Schools are out for the summer, which can be a challenge for many parent’s budgets.
Seeing as I don’t have kids, this felt like the obvious topic for this month’s guest post. So I invited fellow money blogger Cass Bailey, from the SHOMO winning blog The Diary of a Frugal Family to share her thoughts on keeping costs down. Over to Cass.
School summer holiday money tips
Aside from Christmas, the summer holidays are probably the most expensive time of year for most families. Six weeks of entertaining the kids can be super expensive but it really doesn’t have to be if you’re careful and as my two are now 14 and 12th this is my tenth Summer Holiday so I like to think of myself as a bit of a Summer Holiday expert.
I thought you might like to hear my top five tips for saving money in the summer holidays:
Don’t stop meal planning
With some clever planning, meal planning is THE best way to shave some money off your monthly budget and I know from personal experience just how much you can go over budget when you don’t meal plan. Lots of people tend to relax their meal planning over the summer though or even stop altogether while the kids are off school which must cost a fortune! I totally understand why though because it’s definitely harder to meal plan during the Summer in our house, the kids are either out at tea time or they’re at home with friends who want to join us.
This means I could be cooking for any number of people so I need to think a bit more about what I plan. I like to cook things in my slow cooker like bolognese or chilli because I can bulk them out if we have extra guests using extra rice or spaghetti and a quick homemade garlic bread. I also make sure that I always have the ingredients for home made pizza in as I can make that feed a hungry hoard of kids in no time too.
Agree on a budget
We have a budget for Summer Holiday fun and we discuss as a family what we want to do – some years the kids want to spend it on a few big days out but more often than not they like as many days out as possible which we plan and spread out over the course of the six weeks. When they were younger we used to check the local libraries, parks and museums to see what free activities they had running and we’d mix them in with lazy days at home and a couple of bigger days out.
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Don’t feel pressured to do something every day
Honestly, if I took notice of social media then I’d probably feel like the world’s worst parent because I often see posts in my timeline about how everyone is here, there and everywhere with their kids in the holidays. That’s all well and good but I try and have at least as many days at home as we have out – the kids need to recharge their batteries and relax a little in my opinion. We spend time at home playing in the garden, baking, crafting, watching films and just generally being lazy some days and they’re some of our favourite days! The free days we have at home are probably more fun than our days out!
Share the childcare with a friend
When my two were a bit younger I teamed up with two other mums at school and we’d all have a day each week where we looked after all the kids which meant once a week I’d have five kids to entertain but twice a week I’d have two days clear so I could work without having to think about childcare. It was a huge weight off my mind as juggling childcare and work can be a nightmare at this time of year.
Try camping for a cheap break away
It’s nice to get away somewhere in the Summer, even if it’s somewhere close to home and the cheapest way to do this that I know of is to go camping. One of our best summer holiday trips was when we packed up our tent, drove to a campsite less than an hour away and camped on a super basic campsite for two nights. We booked it a couple of days before we went, borrowed a tent from someone we knew and ate bags of chips for tea.
Always keep in mind that when the kids are older, they won’t remember the money you spent on days out but they will remember the time you spend with them. Corny, but true!
You can read more guest posts from my fellow UK Money Bloggers once a month.