The summer holidays should be one of the happiest times of the year for families. Children are set free from their school routine for six weeks, giving parents the chance the chance to enjoy some quality family time on days out, holidays or short trips away. As many of us know, however, keeping the kids entertained (or looked after while you’re at work) is expensive, and recent findings show that the cost of the summer holidays continues to rise for parents in the UK.

Childcare more expensive than ever

If you’re a single parent, or in a couple who both work during the summer, then you’ll know that childcare can be just as, if not more, expensive that taking the children away over the course of the summer holidays. Recent findings showed that working parents face eye-watering bills of around £800 for childcare over the summer holidays, which is a 3% rise on childcare costs last summer.

This works out at roughly £138 a week for childcare for the average Brit, with those living in England paying the highest (£140 a week) Welsh people paying slightly less at £130 a week and Scots paying £123 a week. Add these costs onto anything you might be paying for days out or trips away, and you’ve got yourself a pricey summer.

Treat the kids, hurt your bank balance

On top of childcare fees, you’ve also got the prices of actual entertainment to consider.  Research from a survey of 2,000 parents recently found that the average family spends £1439 (239 a week) on their children during the holidays, which means that in addition to childcare a large sum of cash also ends up going on days out and treats over the summer months.

Understandably with such a large amount of money, the survey of parents with children aged 5-16 found that 35% of parents have to dip into their savings to keep the kids entertained whilst they’re off school. What’s more, a quarter of parents admitted they had to use a credit card to cover the cost of the summer holidays, and 8% said they had to take out a loan to tide them over until the holidays were finished.

What can I do on a budget during the holidays?

Unless you’re incredibly fortunate and can afford to take the kids away every other day, it’s inevitable that you’re going to hear the words ‘I’m bored’ at some point this summer. To help keep your children active (and avoid them spending their holidays glued to social media) why not try a few of our tips to ensure your children have a memorable summer holiday without it costing you a bombshell?

Help with childcare

If you’re a working parent with children aged up to 11, you can get Government help towards paying for childminders, day-care centres, clubs and camps if you set up a tax-free childcare account on the government website.  For every £8 you pay towards childcare, the government will put in an extra £2, meaning you could get 20% off all of your childcare costs during the summer (the maximum you can get from this scheme is £2000 a year).

If you’re going abroad…

Flights are notoriously more expensive during the summer holidays, but one way to keep the price of flying to a minimum is by using Skyscanner. This completely free-to-use service is essentially a search engine for flights, and guarantees to find you the cheapest flight possible to your destination. As long as you don’t mind which airline you fly with, using Skyscanner is a must.

If you’re staying at home…

Staying in the UK means you can still have a fantastic summer holiday without spending as much money as you would going abroad. You can save even more money too by using Groupon – this online voucher website allows you to get money off all sorts of attractions and activities including day trips, amusements, theme parks and more. Having a Groupon account will allow you to save money on just about everything too, so it’s worth keeping an eye on there for good deals even after the holidays are over.   

If you’re looking for free debt advice, why not speak to our helpline team today? You can reach us by calling 0800 316 1833 , or if you’d prefer to get your debt help online, just login to PlanFinder, our online debt solution tool.