Summertime can be a little pricey – the kids are home for six weeks and you’re eager to keep them busy. Here are nine clever cost-saving tips

Image: 9 ways to plan for a fun but affordable summer

Photo: Zhao ! / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: kodomut


1. Create a wish list

Before the summer holidays begin, sit down with your kids and create a wish list of special activities that might cost a little extra money. Pick your favourites and mark them on the calendar as ‘spend days’. For the rest of the days in the month, ensure you spend little or no extra money.

Creating a wish list


2. Hunt for discounts

Plan ahead and look out for discount rates or free times at the cinema, zoo, museum, or even for dining out. Lots of places will give group or 2-for-1 discounts, so invite your kids’ friends and parents too, so you can all enjoy the savings.

Hunting for discounts

Photo: Sjoerd Lammers / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: sjoerdlammers


3. Plan your meals

During the summer, you’re most likely cooking one more meal per day and that cost can add up. So, do a weekly meal plan in advance and ensure your dinner will make great leftovers the next day. Check out our ideas for leftover cooking here.

Planning meals

Photo: taz + belly / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: taz + belly


4. Have fun for free

There are heaps of fun activities that cost little or no money. From camping in the backyard, creating DIY crafts to making your own summertime treats, read our guide to affordable fun here.


Photo: Zhao ! / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: kodomut


5. Plan for off-peak travel

If you’re booking travel to near or far destinations, ensure to travel at off-peak times for additional savings. This means avoiding rush hour travel and even planning holidays during the week rather than the weekend. There is usually a huge saving for car hires and flights if not booked over a weekend.

Off-peak travel


6. Share the childcare

Instead of hiring a babysitter for a night out, do childcare swaps with your kids’ friends’ families. You’ll enjoy the additional savings for a night out, while your kids will still be having fun with their friends too.

Sharing childcarer

Photo: Linus Φόλλερτ / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: airbuxtehude


7. Keep it local

Your local council may have cheap or free activities to do over the summer months. Look out for subsidised summer programmes or even free times to swim in the local lido.

Public swimmingpool

Photo: Seattle Municipal Archives / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: seattlemunicipalarchives


8. Switch it off

While you’re making the most of the outdoors this summer, ensure to switch off additional power and appliances in your home. This means the television, microwave and even the computer. Try instigating a family daytime technology cleanse to get everyone involved in outdoor activities together.


Photo: Paul Kitchener / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: londondesigner


9. Give a second hand

Summer is a great time to get rid of unwanted clothing and furniture and make a little extra money from it. Take your kids to your local car boot sale where they can sell their unwanted toys or knickknacks for a little extra pocket money too.

Car boot sale

Photo: David / CC BY-SA 2.0 / adapted / Flickr: brokentaco