Parenting 101

Fun ways to save money over the summer holidays

Summer is here

The schools are out, and the summer holidays are here. Having spent months in classrooms, eating school lunches and going to bed early, your children will be looking forward to the freedom that the summer months bring.

While many parents would love to take time off work and spend as much time as possible with their children during the summer holidays, but grown-up vacation time is limited. Also, most people can’t afford to send their children off to summer camps or spend money on childcare. Even for parents who stay at home, they will have the added responsibility of keeping their brood entertained and active. This can be particularly daunting when there are multiple children of different ages to look after. There are many budget-friendly indoor and outdoor ideas to make the most of the summer months. Here are a few ideas for you to try:

Arrange playdates

This can be an excellent way to share the responsibility (and cost) of looking after children. Your kids will be best entertained with their friends and will be in a safe environment, either in your home or the home of another parent.

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Set up a crafts station with paper, pens, paint and anything else that you have at home and watch as the children entertain themselves for hours. Parents who need to work either full-time or part-time but want to save on the cost of childcare can try to arrange a shared playdate system. This might involve looking after a group of children one day a week and sending your child to another parent’s house another day.

Consider a summer school program

Many schools offer cheap summer programs or camps, so it is worth checking out if your children’s school offers this. This is usually far more cost effective than private summer camps. Moreover, you can be at ease because your children will be with their friends in a familiar environment. Look around at other schools in your area too that offer summer camps or programs (if your school does not provide one).

Keep an eye out for summer deals

Buy your summer essentials in advance, so you don’t get caught off-guard with the seasonal prices when you desperately need to buy something for a heatwave or holiday abroad. This could mean booking your summer vacation well in advance when it is cheaper, or even purchasing summer clothes when they are on offer. You can find a range of different coupons here that will help you save money over the summer, from items such as clothing and accessories to barbecues and car rentals. If you are careful with what you purchase and keep an eye out for offers/coupons, you can save a lot of money on items that you would usually get full price.

Spend time out in nature

If you plan on staying at home with your children over the summer and need to plan some cheap outings which will entertain your kids, then consider going on hikes, playing in a park or having a picnic somewhere.

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Your children will benefit from the exercise, contact with nature, fresh air and the sun (Just make sure to apply sunscreen regularly). You can turn this into an adventure/friendly competition for your children by challenging them to find objects in nature, such as stones or particular plants, and bringing along small prizes. You can combine this with other money saving ideas such as going camping.

Go camping

Spend a weekend, or a week away at a campsite for a budget holiday. Opt for a campsite that has a pool and other types of entertainment for your children. This is one of the cheapest holidays you can go on and is a great way for you and your kids to enjoy the outdoors and make the most of what nature has to offer. There are so many places to go camping all around the world. Camping is a great option for combining adventure, nature, and family time. So, give it a try this summer.

Rent holiday homes

Rather than staying in a hotel, consider renting privately, using secure and trusted websites such as Airbnb. This is extremely budget friendly as you can search for homes anywhere in the world to suit your price range. The added comfort of staying in someone’s home rather than an impersonal hotel or guest room makes it perfect for families who want the convenience of being in a home with a kitchen and other amenities not always offered by hotels.

Travel cheaply

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Instead of traveling by plane, consider carpooling, going by bus or renting a car. Flying or traveling by train can become very expensive, particularly when you include the hidden costs of luggage, transfers etc. while traveling. Whatever travel arrangements you decide upon, make sure to book in advance, as good transport deals are taken up very quickly during the summer months. The more you delay, the more you may have to shell out of your pocket.

Have a staycation

If going anywhere is not working out for you due to work commitments or other such reasons, consider a staycation instead. Have a camp out in your backyard at night. Visit nearby museums, swimming pools, kid-friendly restaurants, amusement centers etc. during the day. Or simply stay indoors (when the weather is too harsh to venture out) and try some simple, fun indoor activities instead.

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In leaving

Summer holidays are the most magical of times in your children’s growing up years. As adults, we may agonize over making the breaks memorable and perfect for our children. But if you look back at your own childhood, you will realize that children don’t really care about how expensive their vacations were. As long as they are enjoying themselves with friends and family and learning a thing or two about life in the process, it is a good summer.

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