Half term heartache for ‘cash strapped Brits’

Parents are being forced to compromise their finances during half-term breaks.

With the first half term of 2014 set to get underway on February 15t…

Parents are being forced to compromise their finances during half-term breaks.

With the first half term of 2014 set to get underway on February 15th, research by VoucherCodes.co.uk has discovered the lengths mums and dads are going to in an effort to keep their kids happy. 

The average cost of entertaining children is £121, which equates to nearly £25 over the course of the five-day period. 

With 29 per cent of parents saying they get stressed merely thinking about how much money they will have to spend during half term, it's clear this is a serious issue and one that could egde families closer to the red if not handled properly. 

More than half of respondents feel the breaks only get more expensive as their kids get older, while 45 per cent admit spending the week in the house because they cannot afford to bring their offspring out. 

Parents need to be savvy

Anita Naik, lifestyle editor of VoucherCodes.co.uk, thinks it is a very common problem, as parents are always struggling for free things to do with their kids during the half term break. 

"It is worrying to see so many parents stress at the thought of half term's bill and it is worth remembering the importance of spending quality time together rather than just paying hand over fist for activities to keep them occupied," she added.

Ms Naik is calling on mums and dads to be savvy over the period, as she pointed out there are plenty of deals and offers for them to take advantage of to help them curb their spending.

Some 11 per cent of those questioned described the break as expensive, with only eight per cent labelling it as affordable. For 17 per cent, the main concern is having to take time off work as they cannot afford the cost of childcare. 

Be realistic with spending plans

As with any financial undertaking, the key to surviving a half term break is drawing up a realistic budget and sticking to it. There are plenty of free and enjoyable activities for families and these can be mixed with the odd treat. 

Among the top 'stay at home activities' are cooking, watching TV and playing games as Britons battle to curb their spending. More than 50 per cent of parents plan to do at least one of these pastimes in order to keep expenditure down.

With recent research from MoneySuperMarket showing that two-thirds of UK adults have some form of unsecured borrowing, with the average amount owed being £4,412, parents need to keep on top of their finances in order to avoid financial heartache. 

Head of banking at MoneySuperMarket Kevin Mountford is worried by the current situation facing Britons. 

"It is important to regularly review your borrowing and ensure you are on the right products that suit your circumstances. Clearing debts can seem like a daunting task, however taking the time to work out how much you can realistically afford to repay every month [is advised]," he stated.

By Amy White

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