The costs of entertaining your child over the summer break can get out of hand quickly when you factor in trips to the zoo, cinemas, holiday sports programs or even a little holiday escape. All-in-all, the total figure for keeping your child occupied can reach more than $2,000, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. This doesn’t even account for Christmas shopping or other hidden costs, like the bag of chips your kid managed to sneak into the shopping cart every week! Now that school is back though, the coast is clear to get your savings in check. To give you a boost, we've put together four helpful tips!
It’s easy to get carried away in the school holidays, but now that there is some routine in your life again (and maybe some quiet time with kids out of the house) sit down and set yourself a budget or savings goals. If you already have a budget and managed to stick to it over the break, well done! If you did overspend, it may be difficult to reel it back in, so take the time to revise your budget; you might even find new areas to save.
By shopping for groceries online, you can avoid being tempted by the other items you'd have to walk past in the supermarket. You’ll also be able to see the total costs of your shopping basket at any time, instead of getting shocked by the total bill when you finally reach the checkout!
This makes it far easier to be in control of your spending as you can stop shopping when you’ve reached your limit or even review your cart for cheaper alternatives - we all know how the cost of lunchbox snacks can add up quickly.
If you’re waking up every morning to make your kids lunches, why not make yourself one too? Bringing your lunch from home, rather than going to a restaurant or getting take away can save you over $1,000 a year, and your waistline will probably thank you for it! Depending on your children’s age, you can even enlist their help - even if they can’t make a sandwich yet, you can ask them to get items out of the pantry or fridge for you. By getting your kids involved, they’ll be able to get into the habit of making their own lunches at home when they get a job. This will help them save money in the future, and also set them up with some great life skills!
Never forget that you’re not alone when it comes to kicking back into gear for the new school year! If you’re desperate for relief, whether it’s the school drop-off, babysitting, or even getting the homework done with the kids, it’s highly likely that there are some other parents that are feeling the exact same way. Talk to the parents of your child’s friends and see if you can help each other out a few afternoons a week – there may even be a Facebook group for the parents of your kid’s school that you can draw on for help. This can also free up some time for you and reduce the stress that might make you splurge cash on some feel-good purchases that you’ll regret later!