Parents to splash out almost £500 entertaining kids this summer

How can you cut the costs?

Updated: 

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Summer is an expensive time for parents.

Over the six week period, parents will spend £492 entertaining their children. And this isn't even including childcare!

Parents are also predicted to shell out £66 on other people's children, £106 on childcare and £119 on petrol.

Kids may eagerly await the summer holidays but parents have other concerns on their mind.

More parents than ever (58%) are panicking about the cost of keeping their kids entertained - despite planning to even spend more this year.

According to the Post Office annual Parents' Summer Spending Report, there has been a 26% increase on last year's figures.

So why are parents spending even more this year?

Worryingly, nearly half of parents (46%) feel under pressure to keep up with other parent's spending.

And parents are scrambling to fund six weeks of entertainment for their kids.

To cover costs, parents expect to dip into savings, rely on their credit card or even work overtime to boost the family's monthly budgets. In an effort to keep costs down, many will rely on auction sites to pay for activities over the summer holiday.

How parents expect to cover summer costs
% of parents
Dip into savings24%
Use credit card18%
Work overtime17%
Sell items on an auction website12%
Loan from family8%
Loan from friends7%
Take on a part-time job7%
Dip into children's savings4%


When it comes to spending, the bulk of money will be spent on admission for various attractions, including theme parks and museums. Many parents will also spend a lot of their money on a family holiday abroad. The amount of parents who plan to head overseas has nearly doubled compared to last year, perhaps indicating that the average family is feeling more confident about their finances.

What parents expect to spend the most money on
% of parents
Entrance to attractions47%
Eating out42%
A holiday abroad29%
Petrol23%
Treats – sweets/ice-creams22%
Sporting activities13%
Shopping outings13%
Holiday clubs/summer camps8%
Toys/Books/ Computer games7%
Public Transport6%
Childminders/Nannies4%


Many mums and dads would also consider making personal sacrifices in order to be able to afford to keep their kids entertained. Some would give up buying new clothes (34%), while others would miss out on their regular takeaways and resist buying treats such as magazines or coffees this summer. Others would be forced to rely on more drastic methods as they watch their bank balance. Nearly one in ten admitted that they would skip paying household bills and around one in twenty might take another type of holiday – this time from their mortgage payments.

What parents would consider sacrificing to cover summer costs
% of parents
Buying new clothes for themselves/partner34%
Having takeaways34%
Buying treats e.g. magazines, coffee etc.34%
Going out32%
Putting money into savings16%
The cost of the weekly shop14%
Family holiday9%
Paying household bills8%
Gym/sports club membership6%
Paying mortgage6%


However, two out of five savvy parents (41%) have saved in advance for their summer holiday expenses. This represents a 12% increase on the number of parents who planned ahead in 2013 (29%)n.

Nick Kennett, Director of Financial Services at Post Office comments: "The significant rise in parents' spending this summer may be due to families feeling a renewed sense of confidence as the signs of economic recovery take hold.

"The summer holidays are an exciting time for all and while it's important to keep your children entertained during the summer break, it's a good idea to plan ahead and budget wisely. There are a number of ways to manage your finances, including options such as credit cards, savings and overdraft facilities, but it's important to work out which one best suits your needs. It's encouraging to see such a significant rise in the number of people saving in advance to cover their costs this year."

So if you want to avoid being stressed out this summer, why not plan some fun days out that won't break the bank.


Top tips for enjoying your summer holiday on a budget
Track down deals online, there are great discounts and 2 for 1 offers to be found to theme parks, the cinema, family days out and restaurants

Look out for offers at local attractions and events organised by your local community, these are often free or inexpensive

Travelling by train can also be cheaper if you book tickets in advance and avoid travelling at peak times

Some museums have free entry throughout the year and the summer break is a great time to make the most of this

Whether you're heading to the park, a museum or simply a day in town, take a packed lunch as eating out can be expensive

Look out for deals at supermarkets that could save you money on packed lunches or simply eating at home

Organise a fun-filled day at home such as cake making, painting, crafts or start a reading club

Filling up at a less expensive garage or driving in a way that's fuel efficient could mean you save extra cash

A day in the garden or helping with the gardening can be just as fun as a day out at an amusement park and may save you some time on gardening yourself!


Five free things to do with the kids over the summer

1. A number of London shows are taking part in Kids Week this year from 1-31 August. During Kids Week, a child aged 16 or under can experience the magic of London theatre and see a fantastic selection of shows for free, plus two additional children can go at half price (per transaction), as long as they are accompanied by a full paying adult. Book tickets here.

2. Children under 12 go free at Hop Farm Festival on 4-6 July in Paddock Wood, Kent. Kids can enjoy the Vintage Funfair and bop along to old-school acts such as the Beach Boys. Book tickets here.

3. The Dairy Art Centre in Bloomsbury, London will host a free art workshop for children on July 12 from 2-4pm. Acting as detectives, children can explore the galleries and surrounding area to find miniature clues. Then, with special materials and a secret formula, kids can transform their findings into large scale magical artworks using the slide machine! For more information contact the Dairy Art Centre.

4. The fifth annual Sunflowerfest will feature the biggest programme of free kids' activities at any event in Northern Ireland. Set on Tubby's Farm, Hillsborough and taking place from August 22nd to August 25th, the specially designed Kidz Zone gives creative kids a chance to try their hands at everything from stilt walking to sculpture, as well as a wide range of interactive activities including poetry, storytelling, puppetry and painting. For every adult ticket purchased 2 children aged 15 and under go Free. For further information or to book tickets visit www.sunflowerfest.co.uk

5. Take the family to Sheffield Park and Garden for fun for all the family during the summer holidays. Every day from 24 July to 4 September from 10.30 to 5.30 there will be a whole host of free outdoor activities on offer from skipping and hula hoops to sack and spoon races. Booking is not required, just show up on the day and have fun!

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