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Press release   •   Jul 13, 2015 00:01 BST

  • Parents to spend £600 entertaining their children over the summer break – over £100 more than last year
  • An additional £146 will be spent on fuel and a further £101 on childcare –taking the total possible cost to almost £900
  • Over half of all parents (55 per cent) worry about the cost of entertaining their children during the holidays
  • One in five parents (18 per cent) will dip into their savings to cover the cost of entertaining their children this summer

With the summer holidays just around the corner, parents across the UK are preparing to fork out £600* on entertaining their children – up from £492 last year**, according to Post Office Money’s annual Parents’ Summer Spending Report.

Parents have seen the cost of summer holidays increase year-on-year since 2012, and this summer is no exception. The amount spent on entertaining children has increased by 50 per cent since 2012, as the cost of living continues to increase.

  1. Summer expenditure year-on-year
Almost half (45 per cent) of parents are set to spend on visiting attractions, including theme parks and museums, while two-fifths (42 per cent) are planning meals out. One quarter of parents (25 per cent) believe sweets and ice cream will be their biggest expenditure. However, these demands on parents’ purse strings will go beyond simply entertaining children this summer, as they expect to spend a further £86 on other people’s children, £101 on childcare and £146 on fuel.

While children will be counting down the days until the holidays begin, over half (55 per cent) of their parents are worried about how they will afford these summer costs – despite planning to spend more than last year. Many (50 per cent) feel under pressure to ‘keep up with the Joneses’ and compete with other parents’ spending.

Some families will look at the sacrifices they can make to reign in their spending. A third (34%) of mums and dads will give up buying new clothes and 33 per cent will stay in to save a few extra pennies. Worryingly, 7 per cent of cash strapped parents admit they may have to give up paying household bills to make ends meet.

Henk Van Hulle, director at Post Office Money comments on the findings: “This upcoming summer break provides families with the opportunity to come together and enjoy days out – yet the cost of doing so continues to rise year after year. Despite this, many parents remain unsure of how they will pay for the costs of entertaining their children. By planning ahead and setting aside money earlier in the year, parents can avoid being stung by surprise expenses or missing bill payments, and enjoy the holidays free of financial fears.”

Parents resort to a number of measures to cover the cost of summer; one in five (18 per cent) expect to dip into their savings to pay for expenses, while 16 per cent will take a break from saving. Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) will end up relying on their credit card, while 18 per cent will boost their funds by working overtime. Others will borrow from family and friends (10 per cent) in order to make the summer holidays one to remember.

Ways parents expect to cover their costs this summer:

Use my credit card 23 per cent
Dip into my savings 18 per cent
Working overtime 18 per cent
I don’t know how I will cover this expense 12 per cent
Loan from friends 10 per cent
Take up a part time job 9 per cent
Selling items on an auction website e.g. eBay 7 per cent
Dip into my children’s savings 2 per cent
Three in five (58 per cent) parents admit that they have not put aside savings to cover their summer holiday expenditure. This is particularly concerning as more than a third (36 per cent) ended up spending more than they had originally budgeted for last summer.Henk Van Hulle continues: “Post Office Money offers a range of ways to manage your finances, including options such as savings accounts and credit cards, so there is something to suit everyone. It is particularly reassuring to see a number of parents saving in advance, but we definitely still have a long way to go.”

Top tips for enjoying your summer holiday on a budget

  • Track down deals online, there are great discounts and 2 for 1 offers to be found to theme parks, the cinema, family days out and restaurants
  • Look out for offers at local attractions and events organised by your local community, these are often free or inexpensive
  • Travelling by train can also be cheaper if you book tickets in advance and avoid travelling at peak times
  • Some museums have free entry throughout the year and the summer break is a great time to make the most of this
  • Whether you’re heading to the park, a museum or simply a day in town, take a packed lunch
  • Look out for deals at supermarkets that could save you money on packed lunches or simply eating at home
  • Organise a fun-filled day at home such as cake making, painting, crafts or start a reading club
  • Filling up at a less expensive garage or driving in a way that’s fuel efficient could mean you save extra cash
  • Volunteering for a charity or helping out in the community during the summer is a free and rewarding way to enjoy the break


*Research conducted by Opinium on behalf of Post Office Money between 19th and 22nd May 2015. 2,002 online interviews took place. Parents expect to spend £100 a week entertaining their own children – 6 X £100 = £600. The cost in 2014 was £492.

** Table showing how summer holiday spending has changed over the last four years (looking at expenditure throughout the full six weeks):

2015 £600
2014 £492
2013 £460
2012 £400
What parents expect to spend the most money on:
Entrance to attractions 45 per cent
Eating out 42 per cent
A holiday abroad 29 per cent
Treats – sweets/ ice cream 25 per cent
Petrol 21 per cent
Sporting activities – e.g. swimming, tennis 15 per cent
Shopping outings 14 per cent
Toys/Books/ Computer games 12 per cent
Holiday clubs/summer camps 6 per cent
Public transport 6 per cent
Child-minders / nannies 3 per cent
What parents would consider sacrificing to cover summer costs:

Buying new clothing for myself/partner 34 per cent
Going out evenings/ at the weekend 33 per cent
Buying treats such as magazines, coffees out, make-up etc. 27 per cent
Having takeaways 27 per cent
Putting money in savings etc. during this period 16 per cent
Cut back spend on weekly shopping e.g. buying supermarket own brands 14 per cent
Paying my mortgage, I would take a mortgage holiday 9 per cent
A family break 9 per cent
Paying household bills e.g. electricity, gas 7 per cent
Give up my gym/sports club membership 5 per cent
Average weekly spend per age group:

Under 3 £113
4 – 10 year old £129
11 – 15 year old £83
16 – 18 year old £68

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