Sticking to a budget doesn’t have to ruin all the fun during the school holidays.
When we become adults we often forget that what counts as “fun” when you’re little is far simpler than we think it is. The most obvious example is the child who has been given an expensive toy in a big box, ignores the toy and spends all their time playing in the box instead. This is a good lesson to remember when it’s summer holiday time, as you don’t have to spend out on expensive trips and lots of treat food to ensure that everyone has fun – and your budget survives through until autumn.
We asked the guys over at the Solution Loans Money Matters Blog for their top tips for sticking to a budget, and here they are:
Request flexible working
If you’re working from home, or able to juggle your hours a bit more easily, then you’ll find it much simpler to make the time for your kids. Without the pressure of commuting and sitting at a desk during a nine to five working day you’ll be much more open to having fun with your family – and more creative about how you achieve this without spending. Plus, you’ll save money on childcare costs that can be put towards enjoyable days out and experiences.
Spontaneity is great for children to witness but the reality is that it often comes with a higher price tag. Planning ahead will give you the chance to identify the opportunities for fun and then find ways to make them cost less. For example, you could plan a trip to a theme park when there is a family discount in effect or have a pizza picnic when your local pizzeria has an offer on. If you want to keep the costs down this summer then planning ahead is going to be essential.
Ask the kids what they want to do with the budget
When they break up for the summer children often expect there to be an unlimited supply of activities and entertainment and they are rarely aware of the cost. Sitting down and having a family discussion about how to spend the money available can be fun, as well as educational. In addition to showing your kids what it’s like to manage money and budget (there’s more info here), you can also make them feel involved in planning their own summer. Plus, when they know what they have to look forward to, the anticipation will be even sweeter.
Do some thorough research
The starting point for every family in the summer is identifying what activities are available for free in the local area. Make a list of all your options, from a free local pool, to guided hikes, museum visits and free tickets to local attractions and then keep it for those moments when you’re at a loss as to how to keep everyone entertained. Next, look at the options for discounts, including restaurants where the kids can eat free and places that have group offers, such as reductions in the cost of cinema tickets. You might discover that – with a bit of research – you can find a way to have a lot of fun with the kids this summer without ending up out of pocket.