Budgeting for days out in the school summer holidays

The school summer holidays are a good time to spend some quality time with your kids on some fun days out.

But family day trips can be costly, so it makes sense to start saving up now. To help, Auto Advance give some tips for how to budget for the summer holidays, so you can enjoy some good days out with your kids.


How much money do you need?

First it’s important to think about how much money you’ll need to save. To do this, you should list the kinds of trips you’ll do and how many. For instance, a day out at a major theme park is likely to be more expensive than a zoo or sea life centre, while a trip to the seaside – travel, food and parking aside – will probably be free. You might also want to do a few big days over a couple of weekends, or lots of smaller trips over a couple of weeks.

You should also think about additional spend you’ll need for these trips, like petrol or train fares to get there, as well as food for lunch and dinner. Little things like car park fees can be easy to forget, but can also make a difference.

Plan ahead and look for offers

Try to plan some of your trips as soon as you can. That way you can look out for the best offers and deals for these trips. For instance, during the summer, many days out, like theme parks, offer deals where kids go free which can be a good money saver. Planning your trips can also make you know how much you’ll need to spend that day.

When planning trips consider looking at local visits, which will keep your children’s interest, rather than those that are far away to save on petrol. There will also be plenty of days out that might have free admittance, like museums, national parks or the seaside, so think about including those.

Set a budget and goals

By knowing what money you’ll need to spend and, in turn, how much you’ll need to save, you can set yourself a budget. You should already have a target figure in mind and be able to work out a daily or weekly budget to achieve that goal, ready for when your first family day trip is planned.

It’s a good idea to create a spreadsheet, which you can fill in each day, to make sure you stick to your budget and your daily spend. When you spend money, you can also include details like what you’ve bought, where you bought it and why. This can help you understand and improve your spending habits, like when you’ve bought something you could have done without.

Motivate yourself

Once you’ve created a budget, it’s a good idea to create ways to motivate yourself to help you hit your goals. A good way to do this is to put the cash figure you’re aiming to reach on your screensaver at work or on the fridge at home. This way you always have your goal in mind. Also, consider creating a countdown to your first family day out by crossing each day off that you’re in budget, as you move closer towards your goal.

Also, consider pinning up images or photos to remind you of the fun you’ll have with your kids during your planned day trips. This could include a family photo, on your office desk or by your bedside, of when you all went out and had fun somewhere special together. Alternatively, you could use images of some of fun attractions you’re hoping to visit with your kids, like of a funfair or the seaside, as an incentive to hit your goals.  

Save and shop around

Now you have your budget and your motivation to achieve your financial goals, try doing what you can to save money, like shopping around. When doing the weekly food shop, consider shopping at supermarkets that are different to your usual shops to find those with the cheapest prices. Also, try those supermarkets closer to your place of work or home to save on petrol.

When buying petrol, keep an eye on where is cheapest, rather than sticking to those petrol stations that are more convenient. It can mean more work on your part, but can help save the pennies in the long run.

Doing little things like this can help you save the money you need. This should help you enjoy some great days out, come summer, and make the school holidays a special time for you and your kids.

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