School holidays are upon us and, if you have school-aged children, that’s likely to mean days out, trips, treats and probably some tantrums too (keeping it real here!)
A recent media report suggested some families spend nearly £1400 on entertaining their children over the summer holidays, with 1 in 5 families saying they find it stressful entertaining over the holidays.
The other thing school holidays often bring is expense, and if money is already a concern then having a budget, a plan and a good old fashioned packed lunch might help you.
One of the things we pride ourselves on at IVAorg is keeping things realistic. We know the school holidays mean days out, ice creams and family trips. This time is important, and it’s not realistic to say you won’t spend anything over the next six weeks.
Having a budget and a well-stocked fridge will mean you can go in to the holidays with a bit more peace of mind about what you’re likely to be spending and, more importantly, make sure your ‘holiday budget’ is spent on the good stuff like entrance fees, ice creams and train fares rather than half-eaten meal deals.
Having a budget for ‘entertainment’ over the holidays is key, as is ensuring your money is spent on activities you wanted to do rather than on things you didn’t plan for. Sometimes a pop out to the shop (Home Bargains, anyone?) and before you know it you’ve spent £20 on a load of stuff you didn’t even know you needed. Ring fencing that money for your activities ensures you’re spending on the things that you planned for you and your family.
No spend days
You won’t need us to tell you that most children are at their happiest with a trip to the local park, bike ride, jumping in mud and anything else relating to the outdoors. Earmarking some days as ‘no spend’ means you can keep focused on free activities, removing the temptation to go anywhere where you’d need to open your wallet. Check out any local community events, days and schemes which may be running as well as local libraries who are usually a hive of activity over the summer.
The secret weapon to a less stressful (note not stress free 🤣) and more economical summer holiday. I’m a huge fan of a packed lunch. It does require a bit of planning and prep, but having a well-stocked fridge and taking lunch on your days out has many benefits:
- Less waste – packing what your family like and will eat means they’re more likely to eat, and you’re less likely to throw away
- Cheaper – goes without saying that stocking up on bread, crackers, fruit, snacks, sandwich fillers etc. from the supermarket will keep you going for days as opposed to £20 on half-eaten, pre-packaged meal deals
- More money for ice cream – my kids love an ice cream (remember when a 99 was actually 99p?) I’d rather buy that, or a different kind of treat for them, than sandwiches they don’t like or won’t eat.
- Get everyone involved – if your kids are a bit older you can get them involved in snack-gate too – list writing, buying, prepping, etc. – they’ll hopefully love helping and you might even get a few minutes peace.
All in all, it’s not realistic to think you won’t spend more over the summer. You will, but come September, you don’t want that to have become a burden for you. Having a plan, a budget and a packed lunch are three steps to helping you have a more enjoyable summer. If you’ve got any top tips yourself then we’d love to hear them on our Facebook page!