In the school holidays it’s hard to keep track of money. It’s not so much the big days out and holidays away – you can plan for them – it’s all the little things that quickly add up: trips to the cafe, ice creams, little treats here and there… and that’s before we’ve even thought about new school uniforms and two new pairs of shiny black shoes. It’s easy to end up completely penniless by the end of the holiday.
This year, I’m determined to keep a lid on the spending. If I’m careful, we can still have treats. Here are some easy ideas for how to save money this summer
Set a weekly budget for the little extras. This can be as much or as little as you like. Put it in a jar and plan things out with your children – it’ll help them learn and give them an idea how quickly money runs out! I wouldn’t expect the money in this jar to pay for big days out – it’s more of a fund for ice creams, comics etc. You do have to be quite disciplined to do this – make sure you have a plan for when the money runs out on a Monday afternoon!
Find as many inexpensive drop-in activities as you can. Where we live there are free drop-ins at the Cathedral twice a week with crafts and activities. We’re also heading to our local museum’s weekly craft sessions which cost £2 per child. Go and check out the noticeboards in your library or children’s centre, or follow local museums on Facebook.
Go to the park. A lot. Buy a flask or a insulted mug and take your coffee with you from home! Or make use of that useful free coffee from Waitrose if you happen to live near one.
Join in with the Big Friendly Read at your local library. Every summer libraries host a summer reading challenge – this year it’s got a bit of a Roald Dahl theme. The idea is to read a book every week for six weeks. Each time your child returns their book they get a special postcard to add to a special collector’s album. Some of them are even scented (don’t sniff the George’s Marvellous Medicine one too hard, it’s poisonous!). It’s all completely free.
Crafting at home doesn’t have to be expensive. You don’t need to buy lots of new craft supplies to make things fun. I’m saving as many junk modelling things as I can and keeping them in a box for the boys to help themselves. All they really ever want for their creations is sellotape, scissors and a box of crayons.
What are you favourite ways to save money this summer?