Summer is officially here. Whilst it’s wonderful to see the sun shining and be able to get outdoors so much, there are some big financial implications. If you’re a parent, then the summer holidays can prove particularly expensive. Whether it’s days out, or extra childcare, it’s easy to let your finances run out of control when the school holidays hit. But, there are some simple things you can do to help with saving money in the summer holidays.
Why do we spend more in the summer holidays?
There are so many reasons we reach into our pockets more in the summer holidays. For a start, here in the UK the children are generally off school for around 6 weeks. That’s a long time! I’m guilty of trying to make sure they enjoy their summer which often means getting them out of the house and dragging them for great days out that I hope they’ll remember when they grow up. I want them to look back on their childhood and remember the happy times they had in the summer.
For some reason, and I don’t know if this is just my children, but the kids seem to eat so much more food when they’re off school! I have to rein in their eating so that my weekly shop actually does last a week! When they’re at school, they’re quite happy with their breakfast, packed lunch, snack after school, and their evening meal. But when they’re off they seem to want to graze all day.
Finally, if you’re a working parent, then the school holidays may bring the added expense of childcare. And this doesn’t come cheap. Free childcare places don’t run in the holidays, and if you’ve got older children then you’ve got the added cost of childcare for them whilst school’s closed.
Saving money in the summer holidays
You may well be dreading the school holidays simply because of how much money it’s going to cost you. Whilst I can’t wave a magic wand and make all that extra expense disappear, there are a few things you can do to ease the pain and help with saving money in the summer holidays.
Unfortunately, if you don’t have family nearby then you’re likely to have to suck up the childcare costs. I’m really fortunate in that I work from home. It’s not 100% ideal when the children are home but it does mean that at least we don’t have that extra expense, and the children are at home with familiar surroundings.
If working from home is an option for you, then the school holidays can be much easier to handle. If you sign up to my free email course, I share lots of ways we make ends meet and the things I do that enable me to work from home.
Also, it’s worth speaking to other parents. If you only work a few days a week, you might be able to share childcare with another parent who only works a few days too. I know this seems unlikely, but I actually know of at least three sets of parents at our school that do exactly that.
With the kids having an average of six weeks off school, it’s likely you’re planning at least one day out! We’ve decided against having a holiday this summer as we’re saving up at the moment. But, we have both got some time off work and we’re planning on some days out to make the most of it.
Days out can quickly become incredibly expensive if you plan ahead. Entry prices, travel, food and drink can all mean that a few days out quickly adds up to hundreds of pounds.
Entry prices – look out for 2 for 1 offers on bags of chocolate and cereal packets.
You can also get great discounts with kids pass.
It’s also worth keeping an eye on local Facebook groups for days out too. I’ve recently seen an enormous list of fantastic days out in our local area that I never knew about, and lots of them are free to enter too.
Travel – parking can cost a bomb, plan ahead by researching online for the best and cheapest places to park. Even if it means a short walk, you could save yourself a fortune.
Food and drink – make sure you pack a picnic and take plenty of drinks with you. When the weather is hot, drinks are a must. Pack food that won’t melt or easily get squashed. You can use cooler packs to keep the food fresh.
It’s so easy to just spend more when the children are off school. In the school holidays, every trip to the supermarket for me involves all three children asking for things. I find it so much easier to plan ahead and shop online. I try to meal plan every week, particularly during the school holidays. I find that if I sit down and plan out what we’ll be eating, I spend far less than when I just wing it. This also stops the temptation of throwing extra stuff in the trolley that we just don’t need! Make sure you buy foods that you can take out with you so that you’re not having to do expensive top up shops during the week.
It’s also important to know your budget and stick to it. Sit down and work out exactly how much money you have to spend on food, drinks, entertainment etc, and then stick to it. You really don’t want to be sitting here when the children have gone back to school totting up exactly how much you’ve overspent by. Budget, then meal plan, then plan your days out.
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