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£640: the true cost of the summer holidays

£640: the true cost of the summer holidays

Category: Money

Updated: 12/07/2016
First Published: 12/07/2016

This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Schools across the UK are set to break up for summer in the next few weeks, and parents are bracing themselves for the costs that could ensue. Indeed, not only could arranging suitable childcare be a financial bind, but all those summer activities and treats could cost a pretty penny, too.

New research from American Express shows that the average family with two children is expecting to spend a whopping £640 to keep their kids entertained over the summer holidays, with the cost quickly ramping up over those few short weeks.

Days out unsurprisingly top the list of summertime spending, with respondents splashing out an average of £232 over the course of the holidays, followed by treats and gifts (£134), pocket money (£100) and summer camps (£88). Childcare can also take its toll, with the average cost per family clocking in at £86 over the summer.

And that's before we even get to the cost of any actual holidays – indeed, many parents will be planning a holiday at home (35%) or abroad (29%) this summer, with the average family budgeting £358 and £462 respectively for such trips. Given the expense, it's perhaps little wonder that over a quarter (29%) admit that summer holiday costs are the most stressful part of the school holiday break.

But just how will they be paying for all that summer fun? Well, 63% of parents intend to use their monthly salaries to cover the cost, while 34% will dip into their savings pot and 20% plan on using their credit card. Some are being particularly savvy, however, and intend to use rewards or cashback from their credit card (15%), worth an average of £117, which can be a great way to make the summer spending go further.

Jenny Cheung, director at American Express, commented on the findings: "The long summer holiday is a time when parents can spend quality time with their children. However, while the kids look forward to time away from school, the summer break can be a busy and costly affair for parents.

"By putting holiday expenditure on a credit card that offers rewards or cashback, shrewd parents can make their spending work hard for them, giving them a chance to treat themselves with the points or cash accrued once their children return to school".

It could prove to be a highly beneficial way to pay for all that summertime fun, but there's one crucial thing you need to do to make sure it works out – pay off the balance in full when you get the statement! This is absolutely key, as if you don't pay it off, you could be hit with interest charges which could negate the benefits of any cashback you receive. However, if you're confident it can be achieved, this could offer a win-win situation, so check out the top cashback credit cards to see if it could work for you.

Disclaimer: Information is correct as of the date of publication (shown at the top of this article). Any products featured may be withdrawn by their provider or changed at any time.