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How Parents Can Save Money While Keeping Children Entertained This Summer

Summer is a time for family fun – but it can also quickly burn a hole in your wallet. And if this is causing concern, you’re not alone.

More than a third (37%) of parents with children aged 18 and under worry their finances will suffer during summer due to the extra costs involved, according to StepChange Debt Charity.

While making ends meet is particularly difficult this year for many families, as living costs surge, there may be ways of making your cash stretch further.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has been reminding parents to make sure they don’t miss out on Tax-Free Childcare that could help them deal with summer costs.

Available for children aged up to 11, or 17 if the child has a disability, the money can help towards holiday clubs, before and after-school clubs, childminders and nurseries, as well as other approved childcare schemes.

Eligibility will depend on individual circumstances and more information is available on their website (www.childcarechoices.gov.uk).

With rising food bills also putting pressure on families, some supermarkets and restaurants are offering deals on kids’ meals this summer, which could help them to save some much-needed cash.

Asda has a ‘kids eat for £1 initiative’ in cafes across the UK – with no minimum adult spend required. In England and Wales, the offer starts on July 25, while in Scotland and Northern Ireland it has already started. The offer was originally due to run until September 4 but has now been extended until the end of the year.

Morrisons is offering customers a ‘meal of the day’ for under a fiver (£4.99) in its cafes. On weekdays from 3pm, a ‘daily special’ will be discounted – and as a child can eat free all day with the purchase of any adult meal, a family of four can potentially dine out for £9.98.

There may also be free or low-cost activities you can take advantage of at local museums.

People living in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Guernsey may also want to check out whether private gardens being opened up over the summer in their area. The National Garden Scheme website (ngs.org.uk) has lots of info. Scotland’s Gardens Scheme has gorgeous gardens to choose too (scotlandsgardens.org).

Family sitting outside a tent enjoying summer
Summer can be a pricey time for parents (Alamy/PA)

Websites such as Groupon and Lastminute.com also have deals on family days out. And if you’re booking day trips or holidays, or items to be used over the summer, it may also be worth checking whether you can get some cashback on them by using websites such as TopCashback.co.uk and Quidco.

“Check out a local community website or notice board at a library or church for any free events in your area,” suggests TopCashback’s Elle McAtamney. “There’s usually plenty on – from arts and crafts to taster sessions for dance and marital arts, and events are usually put on more often during holidays. Take advantage of little-to-no travel and hopefully little-to-no or low costs.”

Planning over the summer is also key, she says, as this will make families less likely to “splurge” on youngsters if they become bored.