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How do parents keep spending down during the summer holidays?

Summer holidays can be the most expensive time of year for British parents, with an average of £375 extra being spent in that 6-week period.

Brand new research* compiled by AA Credit Cards reveals exactly how much they’re spending – and their tactics for controlling budgets.

Just before the holiday period kicked off this year, researchers asked 2,000 parents (of children aged 6 to 16 years) what they spent the most money on during summer.

And the survey says…

More than two thirds (68%) of parents said 'day trips'; just over half of them (54%) said they spent more on food than they would at another time of year.

Around a third (34%) shelled out more for pocket or spending money. Games and apps were moderately popular, with just 15% finding they spent more on those.

Is the money flying out on holidays?

Surprisingly, that’s not the case. Less than a third of parents went on holiday abroad; only 36% opted for UK-based holidays.

Even those ‘staycationing’ aren’t necessarily saving more. As Kathryn Thomas, Director of AA Financial Services, says: “It’s the most expensive time of year to go abroad; even families not going on a pricey foreign holiday can find that they spend much more than they normally would over the average 6-week period.”

It’s the most expensive time of year to go abroad; even [for] families not going on a pricey foreign holiday

-Kathryn Thomas, Director of AA Financial Services

No expense spared – for some

Kathryn Thomas points out that “most parents would agree that the summer holidays really hit them in the pocket”. Indeed, 7 out of 10 (71%) admitted as much.

While most parents have an eye on their budget, some have a lot more wiggle room. One in 20 (5%) said they spent an astonishing £1,000 or more during the school holidays.

Creative solutions

If it meant spending more time with their children, the additional cost is considered worth it (only 5% of the parents spent more money on babysitters). That means finding time-honoured ways of reducing costs, or at least spreading them.

“It’s no surprise”, says Thomas, ”that they try to find ways to entertain their children that don’t break the bank and may also use credit cards to help spread the costs.”

Of the most popular money-saving tactics, top of the list is visiting the park and free attractions (used by 57% and 55% respectively). For half of the parents, money-off vouchers were a must for getting into paid attractions.

Other top-rated free ways of keeping children entertained were encouraging them to play with their friends (42%), or enjoying crafty hobbies at home (29%).

If you’re looking for some 'days out' inspiration, look no further than our online attractions section.


More about AA Financial Services

*Research compiled by AA Credit Cards and conducted by One Poll on 7-13 May 2015, amongst 2,000 people aged 18+ with children aged 6-16.


(August 2015)


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