Parents urged to avoid overspending

Pat Hanson with boredom jar

Pat Hanson with boredom jar

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LOCAL debt counsellors have urged parents in Glenrothes to be savvy spenders in the school holidays.

Christians Against Poverty, which has recently started offering its services in the town, wants families to avoid being pressured into costly children’s activities.

Pat Hanson, centre manager at CAP’s Glenrothes branch, said: “Everyone wants their kids to have a lovely time in the Summer but if you want to avoid dipping into the overdraft, it will take planning.

“Some research and imagination at this stage will save you pounds in the holidays and help families avoid the kind of debt problems that can soon mount up.”

To aid parents, the Fife-based charity has produced a top ten great summer ideas to avoid overspending – good news for the two in three families expected to holiday at home this summer.

“It really doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive for the family to enjoy time together,” said Pat.

“Some space, some time, some toys and a picnic can be all it takes to provide a memorable day out.”

Shopping around for deals and offers is also recommended. Visit Scotland has a two for one voucher on offer for attractions like the Edinburgh Butterfly and Insect World and Dunfermline’s Vintage Bus Museum.

Free festivals can be an inexpensive entertainment for the whole family too – and Glasgow’s Merchant City Festival from July 24-28 is definitely worth putting on the calendar. Pat added: “Not many people are able to take the whole holiday off work but don’t forget many churches run holiday clubs and it is worth finding out if there is one near you. If money is tight because people have debt or budgeting problems, we can help.” Visit on www.capuk.org or call 0800 328 0006.

CAP’S MONEY-SAVING SUMMER TOP TEN:

1. Make a ‘boredom jar’ full of cheap ideas written on slips of card for a fun lucky dip.

2. Libraries, most museums and some art galleries are free to enter – and will have all kinds of events on for youngsters during the holidays. The newly-refurbished Kirkcaldy Galleries would be ideal.

3. Do something new or different – paint a picture outdoors; ride on a bus if you don’t usually; camp in the garden; eat something you’ve never tried before.

4. Remember the fun of treasure-hunts? Geocaching is the hi-tech version and will take you places you never knew existed! Use the GPS on your smart phone and a free app like c:geo to find “treasure” which is hidden all over Scotland. Find out more at geocaching.com

5. Before the children break up from school, make sure you exchange numbers with other parents. A get-together with friends is the best way to beat boredom.

6. See what your Fife Council has on offer so you can make the most of any free entertainment

7. Never underestimate the power of a picnic! Keep it simple.

8. Make the most of one of natures best ever toys: the stick! Get your wellies on and find some woodland events – check www.naturedetectives.org.uk for great free resources.

9. Don’t go out for a meal without checking moneysavingexpert.com’s website to see what vouchers are on offer.

10. Decide how you can help someone else – wash a neighbour’s car together; bake a cake and visit a relative.