A debt charity has issued ten top tips to survive the school holidays on a budget.
Christians Against Poverty, which has nearby debt centres in Bootle, Crosby, Aintree and Maghull, says many parents find it difficult to keep children amused through the long break without over-spending.
Now it wants to remind families of the free or low-cost activities that can be enjoyed instead of putting family finances at risk.
Bootle Centre Manager Lynda Cooper said: “When the weather is good, the options are more obvious but when it’s wet, you have to be more inventive and it helps to have some good ideas to hand.”
Many local councils have activities on offer for children in parks, libraries and sports centres while most museums are free and may have special Summer events on offer.
Lynda added: “I want to say to parents, be smart about the Summer holidays. Do your research now and make a plan. Decide how much you can afford each week and create a ‘treats fund’ - however small - and talk about it with your children.
“Involve them in how you will spend it – they will appreciate what happens so much more and it’s a great lesson for them.”
Christians Against Poverty has a wealth of knowledge in helping families overcome spiralling debts and encouraging them to live to a budget.
To find out more, visit www.capuk.org or call 0800 328 0006.
CAP’S TOP TEN TIPS:
- Make sure you have other parents’ phone numbers before the children break up from school. A play date is the easiest way to entertain – and if the favour is returned, you might win yourself a quiet day!
- Remember treasure hunts as a kid? Geocaching is the updated version and is suitable for all ages. Download a free app such as c:geo onto your smart phone and away you go.
- Avoid the ice-cream van by making your own lollies with cheap moulds and squash/fruit juice. Freeze different colours in sessions to make stripes!
- If you’re going anywhere for the day, take a picnic and you’ll avoid the expense of cafes when you’re out. Refill water bottles with squash, add some crisps, sandwiches and fruit – done!
- Get crafty with papermache, card making, find someone who knits, paints, does DIY and can share their expertise.
- Get baking! It doesn’t have to be expensive. Buns, flapjacks, biscuits – they are all fairly easy and will brighten up a dull afternoon. If you don’t want to put the oven on, try putting ‘fridge cake’ into Google.
- Visit someone – a relative, friend or neighbour who would like some company. It will make their day and give you all a change of scene.
- Avoid shopping as a past-time. It’s not a good habit for you and could spell trouble for your children in future.
- Become a nature detective! Lots of free printables, ideas and venues to discover from the Woodland Trust via http://www.naturedetectives.org.uk/summer/
- Don’t beat yourself up about not being able to provide a plush holiday for your family. The most valuable thing you can do is to spend time with them – even if it’s washing the car together and getting soaked.