Watching the pennies ready for the summer holidays

We are now officially into July which means the kids break up for their summer holidays this month! (I know in some places they have already broken up but here in Essex we have another 3 weeks of school – much to the kids dislike).

With 6 weeks of summer to fill it can be an expensive time indeed, because lets face it unless you live in a theme park the kids are going to utter those words “I’m bored” at least once a week, or more if you are really unlucky – I tend to hear it on repeat from the 2nd week of holidays – that first week is often spent in our PJ’s glad of not having to get up and out of the house by 8.30am.

Goodfella’s recently commissioned a survey of 2000 parents to find out how much they spend keeping their children entertained throughout the year, and the results did not surprise me one bit.

  • Parents spend on average £2602 keeping their children entertained during the course of a year
  • Of this, £409 will be spent occupying kids with trips to soft play centres or play parks, and around £609 will be spent on meals out

That works out to around £50 a week spent on the children, on food and drink, days out and entertainment – of course we don’t all spend that every single week but for those weeks we don’t the school holidays certainly make up for those cheaper weeks.

It’s so easily done though:

  • a free trip to the park can so turn into £8-10 spent is the ice-cream van turns up (for a family)
  • a cinema trip for 2 adults and 2 children costs £31.00 (odeon family deal prices)
  • Netflix subscription = £9.99 a month
  • 2 children’s magazines = £10 (or just under with the average magazine costing around £4.99)
  • Lunch out costs roughly £50 (that’s is my kids have a meal deal – starter, drink, main and an ice cream, while Paul and I just have a starter and a main)
  • Theme park – Legoland for example for us would cost £47 per ticket so £188 – that’s by booking online in advance and receiving a discount for booking more than 7 days in advance

As you can see these all add up, factor in food and souvenir’s when on the bigger days out, petrol and extras and you can see how it’s easy to spend so much. I’m sure I actually spend far more than that if I am honest.

I, like many parents budget for the school holidays – it has to be done otherwise it could be financially crippling for those weeks, especially when I am self employed working from home, my working hours become shortened with the kids home as it’s near on impossible to write with them interrupting every 5 minutes asking for drinks and snacks.

Simple swaps during the next few weeks could see you saving enough for that big day out the kids are begging for.

Here are a few tips which could see you saving money ready for the holidays:

  • Have a pizza night at home instead of heading out to a restaurant – why not all sit together around the table and have a sharing feast? Add some non-alcoholic cocktails and some vegetable sticks, dips etc and you can pretend you are in a restaurant.
    Goodfella’s has launched their new Romano range of premium frozen pizza’s – delicious pizza’s made with a stonebaked base and quality toppings for just £2.50 each.

    What if you all like different toppings?

    Well for just £2.50 each I don’t think that matters much as you can all have something different without breaking the bank. They have 5 to choose from after all – Calabrese Salami and Spicy ‘Nduja Sausage with Chilli & Black Pepper – this one I would suggest is more for the adults as is hot and spicy and really does have a kick to it as I discovered after laughing at Paul when he said it was a little hotter than he thought it would be.
    Four Cheese with Cherry Tomatoes and Basil Pesto – a classic pizza with a restaurant twist, the cherry tomatoes are a nice touch on a classic margarita pizza and the pesto gives an added flavour to a pizza I usually consider to be boring – even Emmy loved this one and she only likes classic margarita with no extra toppings.

    Chicken, Roquito Pepper and Red Onion with Garlic Oil Drizzle – a lovely summery pizza which is my favourite of the new range, this one tastes as good hot as it does cold so you can enjoy some for a snack later in the day if you wanted to.
    Pepperoni and Chorizo – This is Harry’s favourite, although a little sceptical of the added Chorizo he soon wolfed down an entire pizza which means it certainly has his approval. Surprisingly for a frozen pizza this had a HUGE amount of toppings on it – I often find they are rather sparse and barely enough to have a piece of pepperoni on each slice – not in this case however.

    Chargrilled Vegetable and Pesto is the last in the new Romano Range with Chargrilled Aubergine, Chargrilled Red and Yellow Peppers, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes & Green Pesto

    These pizza’s can be found in the freezer section of many good supermarkets.

  • Home movie night instead of the cinema
    Why not raid your DVD collection of a friends for a movie you haven’t seen before, you can share films with friends to save on the costs and you’ll be sure to find something you’ve not seen before.
    Grab some bags of sweets in the supermarkets and put into bowls, get the popcorn cooking in the microwave and darken the room to make your own cinema. Close all the curtains, grab pillows and blankets and get comfy.
    We do this every Friday and have a camp out in the front room too – the kids get out their camp beds and they sleep downstairs for added fun
  • Playdates
    Are your kids like mine and have a house full of toys they rarely play with? Why not have some friends over and it’s a sure fire way of rediscovering a love of those toys – mine always want to play with them if someone else it.
    Alternate between each others houses so one person isn’t always hosting otherwise it’s unfair, take over some snacks and you can easily have a whole day filled for free – and adult company during school holidays is ALWAYS welcomed. Here are some top tips on how to have a successful playdate.
  • Bake some treats instead of heading to the bakery
  • Pool fun
    If the weather is nice – lets hope it continues then set up a pool in the garden if you have room, not only will it amuse the kids for hours but you’ll have somewhere to cool off too
    Of course please ensure your children are supervised near water at all times
    Lazing in the pool
  • Make giant bubbles
    All you’ll need it a stick, some string, a bucket or large container, washing up liquid and water
    Tie the string to the stick to form a D shape, mix the water and washing up liquid together in the bucket and dip in your homemade giant bubble wand.
    Get the kids to wave it around or run and water the giant bubbles appear
  • Make scrap books
    Check out this post on how to make scrap books with your kids from Freddie’s Mummy UK
  • Picnic Time 
    Who doesn’t like picnic food! My children eat far more food picnic style than they do if I was to place the same food on their plates for lunch.
    Pop a selection of mini nibbles into a picnic basket or even a packet lunch box and have a picnic – outside if the weather is nice or indoors if it’s not so nice. Pop down a picnic blanket to help contain the mess
  • Camp out
    If you have the room why not set up a tent in the garden and sleep outdoors for the night, use pillows and blankets or sleeping bags.
    Light a mini fire in a fire bucket or fire pit and roast some marshmallows.
    Take out your torches and tell scary stories at night time…….and the best thing is you are close by to the toilet unlike camping in a field.
  • Save vouchers for days out
    Tesco Clubcard vouchers used to be a great way of saving money on days out as you could exchange for 4 times their value – this has just reduced down to 3 times but it still makes the day out cheaper (or free really as those clubcard vouchers are a bonus) – you can you on so many days outs from zoo’s, theme parks and even cinema trips or exchange for hotel stays or meals out.
    Cereal boxes often have days out vouchers, 1 entry free at theme parks etc so keep a look out, and newspapers too.

Have you budgeted for the summer holidays yet?

**Posted in collaboration with Goodfella’s**


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