I'm a money pro – how to save £1,000s on kids this summer holidays | The Sun

SCHOOL holidays are just around the corner and set to put more pressure on already-stretched household budgets.

Millions of Brits are facing an extortionate rise in the cost of living, leaving many worried about their bills.

Struggling households are facing fuel hikes, rapid rises in the energy price cap and sharp rises in food costs.

And for the next six weeks, parents will have to juggle covering childcare, food, and keeping children entertained.

Research commissioned by the debt charity StepChange shows that 37% of parents with children ahed 18 and under are concerned they will fall into financial difficulty this summer.

We spoke to the charity's expert Andy Shaw to get his advice for families over the summer holidays.

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Andy said: “The summer holidays can be a stressful time for families.

"With the cost of everyday goods and services so high at the moment, the next few weeks may feel quite daunting, so making savings and shopping smart where you can could make all the difference. 

If you're worried about paying bills, falling behind or are in debt, there are plenty of organisations where you can seek advice for free, including:

  • National Debtline – 0808 808 4000
  • Step Change – 0800 138 1111
  • Citizens Advice – 0808 800 9060

Here are his top tips:

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Save £1,000s on childcare costs

You can apply for help with childcare costs if your child is under 18.

Eaxactly what you can apply for varies depending on your situation and their age.

Visit the Government’s childcare calculator to find out what you might be eligible for.

You may be able to save money with free childcare hours, Universal Credit or tax-free childcare.

For example, tax-free childcare will let you claim up to £2,000 a year for kid's holiday clubs and childcare.

Save £100s with holiday activities and food support

If your child is eligible for free school meals, you can also apply for the Holiday Activities and Food Programme.

This is a scheme provided by your local council.

Kids will be offered free activities and healthy meals during the holiday period – but the full offering varies by council.

Check with your local council to find out more.

Save £100s by using vouchers and online discount codes

A lot of online retailers will offer discounts at the checkout or if you sign up for the firms newsletters.

This is particularly true if it’s your first-time shopping there.

Do a quick online search for a discount code, which can often give a small percentage off your shop.

Sometimes companies will give you a discount when you sign up for their newsletter.

And don't forget to check cashback sites in case you can get money back on your purchase too.

Save up to 90% by buying second hand

Save money on clothing and toys by shopping second hand.

There are plenty of ways to shop second hand nowadays.

As well as popping to your local charity shops, there are a host of online marketplaces devoted to buying and selling pre-owned clothes.

You may even find stuff for free by using a recycling app where people give away items they no longer need.

We spoke to one mum who saved £3,000 on baby items by shopping second-hand.

Save up to £200 with the school uniform grant

Some local councils across the UK offer school clothing grants to households who might not be able to afford to buy new.

The grants are typically available for people on benefits such as Universal Credit, Jobseeker's allowance and child tax credits.

To check if your local council offers this, and whether you’d be eligible, visit the gov.uk website and use the postcode search tool.

We've rounded up all the cheapest places to buy school uniform.

Save £100s by planning ahead and batch cooking

To make your food shop easier and cheaper, plan ahead.

Creating a meal plan will help make sure you only buy what you need in the supermarket.

Batch-cooking means you can make multiple portions of the same meal at once, cutting the cost, and put them in the freezer to defrost and eat at a later date.

Switching to supermarket own-brand products is another common tip for reducing your food bill-and be sure to keep your eyes peeled for yellow-sticker discounts.

Save by visiting restaurants where kids eat for free

Some large supermarkets and various restaurant chains have special offers where children can eat for free or for a reduced price when an adult eats with them. 

We already list 11 of these locations.

For example, children under 16 can eat for free at Morrisons cafés when you buy an adult meal worth at least £4.99.

Save up to 50% on rail trips

You can get the best deals on train fares by booking set time advance tickets or travelling at off-peak times.

Be sure to sign up for email alerts for when there are "rail sales", and make sure your child has a railcard if they’re entitled to one.

Children under five can accompany a fare-paying passenger free of charge but can only occupy a seat not required by a fare-paying passenger.

Children aged five to fifteen inclusive get a 50% discount on most tickets.

There are options for adults too including the Two Together rail pass, which gets you money off when you and a friend or partner travel together.

Grab some freebies where you can

Most local councils and tourist information sites have listings of fun and free things to do in the local area.

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Don't forget to join your local library – many allow children to loan books and games for free.

You can find your local library using the government's finder tool.

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