Summer is here – well at least the school holidays are

It’s still raining and the floods haven’t gone away yet – but summer is officially here with the end of the school term.

Parents are contemplating exactly what to do to fill the next six weeks – and they’re also looking at a potentially massive bill to rival the Christmas spending spree.

Experts reckon the bill for kids’ entertainment over the summer will amount to a massive £4.7 billion as the costs mount up from the family holiday, eating out, day trips, hobbies, video games and DVDs, toys, childcare and sports gear. There are the traditional summer movie blockbusters with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Shrek III both on at a cinema near you. outlines the costs and how to keep them under control…

That summer bill

The biggest cost is estimated to be the family holiday but the spending doesn’t end there.

Average extra costs according to research shows

  • £737 for the average family holiday
  • £254 on days out
  • £85 on eating out
  • £70 on kids hobbies
  • £42 of video games and DVDs
  • £69 on extra childcare for working parents
  • £42 of sports gear

Not all families will spend as much. After all with the terrible summer weather you might save some money by staying in. Every cloud – and there have been a few – has a silver lining for the family budget. And many of us will have saved up for the holidays and budgeted to the last penny.

Parents should also learn to say no to kids demanding extra cash. It is possible to have a good time without spending a lot of money. We know…it’s not always that easy!

Where does it go wrong?

As many as 41 per cent of parents admit they went over their budget last year underestimating how much it would cost to keep the kids happy for the summer. That’s two out of five of us having to find extra cash to keep us going over the next six weeks.

And that can lead to financial problems if you are already committed to spending. And of course sometimes you have no choice such as spending on additional childcare if you are a working parent.

Figures show that the average childminder costs £141 a week while a nursery place costs up to £146 a week. Grandparents willing to do it for free are at a premium.

Making it right

Ideally you should have savings to hand to dip into if the budget runs out of control along with your kids. Interest rates are heading up – which for savers at least – is a good thing and you should look to an instant access savings account. Best rates currently are six per cent or more.

Compare savings accounts

But if you’ve not got savings your best bet is a credit card which will tide you over when the going gets tough – ideally you should look for a low introductory rate. Remember rates are generally around 16.1 per cent so if you do overspend try and clear the debt as soon as possible.

Compare credit cards

You can also let your overdraft take the strain – as long as you have an overdraft facility in place. If you don’t you could be stung with high interest rates of up to 29 per cent and also charges of around £30 a time.

A bit of financial focus now will make the rest of the summer more comfortable – so try and enjoy it and if that doesn’t work then they’ll be back at school soon enough.

Click through to MoneyExpert for money saving hints and tips

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