Parents' summer holiday spending woes
Keeping the children entertained this summer is set to cost parents over £400, according to research from Post Office.
The research shows parents expect the summer holidays to cost on average £66.78 per week - that's 15 per cent of the UK average weekly wage. Almost two-thirds (64 per cent) of parents are worried about the cost of keeping their children entertained during the school summer holidays, with 43 per cent admitting they feel pressured to keep up with other parents when spending on entertaining their kids.
Parents expect visiting attractions (44 per cent) will be the biggest expense, followed by the cost of eating out (30 per cent). Mum and dad's taxi service will also be working overtime, with 28 per cent of parents expecting to spend the most money on petrol.
When asked how they intend to pay for the extra expense, nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of cash-strapped parents admit they will have to dip into their savings, and one in five (19 per cent) will use their credit card to cover the costs of entertaining their children. Some parents, pushed to extreme lengths, are planning to sell items on eBay (14 per cent). While others will be working over-time (13 per cent) so they can afford to keep their children entertained.
Encouragingly, almost a third (32 per cent) of savvy parents save ahead of the holidays, with 17 per cent putting money into a jar at home and 15 per cent saving into a separate savings account.
However, despite some parents saving, 74 per cent are still considering making cutbacks to fund a summer of fun for their children. Two in five (40 per cent) of parents would forgo buying new clothes for themselves or their partner, and 37 per cent would sacrifice buying treats for themselves. A further 35 per cent would curb going out at the evening or weekends so they can cover the costs.
Doug Strachan, Marketing Director at the Post Office, said: "With the summer holidays upon us, children will be jumping up and down with excitement. However, as our research shows, many parents are worried about the impact keeping their kids entertained will have on their purse strings. From petrol for getting children from one activity to another to the entry fee for the latest attractions, parents are expected to stump up a significant amount of money during the summer holidays.
"However, parents don't necessarily have to spend a lot to have a fun-filled summer. For example, there are always free events or special deals which help keep costs down.
"For those worried about covering the costs this summer, putting together a budget with the amount they can afford to spend each week can curb over-spending and help parents be in control of their finances. It is encouraging to see some mums and dads save ahead of the summer break. Putting a little away each month into a savings account is one way to stop the cost of school summer holidays breaking the bank."
Top tips for saving this summer holiday
Track down deals online, there are great discounts and 2 for 1 offers to be found to theme parks, the cinema, family days out and restaurants
Look out for offers at local attractions and events organised by your local community, these are often free or inexpensive
Travelling by train can also be cheaper if you book tickets in advance and avoid travelling at peak times
Some museums have free entry throughout the year and the summer break is a great time to make the most of this
Whether you're heading to the park, a museum or simply a day in town, take a packed lunch as eating out can be expensive
Look out for deals at supermarkets that could save you money on packed lunches or simply eating at home.
Organise a fun-filled day at home such as cake making, painting, crafts or start a reading club
With petrol prices remaining high, filling up at a less expensive garage or driving in a way that's fuel efficient could mean you save extra cash