How much are you planning to spend in order to keep the kids entertained this summer? According to research from Post Office Money, it could be a hefty sum.
The figures, from Post Office Money's annual Parents' Summer Spending Report, show that parents are expecting to spend an average of £600 this summer, an increase of £108 from last year. The cost of summer holidays has increased every year since 2012, but this is by far the largest annual increase, and that's even before the cost of fuel (£146) and childcare (£101) is added into the equation.
So just where will all this money be spent? The survey found that 45% of parents are planning to visit attractions, such as theme parks and museums, while 42% are expecting to spend on meals out and 25% think that sweets and ice cream will be their biggest expenditure. Given the looming expense, it's perhaps no surprise that 55% of parents are worried about how they'll cover the cost of summer.
Some families will look at the sacrifices they can make to reign in their spending, with 34% of parents saying that they'll give up buying new clothes, and 33% will stay in to save a bit of extra cash. However, worryingly, 7% admit they may have to give up paying household bills to make ends meet, something that should never be contemplated.
Families are under increasing pressure to make the summer holidays one to remember, with 50% admitting that they feel the need to "keep up with the Jones'" and compete with other parents in terms of spending. As a result, 18% will dip into their savings accounts to cover the cost, and 16% will take a break from saving altogether.
A further 23% will rely on a credit card – if you're one of them, just make sure to use a 0% purchase credit card to ensure interest doesn't add even more to your final spending tally – while 18% will work overtime, and 10% will resort to borrowing money from friends and family. However, 12% have no idea how they'll manage to cover the cost, and a sneaky 2% admitted that they'll raid their child's savings account to pay for expenses.
To avoid the headache of unexpected summer holiday bills, it's always a good idea to start saving beforehand. Unfortunately 58% of parents admitted that they haven't put aside any savings to cover their summer holiday expenditure, despite the fact that 36% ended up spending more than they had originally budgeted for last summer.
Don't let that happen again! By building up a healthy savings pot in advance, you can be confident that you won't need to resort to drastic measures in order to cover your summer expenses. You could even start saving now – opening a regular savings account, for example, could be a great way to build up a summer holiday fund for next year.
"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," said Henk Van Hulle, director at Post Office Money. "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."
So what are you waiting for?! It may be too late to start saving for this year, but if you plan ahead and start saving for next summer as soon as possible, you can look forward to a stress-free summer 2016.
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