THE cost of living crisis means we’re all tightening our wallets — but that doesn’t mean your kids have to miss out on all the fun.
Most parents spend around £1,000 to keep their little ones entertained over the school holidays, but one frugal mum has dreamed up a range of activities and day outs that won’t break the bank.
Elizabeth Buko, 35, from Hertfordshire, England, is a mother of two and knows that rising prices will make it difficult for families to get the children out of the home.
The finance mentor, who works with Pound Toy, shares her top money-saving tips with Fabulous – from eating out, outings and activities at home.
Summer vacation days can cost you hundreds if you’re not careful.
However, research shows that children are much happier playing in the park or having a picnic than spending their days at amusement parks.
Although prices have gone up on most things, there are plenty of days off to choose from, says Elizabeth.
The mother adds: “When it comes to being out and about with children, I like to visit museums, public parks and nature reserves on scooters, bikes or jump ropes.
“Most nature reserves have lakes and forests that provide a great adventure setting for children’s imaginations to run wild.”
For days when you can’t leave the house or go on a big adventure, the mother recommends arts and crafts to keep the kids busy.
That doesn’t mean you have to go out and buy lots of craft kits to get started, says Elizabeth.
Instead, use paper to make paper fans, toilet paper rolls, cereal boxes, and paint and pens lying around, and let your imagination run wild.
The money-saving mom adds, “YouTube craft channels for kids can show you how to turn them into amazing creative designs for free.”
A garden can be just as much fun as a day at the beach without breaking the bank on gas.
“Children can play ball games, hide and seek, go treasure hunting in the garden, blow bubbles, play with water and swim toys, jump on a trampoline, bounce.
“Have a picnic lunch in costume and cool off with popsicles in paddling pools,” adds Elizabeth.
books and learning
School may be over, but that doesn’t mean the kids have to stop learning.
To get kids thinking, invest in some activity books or sign up at your local library.
Libraries across the country are taking part in the Free Summer Reading Challenge, explains Elizabeth.
She adds: “This is a great way to support children with their study and reading before the next school year.
“The reward for completing each book are stickers that, when fully collected, fit together to form a story.
“I don’t know about you, but my kids love stickers! And at the end of the challenge they get a medal and a certificate.”
to eat out
If you’re looking to take your kids out for a nice lunch or dinner without breaking the bank, then there are plenty of places with kids’ deals this summer.
Even if that means you have to eat lunch during your weekly shop – Asda is offering £1 meals every day, while Morrison’s is giving away a free children’s meal after 3pm when you spend £4.99.
And it’s not just supermarkets, says Elizabeth as Yo! Sushi gives kids free lunches when they’re eating with an adult, and Bella Italia offers kids’ meals for £1 between 4pm and 6pm Monday to Thursday.
Angus Steakhouse offers customers one free kid’s meal per adult meal, and Preto allows children under 10 to eat free every day with a paying adult.
You can also save on food at home, says Elizabeth.
“Make a meal plan and list before you go shopping,” she explains.
“You can avoid waste by properly storing leftovers in sealed bowls in the fridge or freezer and cooking in batches to reduce cooking times and energy costs.”