Tips on saving for the school summer holidays


Bournemouth Alun Chine

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Can you believe the summer holidays are nearly upon us, while it's a time that both my kids and I look forward to all year but in all honesty I am also guilty of having that feeling of slight dread, not because I find having the kids at home all day hard (I love having them at home) but because of the financial implications it has, as like many I work, freelance and from home and on top of losing any day time working hours during the summer holidays it also happens to be one of the most expensive times of the year - not a great combo when your earning the least but spending the most.

No matter what your situation whether you work full time, are a single parents, a freelancer or a stay at home mom, I thought I would share a few tips on how to have a little bit more in the pot when it comes to the summer holidays, even with only a few weeks to go.

Empty the penny Jar

We have a big penny jar where we pop our 1p, 2p and 5p coins and we empty it twice a year - just before the summer holidays and just before Christmas and while these coins on their own have very little value you will be surprised how quickly it adds up - within around 6 months we usually have anywhere between £45-70 in small change which we then take to the bank. This is a really nice little bonus with no work or time going into it and it equates to a few ice-creams when at the beach or coffee and cake stops when we are out on our adventures.

saving money

It's not too late to put money aside weekly

With a few weeks to go it's still not too late to tighten your belt and go without your daily coffee or weekend bottle of wine and put £10-20 aside each week and if you do have a partner get them to do the same. Even in this short space of time, together you can save over £100 which can really come in handy over the summer, even if it just means it will help cover petrol and parking for those free days out at the local park.

Make a clear summer bucket list with mainly free activities

For big attractions, summer is their biggest earner and can sometimes hike the prices up which is why we focus on mainly free things to do in summer with the odd special paid-for treat. We make a clear list of things we want to do, some of our favourites are - geocaching (the app is free to download), hiking up local peaks (just pack a picnic), trips to lesser-known (and less crowded) beaches, gardening and playing in the garden, visiting local country parks etc.

eating apple

Check online for discounts

The great thing about the internet is the easy access to online discounts for everything from cinema trips to amusement parks, so if you are planning on some day trips over summer it's really worthwhile searching for online discounts which can save you up to 50% off making it far more affordable. There are also a few websites which offer discount cards for £1 for the first month and you can cancel at any time - Day Out With The Kids offers this kind of membership with 35% off cinema trips it's worth taking the £1 deal for a month over summer.

Break up the summer with a budget friending camping/glamping or YHA stay

If you haven't booked a trip abroad this summer don't let yourself get down when your seeing everyone else swanning off to sunny destinations. My kids love staycations and will never turn down a couple of nights under canvas or exploring the coast and countryside of the UK. Camping can be a very budget friendly option with some pitches only costing around £12 a night - you just need to do some research. Websites such as Groupon often have excellent glamping deals over summer and it's worth checking out. We are also huge fans of YHA for a quick night away and last year we had a brilliant stay in St Briavels castle - yes a castle, in the Wye Valley which cost only £35 for the night!

Glamping Cwmcarn
Glamping in Cwmcarn Forest 

Have a budget and stick to it

No matter what kids cost money so having a very clear budget for days out is really important as it can quickly spiral out of control. There are easy ways to reducing extra costs, many which I have listed above but also always take your own food, remember to pack those reusable water bottles are buying drinks out can quickly rack up an extra £15. Make sure you research places before you go for any hidden costs and if you can do put a little aside for those treats such as ice-cream at the beach - it's often the small things that go a long way and to a child who doesn't have much concept of cost, an ice-cream or a big meal out are the same things so just make sure to focus more on the small. 

Get family and friends to help if you have to work during the holidays

Like I said the summer holidays can be an expensive time, many of us work and are unable to take 6 weeks off, instead, it's about finding a workable balance and you may have to work for some of the duration of the holidays and summer clubs can be incredibly expensive. This is the time to call in favours and if you have grandparents that are able to step in, don't feel bad about that. My two boys go to my mothers once or twice a week in summer and it's a real lifesaver for me to catch up on work during the holidays. Another option is sharing childcare with friends, perhaps you are able to just work part-time and you can babysit your friend's child on the days you are free and visa versa. It's always worth checking out as many options as possible.  The less stressed you are the better you can enjoy the moments you have free with your kids.

caravan glamping
The boy's grandmothers are a huge help during the holidays.

If you are struggling financially explore options

Things like the school holidays shouldn't be stressful or cause real financial constraint but for some it really does, we all go through up's and downs but it's really important to talk to people, this could be friends, family or places like the Money advice service. Talking to your bank can also be an option although not everyone has ideal credit and you may not be looking for a long term commitment to cover the 6 weeks of the summer holidays. There are some well-established and reputable short-term loan lenders on the market and as long as you have read all the terms and conditions and know you can make the repayments a no credit check loan could be a good option depending on your circumstances.

At the end of the day, the school summer holidays should be a joyous time and you really don't need to be splashing the cash to have a good time as some of the most simple joys cost nothing. Get outdoors more, embrace nature more and focus on quality family time, plus putting down the phone and screens is a good idea too, especially if you start to get wrapped up in what everyone else is doing. Let's just keep our fingers crossed that we have some good weather.

school holidays

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  1. Great tips! I always try to do the summer holidays on the cheap as it's my girls birthdays towards the end of it and I of course have all the back to school uniform stuff to buy!
    My teen counted up the money we had in our penny jar and there was just over £20. Not bad considering we hardly put anything in. It will pay for a lunch out. x

    1. Yay on the penny jar!!! Yes summer can be so expensive so anything that helps save is good, hope your girls have an ace birthday this year

      Laura x

  2. Fab tips here! We have a penny jar we cash in before each school holiday, we usually end up with way more than we imagined!

    1. I know it's such an easy way to save a little bit of extra money - we love doing it

      Laura x

  3. Great advice! The summer holidays can be so expensive.

    1. They really can, saving that little bit extra is so important to reduce stress

      Laura x

  4. We have national trust and english heritage memberships which save us so much money and offer some fab days out

  5. Great tips, I have 3 kids and as soon as you go out and get a simple ice cream it mounts up. We do lots of walks and picnics to the forest (where there isn't a ice cream van!) and buy ice creams for the freezer when we get back home

  6. That jar thing really works! I do it as well and it’s a great way of saving. So many people just discard their small change. Also, for discounts on cinema you want to go for meerkat movies. You can get travel insurance for 1 day for less than £1 and you get 2-1 movies for a year! . It’s amazing!


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