The Cost Of Keeping Kids Happy This Summer

It’s a well-known fact that the cost of holidays can multiply five-fold for the simple fact that it is school holidays. But even if you’re not jetting off for a bit of sun, sea and sandcastle building with your little ones, a recent survey has revealed that just keeping them busy while they’re on their summer break will cost the average parent nearly £500 this year – a 26 per cent increase on 2013.

On top of this an average £119 will be spent on petrol and a further £106 on childcare. It’s no wonder almost two thirds of parents admit to stressing about the cost of keeping their kids entertained in the holidays, and one in ten has said they would miss paying vital bills in order to cover costs.

The report, published by the Post Office, revealed parents also expect to see further damage done to their bank balance as they shell out an average of £66 on other people’s children. That’s a hell of a lot of ice cream!

While children all over the UK are eagerly awaiting the summer holidays, more parents than ever before (58 per cent) are still fretting about the cost of keeping their kids entertained – despite planning to spend more. Worryingly, nearly half of all parents also feel under pressure to keep up with other parents’ spending.

To cover costs, a quarter of carers expect to dip into savings, and a further 16 per cent would consider stopping saving altogether to make ends meet.  Nearly one in five will rely on their credit card (18 per cent), while 17 per cent are prepared to work overtime to boost the family’s monthly budgets. In an effort to keep costs down, one in 10 will rely on selling off unwanted possessions to pay for activities over the summer holiday.

When it comes to spending, the bulk of money will be spent on admission to theme parks and museums, mini-breaks, and eating out.

Many mums and dads conceded that they would also consider making personal sacrifices in order to keep up with their offspring’s demands. A third of all parents would give up buying new clothes, or miss out on their regular takeaways, and resist buying treats such as magazines or coffees this summer. Others would be forced to rely on more drastic methods as they watch their bank balance. Nearly one in ten admitted that they would skip paying household bills and around one in twenty might take another type of holiday – this time from their mortgage payments. Scary stuff! 

Nick Kennett, Director of Financial Services at Post Office, says:“The significant rise in parents’ spending this summer may be due to families feeling a renewed sense of confidence as the signs of economic recovery take hold.

“The summer holidays are an exciting time for all and while it’s important to keep your children entertained during the summer break, it’s a good idea to plan ahead and budget wisely. There are a number of ways to manage your finances, including options such as credit cards, savings and overdraft facilities, but it’s important to work out which one best suits your needs. It’s encouraging to see such a significant rise in the number of people saving in advance to cover their costs this year.”

So, what can you do to cushion the blow of a six week spendathon? Here’s a few tips….

  • Track down deals online, there are great discounts and 2 for 1 offers to be found to theme parks, the cinema, family days out and restaurants
  • Look out for offers at local attractions and events organised by local community groups, these are often free or at least very cheap
  • Travelling by train can also be cheaper if you book tickets in advance and avoid travelling at peak times
  • Many museums in London have free entry throughout the year
  • Whether you’re heading to the park, a museum or simply a day in town – take a packed lunch
  • Start saving a little every month from Christmas
  • Organise a fun day at home, inviting other families round, with everyone bringing a game or something to eat
Emily Cleary

Emily Cleary

After almost a decade chasing ambulances, and celebrities, for Fleet Street’s finest, Emily has taken it down a gear and settled for a (slightly!) slower pace of life in the suburbs. With a love of cheese and fine wine, Emily is more likely to be found chasing her toddlers round Kew Gardens than sipping champagne at a showbiz launch nowadays, or grabbing an hour out of her hectic freelancer’s life to chill out in a spa while hubby holds the babies. If only!


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