Martin Lewis’ MoneySavingExpert team has offered advice to parents on how to save money over the summer holidays.
It comes as households across the UK struggle to cope with the rising cost of living, with food, energy and fuel bills all soaring in price.
The summer holidays are just around the corner and it can be an expensive time for parents as they try to can youngsters fed and entertained.
But it is possible to cut down on costs with a few simple tips.
Free school meals
In the latest MoneySavingExpert newsletter, parents whose children get free school meals during term time are urged to check if they qualify for extra help during the school holidays.
The Holiday Activity and Food Programme (HAF) in England provides kids aged four and over with at least one free meal a day and access to activities.
But the process is not automatic, so Martin Lewis advises parents to apply now.
Access to the programme is run by councils, so the way to apply varies across the country. More information can be found on the government website.
Councils offer the equivalent of six weeks’ support per year to all eligible children, and you can find your local council by using the government’s find your council tool.
Look for cheap days out
Mr Lewis says there are lots of cheap days out that kids will enjoy over the summer holidays.
Cineworld’s Movies for Juniors allows kids under the age of 14 to get tickets for £2.50, but children must be accompanied by an adult to be eligible for the discount. Those who book online will have to pay 75p per ticket.
Other cinema companies such as Odeon and Vue also have similar offers for kids at the weekend and during the school holidays.
The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) is also hosting free tennis sessions of coaching at over 100 venues across England, Scotland and Wales. Your nearest venue can be found on online.
Parents are also encourged to look for cheap days out at attractions such as theme parks and museums.
Help from charities
Many charities can help if you are struggling financially this summer, with different grants available for things such as household bills, clothing and holidays.
The MoneySavingExpert team recommends trying to use grant search Turn2Us to see what support you could be eligible for.
The Family Holiday Charity also helps families get away together during the holidays, but you will need a social worker or teacher to refer you.
What other financial help can I get?
Households that need more financial help can contact the following organisations for free advice:
- National Debtline - 0808 808 4000
- Step Change - 0800 138 1111
- Citizens Advice - 0808 800 9060
You can also speak to your utility providers as some have schemes in place to help with bills and arrears, including hardship funds and grants.
It is also worth checking you are getting all the benefits you may be entitled to. You can use the government’s online benefits calculator to make sure you are not missing out on any extra money.
More help is also on the way from the government for every UK household, with some in line to get up to £1,500 depending on the circumstances.
Every household will get £400 off their energy bill this winter, plus a £300 payment will be sent to pensioners and £150 extra will be given to those with certain disabilities.
Those claiming Universal Credit and certain benefits will also get a £650 one-off payment, with the first instalment to be made later this month.