Survive school holidays on a budget

Keeping the kids amused throughout school holidays is no mean feat - and it can clean out your wallet, too. But entertaining your children doesn't have to be about forking out for endless tickets - the beach or a day at the park are always foolproof options, but with a little planning and some new ideas, you can avoid the dreaded "Mum! I'™m bored".

The holidays might be great for the kids, but with all the extra action involved, parents can suffer from "holiday fatigue", so stick to one activity per day - and mix it up so some days can be enjoyed at home. Try these tips for surviving the next school break without breaking the budget

Take the family on a minibreak: You don't need to spend a bomb on a fancy resort to enjoy some family time away, if money is a little tight think about a camping holiday or renting a place with another family so that you can share the cost. It goes without saying planning and saving ahead is key, but to get focused, use a savings calculator to see how much you'll need to set aside each week in time for that escape.

Movie night at home: Sure, it's tempting to bring the kids to a cinema just so you can zone out for a couple of hours, but tickets costing around $70 for two adults and two children - plus the hard-to-avoid and overpriced snacks, a family flick isn't cheap. Let your kids choose a DVD (even if you have to sit through Frozen yet again), make your own popcorn and enjoy an evening in.

Get cooking: Try a cooking lesson at home - invite a couple of your children's friends around (their parents can return the favour another day) and bake cupcakes or make mini pizzas. Be warned though, there'll be a clean-up involved.

Holiday at home: Be a tourist in your own city - explore the sights or take a picnic lunch to the botanical garden - you'll see your hometown in a new light.

Get your hands dirty: Start a garden project together, such as planting flowers or a herb garden. Collect empty strawberry punnets, fill with potting mix and sprinkle with seeds to create a mini greenhouse. Teach your kids to water the seeds gently every day and they can watch the seedlings grow.

If you can't take time off from work: If you're working full-time, it's not always possible to be available during school holidays. If family or friends can't be enlisted to help, then you'll have to arrange a nanny, enrol in a school holiday program or choose vacation care. To avoid a dip in your disposable income during these times, revise your budget to factor in the cost. A budget calculator can make the task easier.

Do you have any school holiday budgeting tips you'd like to share? Leave a comment below.