Summer holidays – long-awaited, much anticipated and well deserved, but boy do they drain the finances. It seems that no matter how hard we try to save money through these 6 school-free weeks (taking picnics to the beach; avoiding expensive theme parks; staying in the UK for our holiday) money just slips through our fingers.
Partly this is just the sheer cost of living; our gannet-like children seem to eat their way through mounds of food in the summer, as if the sun manages to speed up their metabolism and requires them to eat 3 times their body-weight each day.
But in our family, I know that the blame often lies squarely at my door and my tendency to shrug off any holiday spending as ‘not real money’. Remember the days of going abroad as a child, or even a young adult – before the arrival of the Euro – when foreign currency looked and felt like pretend Monopoly money? When money doesn’t seem real, then spending doesn’t either and so a purchase that would seem unthinkably extravagant in the normal run of things, suddenly seems perfectly acceptable.
My problem is that I have extended the notion of ‘foreign currency spending’, to include all spending that occurs outside the ‘normal run of things’ (which actually seems to be worryingly often!). This means that whilst ‘on holiday’ buying daily ice-creams at the beach (nearly £10 for 4 people!!!) is just one of those unavoidable expenses that come with summer and I give in all too easily to my children’s pleas to buy small china animals and holiday tat on the basis that ‘we are on holiday after all’.
Three weeks in and it is therefore no surprise that I am starting to panic about my dwindling funds. I have even managed to spend money in the few days we have spent kicking round at home (finally giving in to the idea that I should invest in a decent scooter for my oldest daughter and ditch the tiny, rickety one I have been forcing her to use for the past year!).
As I watch my bank balance ticking away and attempt to suppress my mounting anxiety, I find myself contemplating the unthinkable….that maybe going back to work in a few weeks is not such a bad things after all.
What am I saying? Clearly I need a quick stroll along the seafront to get me back into the holiday spirit….and maybe we’ll just have a quick ice-cream whilst we’re there…
Well we are on holiday after all…