How To Manage The Cost Of Entertaining The Kids This Summer (Not To Mention Back-To-School Expenditure)
How to manage the cost of entertaining kids this summer (not to mention back-to-school expenditure)
If you’re worried about the cost of entertaining kids this summer, you’re not alone. It’s been estimated the average family spends £389 on entertaining the kids during the summer holidays.¹
Ecommerce marketplace Groupon surveyed 3,000 parents and found that 9% started planning and saving for the school summer holidays up to six months beforehand. Furthermore, 35% of parents had to cut back on their everyday spending at the end of the summer because they’d spent too much during the school holidays.¹
So in the light of this, what can you do to ease your financial situation at this time of year? Here are just a few ideas to help you manage the cost of entertaining the children and deal with the inevitable back-to-school expenditure.
Prioritise your spending
Prioritising essential outgoings, such as rent, mortgage payments or council tax, allows you to steer clear of serious financial trouble. You’re not risking the roof over your head and will still be able to buy the groceries to feed your family.
It’s so easy to get carried away when you’re planning activities with the kids and spend money that’s already allocated somewhere else. Don’t assume you’ll be able to catch up with priority payments later on, however – once you start getting behind with these, it won’t be long before you’re in serious debt.
Make a budget
By carefully budgeting before the summer begins, you may find areas where you can cut back. Knowing exactly where your money goes means you can consciously reduce your outgoings wherever possible, and potentially find some extra money to spend on taking the kids for a day out.
Perhaps there are one or two subscriptions that could be cancelled, for example, or a cheaper supermarket that you could try, plus getting into the habit of cooking meals from scratch when you’re at home will save some money in its own right, and is a good precedent to set for the whole year.
Find free or low-cost activities in your area
Make full use of the internet by searching for free activities in your area. You should be able to find a few deals on days out, or coupons and vouchers for money off entry to kids’ attractions. Theme parks can be particularly expensive for families, but with a ‘2 for 1’ offer on admissions, or a meal deal when you’re there, you’ll all enjoy a great day out without it breaking the bank.
The best ideas for free activities depend on how old your children are, but could include such pursuits as story time at the local library, walks or bike rides in the countryside, or hopscotch and skipping games.
Make some extra money
You can make a surprising amount of money by selling unwanted items on the internet. Children’s clothes and toys are great sellers, for example, but also books and CDs. Online questionnaires and surveys are also a good way for you to earn a little more, and these can be completed from the comfort of your own home after the children have gone to bed.
Get the children involved with money
If your children are old enough you can introduce them to the realities of managing money, albeit with small amounts at first. They’ll begin to understand that money is finite, and they can’t have everything they want.
Plan ahead for the next school holidays
It’s never too early to plan ahead financially – even getting ready for next summer. By planning well ahead you’ll have a rough idea of how much the summer holidays will cost and can put a little bit of money aside in advance.
What about back-to-school costs?
The cost of school uniforms and all the other ancillary bits and pieces the children need for the new term can be the final straw for your finances at the end of the summer holidays, so what can you do to help yourself financially in this respect?
- If you have more than one child at the same school and the uniform is in decent condition, you could hand it down to a younger brother or sister.
- Buying school uniform towards the end of the summer holidays is a good idea. Children grow so quickly and this way you can also make sure they get the most wear out of their uniform.
- Some schools operate second-hand uniform sales when the end of the holidays is approaching – this can offer huge savings as you don’t have to buy new items.
- Giving a slightly older child some money to buy their own stationery or other school items can teach them about money management, particularly if you let them keep the change.
For families on low incomes, dealing with school summer holiday costs adds stress to an already challenging financial situation. Keeping the children entertained can be expensive, but with a little planning and budgeting, hopefully it won’t impact too heavily on family finances at this time or during the rest of the year.
By Ann Haldon