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  • Writer's pictureVictoria Wallis-Smith

Quick wins for the school holidays

Let’s face it, life can be expensive, and kids don’t make it any cheaper. Given half a chance they’ll use you like a personal ATM.

With the school holidays fast approaching, leading into summer and the festive season you might be starting to feel a little stressed by it all.

Kids Holidays. Holiday Activities. Quick Wins. Money Coach. Budgeting. Holiday Stress.

Feel like a cash cow?

It can feel hard to do the school holidays without continually forking out cash.

But is it? Or is it a mindless habit that we’ve picked up – a convenient expectation of modern life – that’s up there with Uber Eats?

When we hand it out freely, what does it teach our kids about the value of money?

When I think back to my childhood and teenage years, I don’t remember being bored in the holidays – and I’m talking about spending most of my holidays at home. But I know my parents didn’t have much spare money.

Like many things, life has changed a lot over the years. But a ‘fun day’ for the family shouldn’t have to be an expensive one.

Do we need a change in our mindset?

The holiday challenge

With the household budget under more pressure than ever, I think it’s time for a reminder of holiday activities that don’t cost much, or anything at all.

Here’s a list to get you started – some are kid-friendly and some for adults in the home:

  • Visit your local library.

  • Do some baking … try using ingredients you already have.

  • Watch a movie or a TED Talk.

  • Clear out the shed / spare room / a cupboard – can you sell unwanted items?

  • Go for a walk at the beach or in the hills – take the dog – with friends.

  • Call a friend / family.

  • Go to the park for a picnic with friends.

  • Read a book / magazine / newspaper.

  • Play a board game or play cards.

  • Organise all those photos on your phone – make a shared album.

  • Give yourself a manicure/pedicure – kids and friends can do each other (spa day!)

  • Explore part of your city you don’t usually visit.

  • Plan a holiday – get the kids researching a destination / flights / accommodation.

  • Listen to music / a podcast.

  • Do yoga / exercise.

  • Do some gardening – try growing your own herbs or veggies from seed.

  • Visit the museum or art gallery.

  • Go for a bike ride / fishing.

  • Visit friends or family – take your home baked goods.

  • Download free meditation apps and meditate.

  • Wash your car.

  • Update your CV – great one for teenagers and then apply for weekend/holiday job.

  • Clean out your email inbox.

  • Learn to play an instrument / knit / sew.

  • Volunteer.

  • Do something you’ve never done before!

A holiday lesson the kids will love (or not hate!)

We all hope to teach our kids important life lessons – and learning the value of money shouldn’t be missed.

So instead of just taking them to the movies, or out for ice-cream, how about making them earn it – yep, cash cow no more!

Start by coming up with a list of chores (or activities that get them off the screens) – use some of the ideas above, or make-up your own using Google for inspiration.

Now create a second column on your list – on one side is your list of ‘Chores’ (or activities) and on the other side you’re going to create a list of ‘Rewards’.

Depending on the age of your kids and the need to get buy-in, explain how things are going to work – no more bank of mum and dad over the holidays, it’s now about “you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours”.

Once everyone’s clear and committed, it’s time to have some fun by coming up with the reward list together – there’s nothing wrong with motivation being all about the WIFM.

Remember, the rewards can be free or low-cost activities – and my hot tip is to start the reward list with a few things that works for you, setting the bar at an appropriate level.

The reward could be (more) screen time, or giving them free reign at baking (don’t worry about the mess they might make… it’s just another chore for the list😉), or maybe having a friend round for a sleepover.

In recent years, it’s been a great success over the holidays in our house….

It’s no secret I LOVE a good list. And I’m a busy business owner. And really, my kids do want to help – especially if there’s some kind of reward involved.

  • Clean out the pantry .... kids choice for dinner and family movie #quickwins

  • Wash the car .... a trip to the beach, and ice-cream for a job well done #quickwins

… and so, we work through our list.

We all have a holiday win – some of those annoying chores are finally done, the kids get some treats, and I didn’t feel like I was handing out cash like a money machine.

Importantly, we set expectations in the house – and that reduces stress.

Want more money lessons

Like many things in life, there’s no ‘secret’ to better money management – it’s small actions that we take with a foundation in recognising your priorities and approaching your money with the right mindset.

If you want a money coach to support you make the change, schedule a complimentary call using the link below, and we can discuss if Nutshell Money is the right fit for you.


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