Beware the dreaded vaycay

Lifestyle

Beware the dreaded vaycay

It could be emptying your wallet

Suthentira Govender

The dreaded winter holiday is in mid swing – and with it has come anxiety for cash-strapped parents already battling a tough economic climate.  Kicking off last week Friday, the school holidays might by a carefree time for kids, but for parents it means more financial pressure as they scramble to keep them fed and entertained for the break.A recent international study, published in the journal Childhood, found that for low-income families, battling to make ends meet, holidays become a nightmare.   The study by the University of Glasgow, titled The Cost of School Holidays for Children from Low Income Families, found that vacation time can offer children the chance to have new experiences, opportunities to play, relax, create memories and develop essential social skills. But for the impoverished, it brings stress.While this is true for many children, for some the school holidays are a stressful and impoverished period of isolation, boredom and inactivity.  “For low income families, the holidays often entail increased financial pressures, food insecurity, poor health and exclusion from culturally enriching and healthful activities,” the study found.Lizl Budhram, head of advice at Old Mutual Personal Finance, said parents often felt pressure to go away on holiday during the mid-year holiday.   “Parents often feel they need to do something special for the kids after the exams. But the way the petrol is going, it definitely puts significant added pressure on the budget.”   Budhram says the 2017 Old Mutual Savings and Investment Monitor showed a shift in the way families were spending on luxuries like entertainment and holidays.  “The 2017 monitor showed that families continue to cut back on entertainment in and out of the home. Specifically 56% cut back on holiday spending.“It shows that people are starting to pay attention and realise that it’s not a necessary expense and they need to plan better.”   The monitor also showed that there was an 80% cutback for metropolitan households on entertainment – including activities like eating out and going to the movies.   “It looks as if people are really taking their budgets more seriously and cutting down on unnecessary expenses.”  
Budhram advised parents not to “throw caution to the wind” when it came to the holidays, but rather stick to their monthly budgets, to avoid added debt.

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