For families, the school summer holidays should be the highlight of the year, spent full of days out, time together and creating great memories. At PayPlan, we are only too aware, however, that for many people, keeping the kids entertained over the summer can cause huge financial headaches.
Fortunately, money adviser Jane Clack, who herself has previously been in debt, has pulled some top tips together for families to ensure they have a fantastic summer without breaking the bank.
It’s no secret that travelling abroad has increased in price over the past couple of years thanks to the weak pound and for families this isn’t the only bugbear. Taking a trip abroad already posed a real challenge for parents with school-age children, with prices inevitably shooting up once the school holidays have begun. A stay-cation may be the answer for some – particularly with the recent beautiful weather. UK breaks can also be significantly cheaper, easier to organise and can still be exciting for the kids.
If you feel that the escape abroad can’t be compromised and if you’re flexible on destination and patient enough to book at the last minute, you can reveal some amazing deals. SkyScanner and Jack’s Flight Club can help with finding cheap flights for those looking to book accommodation separately, but it is also worth considering package deals, which can potentially to keep costs down.
Registering to savings sites such as Groupon, Wowcher and Quidco can offer the opportunity to save hundreds on days out and experiences over the summer. As well as providing inspiration for trips to get out of the house, these sites can also offer great discounts on a huge range of products including paddling pools, toys and games.
Travel on the cheap
With fuel prices continuing to rise, driving around the country for days out, or to visit family or friends can be too expensive for some. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to save valuable cash. Railcards, such as the Two Together or Family and Friends, allow adults to save a third on rail fares, and kids save 60%!
For long distance travel, taking advantage of cheaper bus fares through discounted operators such as Megabus and Sn-ap can get you and your families to major cities across the UK for as little as £2 each! Most inter-city and local public transport operators usually offer group tickets with discounts. Researching ahead of your journey can set aside valuable cash, which can be saved or put towards treats or further days out.
Find free activities
Having a great time doesn’t have to mean spending money! There are tonnes of places offering free entry, including museums and libraries, which are also likely to offer special events for kids during the summer. Take a look on local council’s website to see what events they are hosting over the holidays – the National Trust may also reveal a variety of activities to keep the kids entertained for free.
Plan with other parents
Childcare costs can be a massive drain on family finances over the long break from school but it doesn’t need to be. With the vast majority of families now containing two working parents, cooperating to organise days away from the office separately and taking it in turns to look after children will not only keep the kids happy, but also save a fortune on childcare.
Looking after a family without tugging too hard at the purse strings is a challenge at the best of times, but by planning ahead and using some innovation, you can still have a great summer on a budget.
This is a collaborated post.