by Grant Bailey
Entertaining the kids costs parents a staggering £2,602 a year, a study has revealed.
Researchers found £409 will be blown on trips to soft play centres or parks and an incredible £609 a year will go on meals out, according to the poll of 2,000 parents.
The study, which was commissioned by frozen pizza brand Goodfella’s, also found the total cost soars to an average of £127 a week over the six-week summer holiday, as parents find ways to stop their offspring becoming bored.
A spokesperson for Goodfella’s, who commissioned the study, said: “Keeping children entertained needn’t be a costly business, but sometimes there’s no choice but to open the wallet.
“After a while, all the made-up games and free entertainment in the world will take second place to something with a cost attached.
“Heading out for a family meal can be a good way to make a summer holiday evening feel special, though it can take its toll on your finances over time.
“Plus, getting everyone organised, deciding where to eat and making sure the outing goes without a hitch can be a hassle for parents already exhausted from a day entertaining the kids.”
Each month, adults will fork out £37 on TV and movie entertainment, and a further £35 on toys, books and magazines for their kids.
As the six-week summer holiday from school looms, parents will be doing their best to keep their kids’ schedules as full as possible.
Over a third of respondents believe their kids are likely to complain about being bored over the break.
And on average, parents will only get eight days of respite before the first “I’m bored…” emanates from their child’s lips.
Just under two thirds of the population have a TV subscription, with half of those saying they keep it just to make sure their kids have things to watch.
And hard-up parents say that they lose a whole quarter of their household’s disposable monthly income to entertaining the children.
But six in 10 are happy to shell out to make sure the kids are content, with 13 per cent believing they spend ‘too much’.
A day at a theme park was picked as kids’ ultimate form of entertainment by 23 per cent of respondents, followed by TV and movies, a day at the zoo, a park trip and eating out.
Tina Weeks, an expert Financial Life Planner, added: “It is fascinating to observe the changes in family spending habits over the last few years, and these observations have been backed up by this research.
“It is startling to see how much is being spent on things that would previously have been considered luxuries – for example technology, eating out, and TV subscriptions. These items are often purchased unconsciously because people are not budgeting.
“Noticing and planning their spending using a budget would ensure that families were spending mindfully which often leads to changes in behaviour and means funds are more usefully deployed.
“Simple swaps such as enjoying a restaurant-quality meal in the home rather than dining out can make big changes to the bottom line.”
To help parents save money without scrimping on the finer things in life, Goodfella’s has launched the Romano range of premium frozen pizzas – developed with a stonebaked base and generous quality toppings, available for just £2.50.
A spokesperson for Goodfella’s added: “Before the long summer holiday hits and the cries of boredom begin, parents should take some time to consider how they’re going to keep their little ones occupied with the budget they have saved.
“Keep things cost-effective by bringing the fun of a meal out or play activity into the family home wherever you can.”
“Our new range of Romano pizzas mean that parents can serve up restaurant quality pizzas straight from the freezer, giving a fuss-free and wallet-friendly option to heading out to the local restaurant.”
THE COST OF ENTERTAINING KIDS PER MONTH
Toys, books and magazines – £35.31
TV and movie entertainment – £37.69
Meals out – £50.81
Other entertainment e.g. days out, parties etc – £58.95
Soft play centres and play parks – £34.11
NOTES TO EDITORS
Goodfella’s new Romano range boasts a delicious thin stonebaked base generously topped with premium ingredients, from flavour-packed chargrilled vegetables to spicy ‘nduja sausage. Available for just £2.50 in supermarkets nationwide, varieties include:
· Calabrese Salami and Spicy ‘Nduja Sausage with Chilli and Black Pepper
· Four Cheese with Cherry Tomatoes and Basil Pesto
· Chicken, Roquito Pepper, and Red Onion with Garlic Oil Drizzle
· Pepperoni and Chorizo
· Chargrilled Vegetable and Pesto