You have to do a lot of budgeting both for summer holidays and new academic year.
Holidays/break from normal routines and environment is good for everyone's mental health - particularly if you are a single parent with low income, etc.
You want your children to have fun during holidays too and so you plan a holiday getaway (a budget one with almost no meals out). After you are back from your summer break, you make a list of things for the new academic year - uniforms, shoes, etc. Yes, all this can make you stressed and worried.
We have been struggling during the last few weeks, trying to keep an 11 year old entertained has been hard without the money to do anything deemed ‘fun’.
How do you tell your child no when the rest of her friends are able to do things so freely, there is only so many excuses a mum can come up with
What a week. I had my American family over and it did nothing but rain after the heat wave a few weeks ago. It was so nice to see them all but I had to watch my money which was embarrassing and I felt bad I couldn’t treat them. I did however do free stuff with them like go to an Art gallery and walk around the Titanic. I also took them on a walking tour of the murals on both sides of the community and they loved it and they didn’t have to pay for a tour as I knew so much about the murals as I grew up in the Belfast troubles. It’s the little things in life and I’m glad they had a fun day which didn’t cost any money but was precious as we all spent time together.
Well in (NI) we are already well into our summer. My 2 children have been off since the end of June. It’s harder this year than any other year financially as there’s little excess money to do anything exciting. I feel sorry for my children as the weather is rubbish and the budget cuts over here mean that there are limited spaces and trips in the summer scheme. I am thankful my friends are coming over from Manchester next Friday and hiring a car and taking me and the children on a day trip to visit the Giants Causeway and Carrick-a-rede rope bridge which my young son age 9 thinks is hilarious and will spend the entire time laughing as I’m super afraid of heights but if laughing at me screaming is the highlight of his summer then so be it. Little amused the innocent. I am also looking forward to it as I don't drive.
Honestly, a little worried and stressed.
My family are now at the point where we don’t get free school meals however we don’t earn enough to cover everything and more.
There are a lot of things for children who receive free school meals to do- clubs that are free or at a small cost.
However they don’t provide for others or if they do it costs a lot more.
I’ve resulted in putting all 3 of my children into nursery for a small amount of time each week as I get 85% back on the bill next month and been paying for it before school holidays anyway. At least they get a chance to play with others and do fun activities.
I wish I could do more for them and as my partner is working and I don’t drive I’m limited to what I can do as travelling with a double pushchair is extremely difficult.
I'm lucky enough that one of my daughters is going off to her big sisters for four days through the holidays. So that not only saves me a bit of money because she's not around, but it also keeps her entertained for a little while. We have a holiday booked to go away for two weeks, which I could only afford because my eldest two daughters have chipped in and helped pay for the holiday, so we're kind of optimistically looking forward to it. We've got lots of free events planned and free museums and free galleries to visit just to keep my youngest busy. We also received a 90 pound voucher to buy her lunch during the school holiday as she's on free school meals.
One of the often overlooked aspect of poverty, relative to the UK I mean as that's my area of experience, is the home. Council houses are great for not being on the street, and safer by far than private renting, but so hard to get into. I've moved home, the floors cos over £600 quid and that is an absolute steal! And I'm lucky. I took out a loan to pay for them and other furniture items cos my council consider a fridge freezer, washer, sofa, bed and either wardrobe or drawers, essential, the rest of the stuff needed is up to me.
I'm also super lucky that I had a housing support worker from a local charity who could advocate for me and make sure I got the washer which wasn't guaranteed as new home is within walking distance, for a person without mobility issues, of a laundrette. She fought for me and I got granted a washer. She also sorted new bills out for me and saved me the stress that is dealing with energy providers while stressed by moving. She got that sorted and set up for me, as well and updating my benefits and council tax. I've had more support from her in one week than I got for two years with the last supposed support service I had access too. It's a joke.
Well it's half term again been lovely weather so just been visiting local parks and walking to save money for the summer holidays where I'm hoping to take the kids a few places and maybe camping is an option to save money and it will be fun.
Was lucky to be able to borrow my Uncle's caravan for a few days over half term. But the cost of holiday fun really hit home. Ice creams. Going out for tea, etc. Kids don't understand when I have to say no to treats and extras. Bought all food from home and from my weekly food donation.. Kids had a good time but I think they really felt difference this time. My lad broke a very old fishing net and I couldn't afford to replace. It's little things but they all add up.
What a miserable rainy day. The children and I were so excited to go on a day trip on the train to Bangor only to discover the train line is closed this weekend due to maintenance. They were very sad. I did however discover they run an all day train and bus ticket for 2 adults and 4 children for £23 so my best friend and I who are affected by the cost of living crisis are going to do this for trips in the summer months to save money and take a picnic. This is probably going to be the toughest summer because the hunger payments for children on Free School meals have ceased and that affects me.
Found it amusing to hear a friend say she takes part in an online government survey every day,
She says the questions are always poorly phrased but least she is able to have a rant. She went on to say, "Today is all about their second homes and expenses funding. Almost every free comment made suggests we should no longer pay for their second homes etc instead ... house them in a Barge on the Thames LOL If it's good enough for our potential future citizens ... that works for me" 🤣🤣🤣
I have managed to stretch to a small Easter egg each for the boys it means that a chunk of food budget is gone but I can’t see them miss out on something else and I know they will be so happy. Having them home for Easter holiday is brilliant in that it is saving fuel in the car but wow are these kids hungry all the time so I’m having to supply 4 extra lunches a day and all the snacks so I’m not saving anything. I have started using oats and pulses to bulk out most of the food but it isn’t really touching the sides 4 growing lads can eat.