Parents with adult children living under their roof spend £1,200 a year more on essential items than those families whose children have moved out, new research has revealed.
A report from the Centre for Modern Family - a think tank set up by insurer Scottish Widows - found that the monthly household amount spend by those with a 'full nest' at home was £460 a month, compared to just £360 for mums and dads who have seen their children leave home for good.
There are 2.7 million homes in the UK with one or more adult living at home, with 26% of those aged 20 to 34 still living with mum and dad, meaning the cost to families nationally is a staggering £3.2 billion a year.
Parents are having to make greater financial sacrifices to cover the additional household costs. Nearly a third of parents (31%) who have their children still at home have had to cut spending on vital items such as groceries, while 16% have had to take out a loan, spent on credit cards or gone overdrawn, compared to just 7% of families whose children no longer live with them.
Worryingly, 31% said they are contributing less to their savings because of the financial burden, while one in four (28%) said they are spending their savings to meet everyday costs.
Some 44% of 'full nesters' said their current financial focus is providing for their family, compared to 23% of 'empty nesters' but many of them are conscious they are compromising on their future financial security.
Nearly a quarter (24%) said they wished they were able to focus on planning for the future instead of the present.
Carolyn Fairbairn, chair of the Centre for the Modern Family, said: "This research highlights the very real pressures being felt by full nesters as a result of the rapid emergence of the 'never fledged generation'.
"With many parents raiding their savings or putting their retirement plans on hold to cover the cost of their adult children still living under their roof, we need to ask ourselves what the longer term implications of these trends are, and what this means for the financial well-being of these parents."