Consumer: School holidays are costing hundreds

Parents will fork out �600 entertaining children this summer.
Parents will fork out �600 entertaining children this summer.
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Parents are expected to fork out hundreds of pounds on entertaining their children during the school summer holidays.

According to the Post Office Money’s annual parents’ summer spending report, families will pay out £600 during the break - up from £492 last year and a 50 per cent increase since 2012.

The research shows that 45 per cent will visit theme parts and museums while 42 per cent will be eating out more. A quarter of parents expect their biggest spending to be on ice cream and sweets.

Henk Van Hulle, director at Post Office Money, said: “This upcoming summer break provides families with the opportunity to come together and enjoy days out – yet the cost of doing so continues to rise year after year.

“Despite this, many parents remain unsure of how they will pay for the costs of entertaining their children. By planning ahead and setting aside money earlier in the year, parents can avoid being stung by surprise expenses or missing bill payments, and enjoy the holidays free of financial fears.”

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Parents also expect to shell out £86 on other people’s children, around £101 on childcare and £146 on fuel to travel to the planned day trips and visits.

Worryingly, 55 per cent of parents are concerned about how they will afford the holidays and 50 per cent feel under pressure to spend as much as other families. 58 per cent have not put money aside to cover the extra spending, even though more than a third (36 per cent) went over budget last year.

The research - conducted by Opinium on behalf of Post Office Money - revealed that 23 per cent of parents will end up paying with their credit card while 10 per cent would borrow money from family or friends. 12 per cent had no idea how they would cover the additional expense. Seven per cent sell items on auction sites such as Ebay and 34 per cent of mums and dads would give up buying new clothes for themselves in order to reign in their spending.

The annual report suggests a number of ways that parents can make savings during the summer holidays, including tracking down discounts and 2 for 1 offers for days out and restaurants online, booking in advance for train tickets, taking a packed lunch or picnic when going out for the day and organising fun and free activities at home, such as baking or painting.

Families can also take advantage of free - or cheap - community events and attractions, such as arts and crafts sessions at local museums, family fundays and galas.

Many council-run facilities - such as libraries, galleries and museums - are also free or inexpensive.