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Can you cope with the cost of kids this summer?

When the schools break up over the next few weeks, parents across the country know it means things are going to get expensive.

Last year the average family expected to spend £640 on activities and treats over the holidays. It could easily be higher in 2017 with inflation pushing up many prices in the last year. For many, it might be too much.

Days out are likely to be the biggest expense, while treats and gifts quickly add up. Camps and clubs won't be cheap, nor will be paying for extra childcare.

And this doesn’t include the costs of a family holiday – usually more expensive during July and August than other times of the year.

Prioritising what to spend

For many families, an extra £640 is a large amount of money to find, especially if they're already worried about everyday costs.

No matter how much you want to treat your kids and keep them entertained, try to make sure you have enough money to cover your priority spending – so the costs that will keep a roof over your head and your family fed and such as food, rent or mortgage, Council Tax, gas and electricity.

Finding extra money

Of course some costs are going to be inevitable if your kids are young and you don’t have the flexibility at work or family members available to look after children during the week.

You might think you’re already as lean as you can be, but it’s worth double checking where your money goes and where you might be able to cut back to find some extra cash. Completing a simple budget planner will help you do this.

Look for spending habits you don’t think are worth the money. Are you using your pay TV or subscriptions as much in the summer? Could you switch supermarket to reduce your food spend – and perhaps make more of your own food than eat out?

Be wary of borrowing to pay for the summer

If, even after cutting back, it’s going to be tight, you might be tempted to just put extra costs on your credit card, or go into your overdraft. Perhaps even consider a payday loan. With each of these you’ll hit with extra interest and penalty charges, making the summer even more expensive.

Instead, you may be able to apply for an authorised overdraft, or switch bank to one with lower fees. If your credit rating is strong enough, you could consider applying for a 0% spending credit card – though make sure you have a plan in place to pay off all the money before interest starts to be charged.

Loans may be cheaper from a Credit Union, and it’s also worth seeing if you can get an advance from work, or whether friends or family can lend you money. Just be sure you agree how and when you’ll pay them back.

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