The school year is about to finish as “most schools in England will break up on 15 July” (express.co.uk) and as this is just around the corner, we decided to write a blog dedicated to the summer holidays and how costly this time of year can be for parents. We will look to highlight some of the issues, such as: how much is actually spent during the summer holidays and what the real-world effects of this spending are. We’ll also look to provide you with some useful information to combat this.
The summer holidays can be a relaxing time for some parents and stressful for others, how will I work and look after the kids? How will I afford childcare? What will the children do all day? How much will be entertaining them cost? These are valid concerns as the summer holidays can be a costly time of year, especially if you are going on day trips out all the time. A lot of parents will also worry about their children not wasting their summer and spending it inside. It is all a fine balancing act by trying to ensure you provide your children with an active, healthy and fun summer holiday but in a lot of cases, one or both parents will have to juggle work commitments as well.
Some of the key questions I have highlighted are how much pocket money should I give to a child and how much is the summer holidays likely to cost me?
The summer holidays are a chance for parents and children to bond and get up to fun activities that will provide memories for life. However, activities out can be costly “The average parent will spend £1,260 to keep their teenage child entertained during the summer holidays” (www.mirror.co.uk) this is a costly amount seeing as this is on top of other expenses that parents will have to deal with. They will need to still pay their bills, but also include extra food costs as providing for their children the whole six-week period.
Regarding how much pocket money to give to one child, the BBC has produced a survey saying that “84% of British parents give notes and coins to their children, typically an allowance – including some discretionary spending – of £7 a week.” (www.bbc.co.uk) This is another added cost for parents to provide and most consider pocket money as a crucial life teaching for their children (the independence of their own money, budgeting, etc.). But in the current state of the financial sector, the use of cash is falling, and the usage of card payments is increasing. This has now overtaken cash as the predominate method of payments. Therefore, it would be advised to introduce your children to this method of payment when they are at an appropriate age because they are likely to be using this payment method even more than we are now when they grow up.
From the issues we have highlighted previously in this article we should now identify some ways to combat the costly nature of the summer holidays, whilst also reliving some of the worries involved surrounding the summer holidays. There are many different initiatives and schemes for parents to help with the cost of raising children, just need to find ones that they are eligible for. Below is two key initiatives I will highlight to help with money and the worry of children being active as well as enjoying their summer holidays:
1) The first method is applying for help with the financial strain of childcare, you can get tax-free childcare, were the Government will pay up to £2000 a year for under 11’s “Parents open an online account to pay for registered childcare” (www.theguardian.com) the provider must be signed up also. This can help to release the financial strain a little bit. There are alternatives you can also use such as the childcare vouchers, which means you pay for childcare with your pre-tax salary which can also cut costs.
2) The second is free or low-cost activities “Around 50,000 disadvantaged children will be offered free meals and activities over the upcoming summer holidays, funded by £9.1 million from the Department for Education.” (www.gov.uk) This will require some investigation to see if you are eligible, but this will provide entertainment and cost savings on childcare and food.
There are other methods to help save money, these are easy to do. Such things are booking early, shopping around for the best deals, ask for help and ask for flexible working hours at work (you have the legal right to ask this of your employer and it must be given serious consideration), but there will be other Government initiatives that may be able to help you as a parent/s, you just need to find ones that you’re eligible for. The summer holidays can be an expensive time and worrying about what will occur and the costs in this break are valid concerns but if enough preparation and investigation happens you can find avenues to help relieve some of the strain.