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Cheap school holiday activities

Do the school holidays stretch your household budget? You’re not alone! Discover how much the school holidays are really costing you and take control of your spending with MyBudget’s Free School Holiday Budget Planner. 

It’s no holiday for your wallet

It’s no secret that kids are expensive. They’re also inflationary. If you thought that babies cost a lot, wait until they’re asking for name brand clothes, video games and smartphones. 

And then there’s the cost of school holidays. Between out-of-school-care, day camps, excursions and eating you out of house and home, it’s easy to bust your budget. 

According to a survey conducted by in 2019, over half of Australian families with school-aged children spend an extra $51 to $100 a week entertaining just one child in the school holidays. Almost a third of parents reported spending between $101 and $250 extra per week.

A separate survey conducted by Kids Business found that around half of school holiday expenditure goes on extra food. The other half is spent on entertainment and experiences, with a small proportion on new toys and games.

The cost of school holiday care

Out-of-school holiday care starts from around $60 a day before government subsidies. On top of that, parents are slugged extra for excursions or special activities.

Commercial vacation programs can be even more expensive. Kids have a smorgasbord of holiday options—sports intensives, art, design, computing, and so on—but all that fun comes at a price. A popular three-day computer coding camp, for example, comes with a price tag of $350.

Budgeting helps families control school holiday costs

Tammy Barton knows the challenge of school holidays. As well as being MyBudget’s founder and director, she’s mum to three kids ranging from eight to 18 years.

“School holiday costs sneak up,” says Tammy. “My daughter Ellie will go to a day camp or the movies or we’ll host a couple of playdates, and suddenly I’ve spent an extra $100. Add that’s just for one child.”

Tammy continues, “The key to controlling school holiday spending is to create a budget. I like to get the kids involved. I remind my kids that the reason we budget is to make sure that we get to do the fun stuff. Sometimes that means having to say no to other things.’

Get your free school holiday budget planner

Now sure where to start with budgeting? MyBudget’s School Holiday Budget Calculator is a free budgeting spreadsheet that’s easy to use. Enter your details and the calculations are done for you. Save or print it when you’ve finished.

Parents and kids alike will enjoy planning their weekly activities to see how much the school holidays really cost. 

Click the button below to download MyBudget’s free school holiday budget calculator.

More ideas for making your school holidays budget go further:

  • Think free – Check local guides for free school holiday activities. Libraries, museums, galleries, parks or good places to start.
  • Get physical  – Bike riding, skateboarding, beach days, park play dates and so on cost nothing or very little, especially if you bring a packed lunch. Don’t forget to budget for ice-cream, drinks or other treats.
  • Staycation – Home can offer loads of adventures, from backyard cricket to board games, from cooking to craft, from movies to making.
  • Recycle and reuse – Instead of shopping for new school supplies every year, do an audit of your existing supplies to see what you can reuse.
  • Garage sale – The school holidays are a good time for the kids to go through their old toys and books. Show them how to list their unwanted items online or hold a garage sale.

Get help with household budgeting

Budgeting is more than paying bills and setting aside savings. It’s about creating a money plan for the life you want for you and your family. Find out more about MyBudget’s personal budgeting services.

Ready to find out more?

Call 1300 300 922 or get started today

This article has been prepared for information purposes only, and does not constitute personal financial advice. The information has been prepared without taking into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on any information in this article you should consider the appropriateness of the information having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs.

All customised budgets and consultations with money experts are subject to MyBudget’s qualification criteria. We recommend that you read and consider our Product Disclosure Statement.

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