At the time you are reading this, your holiday is probably already booked and your children have begun to count down the ‘sleeps’ left before you pack the car and lock the front door. Although this should be a time of carelessness and relaxation, you have to return to your normal life after a few weeks and often, the minute you pull out of your driveway, it feels like your pockets are running empty as fast as water through a sieve. It doesn’t have to be like this! These tips will help you save money on your family holiday, while simultaneously teaching your children a valuable life skill: being budget conscious.
Set a Budget for all Family Members
Involve the whole family in budget talks (to an appropriate extent of course). Decide on a spending limit per person and stick to it. For younger children, set a limit per day and enforce it. This way you’ll be able to keep track of each of your family member’s spending.
Pack Snacks from Home
This can especially save you money when you are travelling to a beach resort or camping site where restaurants and grocery stores are often overpriced or you have to travel quite a distance to get there. Stock up on snacks such as nuts, pretzels, biltong and protein bars. Make sure these items will not spoil easily, so you know you can pack some of these for a beach day too. If you must eat at a restaurant, try to plan your days so that you rather enjoy breakfast, brunch or an early lunch at the restaurant, and cook dinner at home. Restaurant dinners are always more expensive than other meals during the day. When at a restaurant, allow one cold drink per child and water if they’re still thirsty after that. No one needs two sodas worth of sugar in a row, and drinks can send a bill skyrocketing.
Set Gift Shop Limits
Younger children will not yet be able to plan an entire day or week’s budget, so teach them with small steps. If you’re going to visit a gift shop or collect some sort of souvenir, set a spending limit for each your children. It might be a good idea to determine these limits ahead of your holiday, as you may get into the holiday spirit and find yourself much more generous in the moment than you otherwise intended.
Picnics are much more cost effective than restaurants, especially with children. And they can be so much more delightful! Pack cosy blankets to sit on and find a nice spot in a park or at the beach – just remember sunscreen and wet wipes. Visit the local grocery store to get everything you need, and allow your children to pick out some items that they would like too. They are more likely to try something new if they picked it out themselves.
Collect Instead of Buy
Have your children hunt for things like seashells or tourist leaflets (make sure it’s all actually free items), or encourage them to write in their travel journal. Not only will this keep them occupied, but it will teach them that memories are worth more than material things.
With these helpful tips, you won’t return home in the new year filled with regret and wondering how you are going to repay the debt from your holiday. Instead, you’ll be the person who immediately starts planning your next trip!