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Half of Parents Steal from Their Kids' Piggy Banks—Do You?

The Short of It

Nearly half of parents admit to raiding their kids' piggy banks on occasion.

The Lowdown

According to a new study from Nationwide Savings in England, 46 percent of moms and dads with kids ages 4 to 16 admit to dipping into their kids' piggy banks when they're running low on cash.

What was the top reason among the 2,000 surveyed? To score school lunch money. Other reasons include snagging funds for everything from school trips and bill paying, to bus fare, parking, and even the tooth fairy.

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And while moms were more likely to be the ones to moonlight as cat burglars, the dads who decided to get in on the action usually swiped bigger amounts.

Of course, the average amount pinched over the past 12 months was only around $30, but one in every 10 parents said they'd swiped almost $75 or more! And while most of the parental prowlers (93 percent) said they put the money back afterwards, only one-third actually confessed the crime to their child. Twenty-three percent just simply snuck the funds back in on the sly, but 14 percent even added on interest!

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"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," said Andrew Baddeley-Chappell, Nationwide's head of savings and mortgage policy. "Based on these findings, perhaps there are even more reasons for parents to encourage their kids to start the savings habit."

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The Upshot

I'm not gonna lie—I have totally hit up a piggy bank or two! I'm a debit card girl who rarely carries cash, so I've ripped off my own kids in order to pay the babysitter, more than once. And while I have never, ever confessed my misconduct to either of my offspring, I have always promptly returned the coinage posthaste.

I've never thought about adding interest though. But it's definitely something I'll take into consideration the next time—because, of course, there will probably be a next time!

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