I am so delighted today to have the The Money Whisperer here sharing her top budgeting tips for the summer holidays:
Money, what it does and how we spend it wisely is a hot topic this summer holidays in our house. Without some sort of budget, especially in this horrendous weather, it is all together possible to spend a small fortune keeping the children entertained. My Pocket-Money Whisperers would like to go to swimming, soft play, holiday clubs, the cinema etc every day. Oh and that’s before we do the grocery shopping at Tesco and they spy the toy section! Apparently money does grow on trees in a five years old’s world! So herein lies my first top tip for budgeting….
Get children to help with family budget setting
Children can be involved in planning a good mix of free and paid for activities for the week’s ahead, helping you stick to the entertainment budget you allocate. It’s like anything in life, if they own it, they are more likely to be accountable for it. And if you stick your plan up on the wall/fridge, it creates a sense of excitement about what’s to come!
Start by allocating a budget for each week of the holidays and writing a list of all the things everyone wants to do and their associated cost. If you have younger children, it may be a good idea to use colour coding for the price of activities e.g. free activities in green, cheap activities under £5 in orange etc. Set the children a challenge of picking a mix of activities that keep within the budget. You might want to allow them to trade any spare budget in one week to another week if you have any big, expensive trips planned which would otherwise break that week’s budget. A trip to Legoland would be worth a week of free activities the week beforehand in the eyes of an eager child….
You also won’t end up overlooking easy, cheap activities if you have them in your plan.
Any time you can get something for free which you had budgeted to pay for, you’re beating your budget! Aiming to find free alternatives for things in your budget is an easy way to find yourself with extra money in your pocket.
There are so many free activities going on around us at the moment, some run by our local community group, others by council and charity-run groups. So far this holidays we have done den-building workshops and bug collecting at the brook by us, led by our local park rangers. Our local Play Association hosted a huge event last week on national playday with so many free activities and local entertainers there volunteering their time. I also stumbled upon an hour of free craft activities at IKEA last week when I was going to take them to the play gym so I saved myself £9!
In advance of the holidays, I keep an eye on local Facebook forums, mummy blogs and flyers which come through the door. Lots of free events are shared by word of mouth on local forums and I make sure I keep a note of them when I see them!
Always keep an eye out for a freebie to replace something you were going to spend money on. It’s fairly easy if you keep your ear to the ground…
Spread the cost
We have annual passes for Gullivers Land. These passes are my absolute best friend during the summer holidays; last summer when it was sunny (!), we went with friends most days of the week to either the theme park or the splash zone. This summer less so because of the weather but we’ve still managed plenty of trips. The girls love it and it costs us no entry fee each time we go as we have the passes.
The upfront cost of an annual pass for a local attraction is substantial but you can budget for it over the months before you buy it. Even better, get family to buy as gifts for children’s birthday/Christmas presents.
Once you have an annual pass for a local attraction, you have 12 months of ‘free’ entry and freebies help the budget.
What brilliant tips! Huge thanks to the Money Whisperer and don’t forget to check out her blog!