How do you Budget for the Summer Holidays?



How do you budget for the summer holidays? Days out with the children, holidays, childcare/holiday clubs can be really costly … so how can you ensure your finances ‘survive’ August? We asked our Tots 100 community for some tips …

Collect vouchers

I collect vouchers throughout the year (our bank gives us six cinema tickets a year, for example) and keep an eye out for great discount codes and two-for-one deals. Places like Pizza Express and Zizzi have regular deals, and Yo Sushi often does a ‘Kids Eat Free’ promotion. Before we go anywhere, I search for discount codes – nine times out of ten I find one that gives us 10% or 20% off.

Jacqui, Mummy’s Little Monkey

Playdates with school friends

I have a group of 5 parents from school and all our kids are friends. We try to arrange a play date at each of our houses once during the holidays, meaning that every week the kids have a play date with their friends plus we get 6 dates and only have to cater once. It’s a great cheap way to get the kids out of the house and also to catch up with your friends on a budget.

Beth, Twinderelmo


Use free local activities

By using free local activities. We are surrounded by beaches parks and woods with rivers that offer great fun. Do one paying trip a month rest of the time it is just the cost of the diesel as we always take pack lunches as well. Scotland also has a lot of free entry museums. Though I have to say the waiting areas in the Queen Elizabeth childrens hospital are full of amazing activities and makes for a great day even if you do not have sick kids.

Elaine, Fun as a Gran

Passes for local attractions

We have always looked out for local’s passes through the year, as this usually means paying once and then visiting for free as many times as we like all year. It’s always kept our days out budget small and all of the places put on different events during the year, so it doesn’t get boring revisiting at all. We also take a picnic to save money.

Stephanie, A Cornish Mum

Family bike rides

We try and do as many family bike rides as possible. The fun is in the cycling, so we don’t have to pay to get into places. We take sandwiches, drinks and snacks so we’re not spending on expensive cafes and stop to explore points of interest along the route. There’s often a reward (bribe!) of an ice-cream or hot chocolate (weather depending) at the end of the ride, but having this at home works out much cheaper.

Karen, Cycle Sprog 


We started camping, more costly at the beginning but it means during the summer we are able to just pack up and go for the night or weekend.

I also plan early and together with the boys we come up with a bucket list of things to do. For more expensive days out I try and source discounts early and book advance normally gives a decent saving too.

More often than not though we tend to do maybe 3/4 days out a couple of camping trips and then we make the most of a National Trust/English Heritage pass for what’s essentially a free day out.

Jaymee, The Mum Diaries

Trips to the park

Lots of free days out – like trips to the park and library. It’s always good to check the local library as they often hold special sessions and craft days during the holidays.

For other days out I always book in advance to try and get a better deal. We have a couple of annual passes for local places as it work out much cheaper!

Chantelle, The English Family


Have a set amount to spend each week

I have a set amount to spend each week on entertaining the kids – sometimes it all goes on one day out, sometimes it lasts several days and some weeks I spend less & it rolls over. The kids know I have a set budget and that we can choose activities within that so when I pointed out to them that a particular activity they wanted to do would cost £30 for an hours entertainment but we could go out somewhere else for the whole day on that, they totally understood why I said no to the first suggestion. It also means that it’s much easier to plan for the holidays without worrying about running out of money or always having to say no.

Colette, Going On an Adventure

Book tickets in advance

We save money on our days out by booking online in advance. You can save a decent amount of money on days out by pre-booking. Most attractions require you to book 24 hours or more in advance so a little bit of pre-planning is needed but not too much. We always take a picnic with us when we go out for the day during the summer. Another thing we do is visit places earlier in the year that then offer free returns for the next 12 months. We usually have a few places with free return tickets saved up beforehand so then when we return in the summer holidays the day out is free.

Suzy, Our Bucket List Lives

How are you preparing for the summer holidays? Let us know in the comments below.

Tracey is the Contributing Editor for Tots100 and Trips100. She also blogs at PackThePJs. Tracey writes mainly about family travel; from days out to road trips with her pet dogs, to cruises and long-haul tropical destinations. Her family consists of her husband Huw, a science and technology writer, Millie-Mae (13), Toby (11) and Izzy and Jack the spaniels.

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