Financial planning is the difference between holiday fun and holiday stress
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Bayport Blog

With financial planning and a personal budget, holiday activities don’t have cause financial stress

Published: April 23, 2021
Categories: Financial wellness
Tags: Budgeting, Financial Health, Financial Stress, Financial Tips

With financial planning and a personal budget, holiday activities don’t have to break the bank and cause financial stress

Keeping children busy during the holidays can feel like a full-time job. With some clever financial planning, you can maintain your financial wellness while funding the fun.

“I’m bored.” Two words that can drain every parent’s energy. Especially when you hear them on the first day of the school holidays with another week or two ahead, and with your budget carefully balanced.

Financial planning starts with planning

As with most things in life, some advance planning can go a long way to solving the what-can-we do problem. Start by getting the parents and/or other caregivers in your household together and discuss ideas and – importantly – ground rules. For example, make sure all the adults know and agree on the holiday entertainment budget. Use this budget planner to help you draw it up. Also agree on principles such as how much screen time children will be allowed per day, how many playdates there can be, and the fact that children don’t have to be entertained round the clock.

Next, get the children around the table and talk about the holidays ahead. It is an opportunity for them to put ideas on the table of things they’d like to do, and for the adults to add their ideas and explain the ground rules. Talking about the available entertainment budget should be part of this discussion. Allow the children to help decide whether you will use the money to go go-cart racing, visit the zoo, go out for hamburgers, or put petrol in the car to visit a new place.

Having these discussions up front, will help you to manage your children’s expectations, and create a shared picture of what the holiday period will be like for everybody. For instance, if you are still working from home at least a few days per week, your children need to understand that you need time to concentrate and be productive.

Affordable holiday fun

Having agreed on the broad outlines of the holiday, here are some ideas for holiday entertainment that is kind to your personal budget.

  • Encourage children to read by taking them to the library. Public libraries are free, and often have excellent children and young-adult sections. If you live in Johannesburg, the public library in town is certainly worth an outing.
  • Dig out your board games, cards, and puzzles, and play. Thanks to Covid-19 confining us to our homes, “old-fashioned” games have made a comeback. They are not only great for keeping the kids occupied, but also for family time. Make a big bowl of popcorn and spend an hour or two around a game of cards, Monopoly, Scrabble, or the countless other games available.
  • As part of your pre-holiday planning, make a list of all the free entertainment options in your area. These include parks with playgrounds or outdoor exercise equipment, museums that don’t charge entry fees, and special holiday events at places like shopping centres (just remember to keep social distancing in mind). A picnic in a park with a jungle gym, swings, and slides can be great fun.
  • Pool resources with friends and family. Whatever you do, don’t try to get through the holidays on your own. Coordinate childcare with other working parents, so that each of you only has, for instance, one day per week to make a plan. Exchange books, games, and even toys, so that your children have something new to play with without you having to buy new things. And when you take your kids to the park or library, offer to take a friend or two with.
  • Arrange for your children to spend time during the holiday with someone who can teach them a new skill. For instance, a granny can teach them to knit, bake biscuits or make pottery; an artistic friend can run an informal painting class, or a cousin who loves cooking can work with them to make a simple meal. The possibilities are endless.
  • Don’t forget the chores. With the children at home, it is only fair that they help to get household chores done. Not only will that help you, but it also teaches them valuable life skills.
  • Spend time together as a family. Holidays mean the kids don’t have homework and after-school activities, which leaves more time in your family schedule. Fill some of that with things you don’t always have time for, such as family dinners.

Holidays don’t have to be a source of financial stress. By simply doing some upfront planning, getting your household on the same page about spending, and thinking creatively about activities, your children can have lots of fun, while your budget stays healthy.

Click here for a personal budget planner and for more information on financial planning, visit:

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