Budget warning: school holiday countdown

The school holidays are fast approaching, and as every parent knows, keeping the kids amused can be a real challenge. But the school holidays don't have to be an exercise in cleaning out your bank account.

At home

Hanging out in your PJs all day is one of the time-honoured traditions of the school holidays. Why not turn this into an event? Organise a pyjama party with some of your kid's friends. Get some pop-corn, a DVD or dust off the family board games like monopoly or twister and have a fun day in.

Masterchef junior challenge: channel some of that creative energy into getting the kids baking. Kids love to be involved in cooking, from icing cupcakes, to making home-made pizzas. Sure they love making a mess, but who knows, you could even end up scoring yourself a night off the cooking each week!

Backyard adventure: spring is a great time for getting your hands dirty out in the garden. Plant some vegetables, herbs or get some seedlings from the nursery and teach your kids how to water and care for the plants. Be sure to choose fast-growing plants which will keep them interested in looking after their patch.

Out and about

You don't have to spend all of your time holed up at home just to save your budget. Days at the beach or a trip to a new park are great options for getting out in the sunshine and keeping costs low. Pack your own picnic lunch and take enough money for an ice-cream or one bought treat.

Treasure hunt: be a tourist in your own city or suburb. You'll be amazed at all of the things you've got on your doorstep such as art galleries, museums or interesting walks. Go exploring and get the kids to take a diary or notebook and write down all the new things they spot.

Movies: it's hard to avoid a day at the movies during the holidays but you can definitely steer clear of the overpriced snacks at the candy bar. Shop at the supermarket beforehand for those Maltesers, M&Ms and soft drinks. Also, if you are planning on going with another family, pre-buy your tickets in bulk to save.

Deal sites: it's worth checking out the group deal sites for school holiday deals. You could score a ticket to that theme park you were planning on visiting at a discounted rate but just make sure you know how to avoid the traps of group deal sites.

Have your say

Do you have any suggestions for being budget savvy these school holidays? Share your ideas now.