It’s a question that keeps parents all over the world up every night: how can we save money, without denying our children fun days out and a memorable childhood?
It’s a balancing act that requires strong willpower and self-control, but it’s worth it in the end. If you know there’s going to be months that cost more, like around Christmas and birthdays, be sure to change your behaviours accordingly.
Otherwise, follow these tips to tightening your budget, without denying your children a summer of fun.
Keep a close eye on your budget
Having a family budget matters. But if you’re not going to stick to it, what’s the point in having it? You need to be strict here.
If you can stay to your budget, then you’ll feel more relaxed about spending money on holidays and fun activities. It’s a good idea to review parts of your budget regularly.
Some sections, like utilities, should be reviewed every few months. You could also use sites like Top Cashback when applying for utilities, so you can make a bit of money back on your bills.
When it comes to food shopping, you’re likely to save more money – and time – by doing it online. That way, you won’t be tempted by any ‘deals’ or unhealthy, expensive snacks.
It’s also easier to compare – fill a basket with one supermarket, then do the same on another.
Make your home somewhere the kids want to stay
If you can make a few small investments, you could turn your house into somewhere that your children are quite happy to stay.
Depending on their ages and hobbies, look at buying things for the garden like a paddling pool, tents, trampolines and ball games.
You can often find these sorts of products in the sales or in deals. Inside, look at investing in audio visual solutions.
If you can set up a home theatre, your children will be quite happy to watch the latest film on Netflix, rather than an expensive trip to the cinema.
There will be an initial cost, but you’ll soon make it back by saving on days out. Investing in a new recipe book is another good idea: if you can make delicious foods, your children will be more than happy to stay at home and eat your home-cooked meals!
Pay attention to vouchers and deals
Supermarkets, big brands and retailers always have good deals on offer. From collecting vouchers to redeem days out, to saving money in the sales, it’s possible to fund a whole half-term of fun, without spending much at all.
You just need to be savvy and stay aware of what’s going on. If it’s something you need to collect vouchers for, get all your child-free friends, coworkers and family involved. Once the word gets out, you’ll end up with more vouchers than you could possibly need.
This list is a great resource for finding deals, vouchers and money-saving coupons. Likewise, keep a list of things you’d like to get for your children, almost like a wish list, and when the sales start, get scouring the web for good deals.