It only seems like five minutes ago since the summer holidays, but we’re now fast approaching the half-term break. Although we love spending time with the kids, even a week off can prove pricey when you take into account childcare, transport, trips to the cinema, meals out . . . the list is endless.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways for you and your family to spend quality time together without breaking the bank. Below are a few of our favourites – but we’d love to hear your ideas on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
Share the childcareIt can be a nightmare trying to juggle your job with childcare during the holidays, so it’s important to plan ahead. Speak to a trusted aunt, uncle or grandparent in the weeks beforehand to see if they’re willing to take it in turns to babysit. Some will be happy to do it for free, though you could always repay the favour by cooking dinner for them or washing their car.
Borrow don’t buyBooks, toys and games are expensive when you buy them new – and we all know our kids grow out of them (or get bored of them) soon enough. Toy and book libraries are a great alternative because they offer the novelty of getting something ‘new’ without the cost, as well as helping you to reduce the clutter in your home. Search online to find a library in your area.
Get craftyHalloween and Christmas (dare we mention it?) are just around the corner and, as the weather gets colder, now is the perfect time to stay inside and unleash the glitter, paint and glue! Christmas cards made by the kids go down a treat with family members and cost just pennies to create, while making your own Halloween costumes could save you around £10 compared to a shop-bought one. Online you’ll find no end of craft ideas and remember you don’t have to spend a lot on materials either: after all, who doesn’t love papier-mâché?
Explore from homeWhen was the last time you visited your local museum, gallery or park? Not only do many venues offer free or relatively cheap entry, they often run children’s activities during the holidays too. Check out your local newspaper and/or council website to see what’s on. Some travel providers also run special offers at half-term, like discounted family bus tickets, to keep the cost of transport down.
Plan your mealsWhen your household routine is disrupted by the holidays, mealtimes can easily go to pot. Fastfood is expensive, so plan ahead when you do your weekly shop and make sure you buy enough for those extra meals. Having a couple of frozen pizzas on standby costs far less than buying two from the takeaway and preparation is minimal. If you want the occasional treat, sites like My Voucher Codes offer discounts on popular chain restaurants or you may be able trade up your Tesco Clubcard points and eat for free.
For more money saving ideas, head over to our ‘Save a Fiver a Day’ Facebook page – it’s packed full of top tips to help your wallet stretch a little further!
This article was checked and deemed to be correct as at the above publication date, but please be aware that some things may have changed between then and now. So please don't rely on any of this information as a statement of fact, especially if the article was published some time ago.