the start, and I was also a bit shocked we’d be able to do it but was very happy because I knew Mum and Dad wouldn’t be able to have a say in what we bought or what we did. We could just choose, so even if Mum and Dad had to have McDonalds for dinner, they couldn’t say anything!”

Rather than the supercar being a personal indulgence though, the Lamborghini ride was actually a sisterly treat for Reissio. 

And Sabella was impressed with how Sienna got to grips with the budget to make sure the surprise car treat was affordable. 

“I was listening to Sienna talk to Reissio about the budget and could see that she was also thinking about the secret fast car experience for him. She was working out how to incorporate it into their spending but not tell him about it.”

2. Sienna: “I’d never let us get to day two and only have £10 left.”

Despite the trips and supercar experience, fears of a big budget blow-out proved unfounded, to Ravi and Sabella’s great surprise.

They noticed that Sienna and Reissio quickly picked up on money skills like budgeting and the need to keep enough money for the whole week – knowing if it all disappeared, there’d be no way to get any more.

Sienna says: “I would say to Reissio ‘We can have this, it isn’t too much money – and so we can have a lot of money left at the end of the week.’

I was kind of in charge of what to buy, what to do, what activities, and to see that if we got to day two and only had £10 left, I would never let that happen.”

In particular, Ravi was taken aback by how quickly they adapted to the implications of a budget. 

“I was genuinely surprised, I thought they were going to blow the whole budget on day one,” he says. 

“It was quite cool to see them start by going for the expensive approach, ‘let’s go all out!’ – buy what they want, not a care in the world – and then to gradually think, hold on, we’ve only got this much left. 

Sienna is just starting to touch on monetary value in school as well, and we like to teach her where we can, so she started to realise, ‘hold on, if we carry on like this, we’re really going to get to day three and we’re going to be out of budget’. It was really nice to see them actually think about that and for her to direct Reissio and say ‘look, we can’t get that but let’s do this’.”

3. Ravi: “The kids stayed true to our home values – it wasn’t like ‘let’s hire a private jet to Disneyland!’”

Our experiment also brought out another financial approach from Sienna and Reissio that their parents did not expect – a focus on keeping it close to family.

Ravi says: “The £500 was quite a lot of money for a child to have, and so I was very happy that they didn’t get carried away with it. They budgeted for a normal family life rather than going crazy.

They thought about home life. They stayed true to some of our home values – it wasn’t like ‘we’ve got the family budget, let’s go on a private jet to Disneyland’.”

Sabella adds: “Before they even thought of what to do with the money, they talked about our family activities – they wanted to incorporate that so everyone got to benefit from the money.

On the last day, they did a Bollywood theme night – our Fridays are cinema, movie, chill out, takeaway nights, where we watch films and put bhangra on. And it was so nice to see how they considered me and Ravi and include it as part of their weekend.”

4. Reissio: “With money, I learned that you’ve got to be careful – you can’t just go out and be wild.”

Even at such tender years, both children learned very quickly that the money needed to be looked after. As well as paying for big-ticket items like fancy trips and treats, it needed to cover off everyday expenses too.   

“I learned that you’ve got to be careful when buying, you can’t just go out and be wild and stuff – you need to think about food and petrol and things,” says Reissio.

Sienna adds: “I learned that some things can be very expensive and other things can be very cheap, and you need to be really careful of what you buy. So, in the supermarket, look if a bottle of juice costs £19 – you could get two massive cartons [of the same] for the same price.”

Ravi admits he was amazed to see them learn such an attitude at such a young age.

“I’m shocked and impressed! It’s been really amazing to see,” he says.

The weekly supermarket shop, though, did see them go to town – spending the best part of £40 on sugary treats including sweets, chocolates, snacks, cakes, cookie dough and ice-creams. “It was enough sugar to knock you out,” says Sienna.

5. Sabella: “This whole experience has taught the kids how to appreciate money.”

Both Ravi and Sabella have been quietly astonished by how swiftly the children began to think differently about money once they were in charge.

“It’s definitely had an impact” says Sabella. “After the filming, we popped into a homeware store where Reissio picked up a toy he wanted and then Sienna said ‘well he’s got that so I’d like this’.

But the toy she wanted was double the price of her brother’s, so she went off and thought about it. And she came back and chose something for the equivalent price – two bottles of paint and some nice paint brushes.

This whole experience has taught them about money and how to appreciate money because before, they’d walk into a shop and say ‘Can we have this? Can we have that?!’”