Surviving the school holidays

The school holidays are upon us, and for most of Australia they're even longer this year with the Easter break coinciding with usual school holidays. Blessing or blemish, it’s all up to you…

Longer holidays will mean more trips to the movies (all of which will be in 3D and cost more than a 2 hour massage), at least 100 more utterances of and 50% greater chance of premature hair loss.

With all that in mind, we've come up with some fun tips and tricks to save you money, while making the 2012 Easter school holidays memorable (in the best kind of way!).

1. Organise play dates

Organise alternating play dates with other parents from your son or daughter's school. Your children will make fast friends and you'lll get to know other mums and dads. And if you play your cards right, you'll score yourself some spare time to induldge in trashy DVD marathon.

2. Plan a quick family holiday

A longer time frame for your kids Easter school holidays, may give you the chance for a quick holiday interstate or overseas (sigh, cocktails by the pool). Just make sure you avoid your local travel agent and their commissions – try websites like Adioso, or Expedia for the cheapest flights and accommodation.

Once you've got your flights and accommodation booked, head to our Travel Money section to organise the right money options for your jet-setting family.

3. Set up a savings account for your kids

Start your offspring on the road to financial independence by helping them set up a high interest savings account. (And maybe you’ll remember just how easy it is to save a few bucks each week yourself!)

A real stand-out in the kids savings account market is the Bankwest Kids Bonus Saver, with a jaw-droppingly high 10% variable bonus interest rate when you deposit $25-$250 in a month and make no withdrawals. Oh to be young!

For the young'uns under 10 years old, the classic Commonwealth Dollarmites program will encourage kids to save, with fun benefits like games and competitions.

4. Organise indoor activities

The weather of late has been unpredictable to say the least. In the case of heavy rain, organise indoor activities to keep your kids entertained. Fun events like pyjama parties with egg painting or basket making will make the Easter school holidays a blast. And when it all gets a bit tiring, sign up at your local library and you'll be able to borrow books and DVDs for free.

5. Take advantage of cheap outdoor activities

Sick of being cooped up in the house? Instead of heading to the movies, check out some of the cheap holiday activities on offer in your local area.

For Sydney-siders, Kids in the Park hosted at Cathy Freeman Park in Sydney Olympic Park, offers free or under $20 activities, such as treasure hunts, bird watching and bike tracks.

For heaps of other options, check out state government websites: NSW, QLD