‘COSTOBER’ – Parents Expect to Spend an Extra £645 this October Half-Term Skip to main content
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‘COSTOBER’ – Parents Expect to Spend an Extra £645 this October Half-Term

New research from Capital One UK reveals the true cost of the half-term holidays.

* 84% confessed they find it financially challenging to keep their kids entertained during half-term
* 39% of parents said October is the half-term holiday they struggle with the most financially
* 87% of hybrid working parents now look after their children while juggling their day job
* 73% of parents admit they find the school holidays especially difficult when working from home

In a hybrid working world it's no surprise that 87 percent of parents are juggling looking after their children and finances whilst trying to do their day job.

A study commissioned by Capital One UK, which surveyed 2,000 of the nations’ parents, revealed 84 percent of parents find it a financial challenge to keep the kids entertained, as costs for activities, travel and eating out have all risen considerably over the past few years.

Parents expect to spend an extra £645 throughout the half-term, with £230 allocated to additional childcare, £169 on the weekly shop and a staggering £246 on entertaining the kids. October is the half-term parents struggle with the most financially (39 percent), closely followed by February (38 percent). The May half-term is not only a warmer, lighter holiday but less damaging to wallets, with less than a quarter of parents (23 percent) citing it as the most financially challenging half-term. 

Focus on work tasks may become challenging too, as most parents (85 percent) say they have needed to work in the same room as their kids. The pressure increases during school holidays with three-quarters (73 percent) saying it's especially difficult to work from home when the kids are around.

The same study analysed the true cost of the October half-term to understand the rationale behind the increased expense. With parents admitting to still recovering from a £609 ‘financial hangover’ after the summer holidays, as they move towards October half-term. 

Cementing its position as an ally to the consumer, Capital One UK is partnering with Sophie Bradbury, known as @BudgetMumSoph on Instagram, and doing ‘One Good Thing’ by offering the nation's parents a series of money-saving tips and hacks to help them navigate the cost of the October half-term. 

Sophie’s tips to keep spending in check 

1. Check out free community events: Local libraries or community centres often host them or share information about events happening elsewhere. From Diwali workshops to pumpkin picking and Halloween arts and crafts. There are lots of free/inexpensive events to keep little ones busy.

2. Share the load: Find a fellow working parent and half the childcare duties. You can have each other’s children on alternate days throughout October half-term, so the other can work uninterrupted. The kids entertain each other, so it’s a win win!

3. Start meal-prepping: It’s easy to get into the habit of popping to the shop each night for dinner, especially when the kids are running riot at home during the holidays. But this is often much more expensive. Start meal prepping for the week ahead to save lots of time and money. Family favourites like lasagne, cottage pie and spaghetti bolognese are all easy to prepare in bulk and freeze for later!

4. Car boot sale challenge: When I'm not working I often go to charity shops or car boot sales and set myself and the kids a low cost challenge to see what we can get that we’ll love for a fiver. To make sure the purchase stretches further, why not challenge the kids to find a board game… they can then play that at home for hours more fun.

5. Plan your spending: Credit cards can be a useful tool to budget and stretch larger purchases. Make sure you set up a reminder or direct debit to pay off the card in full each month to avoid interest or late payment charges. Capital One UK’s budget planner is a handy tool to look at your finances from an annual point of view, to help you plan for bigger spending periods like holidays and half-terms.

Michelle Robb, Head of Research and Insights at Capital One UK said: “Our data shows us that half-term can be a busy, stressful and expensive time for a lot of people, especially working parents. We’re on a mission to drive positive change in the industry, putting the best interests of our customers first, by doing one small, good thing at a time. We see from the research that entertaining kids is one of the top expenses, so have commissioned @BudgetMumSoph to share some of the many ways to keep kids stimulated during the cold and dark October half-term, for little to no money. 

“Our Budget Planner is also one tool that can help parents manage their spend, preparing them for the increased costs of school holidays and the period leading up to Christmas. We’d encourage parents to monitor their spending and only spend what they can afford during the October half-term. By ensuring they budget accordingly,  it will make it easier to navigate and prepare for the times of the year where spending tends to be at its highest. ”

Over two-thirds of parents (69 percent) have been forced to cut back on certain areas to help cover the cost of school holidays, with meals out (74 percent), new clothes (60 percent), beauty treatments (48 percent) and days out (48 percent) the most common parental sacrifices made to improve family finances. 

For more information on Capital One UK’s tools, including its Budget Planner, here