Summer budgeting tips to ease family financial stress


The summer holidays are without a doubt a welcomed break but can also quickly become a very expensive time for most families. It often feels like we cannot leave the front door without spending money and even "free days" can add up when you factor in petrol, parking and any snacks you may need to pick up on the go. What should be a fun time making memories together can quickly become a stressful one especially if you work freelance and are having to take time off to look after your kids which can cause even more of a pinch on the finances.

We all know that money itself cannot buy happiness or true fulfilment but on the flip side it does ease stress and financial worry which can way heavy on families. No matter how we get around money can affect relationships but by working together, planning for the future and having good communication means you can often avoid any major issues and create a real sense of stability. I always find the summer holidays come really quickly and I do like to be prepared to make sure costs don't spiral out of control and we can stick to what we have planned. We always have a few activities that are real treats and are on-offs so will cost more but between these we try to keep costs to a minimum so I thought I would share a few ways you can stay on budget this summer and keep stress levels down.

1. Plan your activities

Every summer I sit down with my boys and I ask them what they really want to do, if there is a special outing they are looking forward too or films they can to see at the cinema for example. We also write down all our favourite and often free local destinations such as a day at the beach, walks up the forest, different parks to explore around Cardiff. We use the "free" activity days to space out the ones that may cost admission and this way we have a clearer view of what we want to do.

2. Prepare packed lunches

As a society we spend so thousands of pounds eating out and it's one of the biggest areas we can save money on and also a very simple one. Like most parents I prepare a packed lunch for my eldest when he goes to school and simply following through with that on days out saves so much money. A simple sandwich, fruit and plenty of water can help keep off any hangry meltdowns as well as keep your bank balance happy.

3. Save throughout the year

Even if you are not going away for the holidays and plan to keep things low key I would recommend budgeting around £10-£15 per day for two children and one adult as this should help cover petrol, parking and the odd treat or cup of coffee while out. You could simply set up a savings plan of some sort or a tax-free amount with an ISA with a reputable company such as Shepherds Friendly. Having a lump sum at the start of the summer holidays will certainly make things less stressful.

4. Embrace the outdoors

There are so many fantastic places outdoors to explore across the UK from country parks and castle ruins many of which are free. Also simple activities such as a water fight or building a den in your back garden cost very little if nothing at all. Getting outdoors is not only good for your pocket but also for your fitness and wellbeing and the summer holidays are the perfect place to embrace it.

5. Get Social

If your kids are getting bored and climbing up the wall why not invite some friends around for a playdate. You can keep things nice and simple with a few activities and crafts planned inside the house and garden or take a stroll to the park - the main thing is playdates are great for keeping kids entertained with little extras needed even if it's raining as you can plan an indoor cinema with homemade snacks.

6. Google It

You will be surprised how many free or low cost events are happening in your local area and this where google comes in. It's really worth spending a couple of hours researching local groups and summer events and check community hubs such as your local Library which usually host some special events.

7. Free Activity Ideas

Here are a few ideas for those long summer days and have been a hit with my kids - Baking, get creative with lego, collect stones and decorate them, have an at-home dance party, have a go at face-painting, go bug-hunting, dress up, visit the library or local park, go rock-pooling, wash the car, get dirty gardening. These are just a few ideas but imagination is limitless and it really doesn't need to be costly.

 When your working to a budget research and planning is key and not overly time consuming but will save you a lot of money. Remember these days may be long but the years go by so quickly so the main thing is to laugh and have fun and not get fixated on the latest tech or material product. Quality family time is often when you keep things simple and create real meaningful memories. If your looking for more inspiration I have also written a post about our No-spend weekend which has some more suggestions.

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  1. Really soild tips as it can be surprising how expensive having the kids at home can be! Saving before hand is key

    Jo x

    1. So glad you enjoyed it and find it useful and yes to saving


  2. I embrace our local library Summer Reading Challenge, not only does it encourage kids to keep reading but they run loads of free events too!

    1. Ohh yes the local Library is such a great spot, always tons going on and free

      Laura x

  3. Preparation and planning is definitely key to being able to have lots of family fun without it paying crazy amounts. Mich x

    1. I totally agree, preparation certainly helps save money

      Laura x


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