Summer Holiday Savers
How to manage your money now to get the most out of the summer holidays
Preparing for the summer holidays can be a time filled with fret, stress and financial worry for many parents. This summer, leave the stresses in the shade with Albyn Housing Society’s top tips for preparing for the holidays.
PLAN AHEAD FOR SUMMER
Planning ahead will not only alleviate the stress of a six week stint with children at home, but it will ensure you get the best deals and best prices on various different activities meaning the school holiday schedule will be filled up in no time.
Planning days at local museums, bird watching spots, local parks and ponds, and swimming pools are free or inexpensive activities that can be stretched out across an entire day. This is a perfect opportunity to take a picnic and avoid unnecessary eating-out charges.
Having a busy schedule will mean the days spent at home become a luxury rather than a chore for both parent and the child.
Those days at home should also be planned ahead; treasure hunts, picnics in the garden, bug collecting or identifying, garden tea parties, free printable activity sheets and movie nights are sure to keep everyone entertained.
MEMBERSHIPS PAY OFF
For just £10 per month, you can become a member of the National Trust and have unlimited family access to castles, workshops, gardens (over 500 venues) as well as free parking at all National Trust associated locations.
For older children, just £10 a year will give them unlimited access to these venues*.
Many local community libraries have free workshops or reading classes available throughout the summer holidays and should be utilised by families. Get in touch with your local community centre now and find out what programme of school holiday activities they will be running.
*This option doesn’t include free parking.
‘Kids Go Free’
With most rail providers offering free rail travel for up to two children aged between 5 – 15, planning a day in an exciting new town or city has just become much more affordable.
Having a day on the train can be stress free if planned in advance. You can prepare key landmark train bingo activity sheets in advance and make the train journey an interactive experience for children. Keeping an eye out for key landmarks and countryside features will keep them entertained for hours!
A couple of healthy homemade snacks are also handy to have nearby; sliced up apple, carrot sticks and melon are cheap to buy and stay fresh in an airtight freezer bag.
Start shopping now
If you start picking up a couple of additional food items in each shop, it can make a massive difference in the long run – especially in the discounted aisle.
Freezable items are perfect for stockpiling – loaves of bread can be frozen and re-toasted for breakfasts and picnics, any discounted fresh produce can be frozen on the day you buy it and used for summer dinners.
Stretch your food
Catering for three meals a day rather than just one or two will have an impact financially but a couple of simple savvy cooking tricks can make your food shop go that extra mile.
a) Adding red lentils to bolognaise or chilli con carne adds additional protein to the meal as well as stretching it out by another 50%! The red lentils will puff up and will be almost undetectable in amongst the other ingredients.
b) Yellow lentil dahl served with rice is a very simple, and very cost-effective meal option. A packet of yellow lentils costs £0.75 and can make up to 10 portions of dahl… and it freezes like a dream!
c) Finely chopping carrots, onions and celery makes a tasty and substantial base for most one-pot dishes. This trick helps to stretch out the meal and is helps you to sneak lots of vegetables into dishes, and they go undetected by children. Win, win!
d) Buy now, freeze and use at a later date. Having a freezer filled with frozen meats, bread and frozen vegetables ensures meal prep time is less stressful, less costly and in the long run, healthier.