Keeping school holiday costs down

Published: 15 July 2019

Christmas? Summer? If we are defining the most expensive time of the year for families, it’s a tough call. Whereas gifts hammer our December bank balances, during the summer months, it is time, childcare, activities and food.

There’s no denying the excitement kids feel when that summer freedom comes calling, and there is plenty to celebrate, for the benefits the summer break can bring.

Last week, four mothers told MPs about the constant money worries the holidays can bring. A quick perusal of any search engine will soon reveal posts of dread from parents on Mumsnet, Net Mums and The Student Room forums.

There is no getting away from the simple fact that for most of us, we simply don’t get the same 6-weeks or more off like our kids…if only. This means they are going to need childcare, enrolling onto camps, courses and other activities, and of course, feeding - and that could cost a little more than school dinners too. Although there is no stopping them, here are some ways to keep costs down during the holidays and how the Buckinghamshire Family Information Service (BFIS) can help.


Free and Low-Cost Activities

Take a look at:

Free and low-cost summer holiday activities in Buckinghamshire

As a Family Information Service, there are certain things we must do, one of these things is to provide Information, Advice and Assistance (IAA) to parents and carers relating to services and facilities available. Having hundreds of holiday activities on our directory is just one of the ways we do this. We know that holiday activities can be expensive, so that’s why we look out for free and low-cost activities, and why our search result can be filtered by this too.


Early Bird Bookings and Sibling Discounts

Start thinking about the holidays early, or at least the times during the holidays that you know you’ll need something lined up. Many attractions and places running activities offer Early Bird discounts if you register before a particular date. Some may also reduce prices for any siblings that attend too. If it’s too late to get early bird discounts for summer, you will find October half term activities being added to the BFIS website already so plan head.

One of the ways you can find early bird bookings and offers is to check out the Offers Tab on the @BucksFamilyInfo Facebook page. We strive to bring the very best information to families in Buckinghamshire and though our adaptive approach, we continue to deliver our information in new and more useful ways. Surely worth a thumbs up?


Childcare, Funded Childcare and Holiday Schemes

Find Ofsted-registered childcare including funded childcare, holiday clubs and those who are inclusive for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). Search by town, postcode, funding type and more.

Read about Tax-Free and 30 Hours Childcare to see if you could benefit from these government schemes.


Max Cards for children with SEND

If you have a child who is aged 0 to 19, has a Special Educational Needs or a Disability (SEND) and lives in Buckinghamshire, you can sign up to Pinpoint and receive a free Max Card which provides discounts at local and national attractions.

Pinpoint is Buckinghamshire's Disabled Children's Register. This secure, voluntary database captures information about children and young people aged 0 to 19 years with SEND and helps the council to plan, monitor and develop appropriate facilities and services.

> Find out more about Pinpoint and Max Card


Check for discount codes and vouchers

Have you bought something online, clicked your way to the checkout and seen a box below the pay button saying Voucher or Discount code? That’s a sign. A sign you should pause and do a quick search for the item, the company, followed by “discount code”. There are dedicated websites that pull together such money-saving marvels and many newspaper websites have dedicated sections for this too. It’s the 21st century way of cutting out coupons. Often there will be coupons for activities, products and training courses. You could be surprised how much just a couple of minutes searching could save you. Websites such as Groupon and Wowcher are also good places to find discounted experiences and days out. Supermarket activity vouchers are also a common way parents and carers can save on activities and things to do for their children. If you have friends or family, why not ask them to collect for you or send any surplus vouchers your way? 


Know where to find money-saving information

Finding trusted sources of information can also help you save money. On the BFIS website, you will find Money, Benefits and Allowances information and related services. Here are a couple more sources with useful information that could save you money.

The Money Advice Service

Same stuff, cheaper price

Free printed guides

Including budget planning, how to help teenagers manage their money and lots more.

School Holiday Deals

Days out, free activities, restaurant offers and more.


Note: This article contains some ideas and considerations that could help to save money. It does not promote, encourage or validate any particular company, product or service.