Media Release

Parents left with a $2,000 pinch from school holidays

  • School holidays cost parents over $2,000 on average
  • Biggest school holiday cost for parents was travel expenses, with an average spend of $801
  • tips on how to bounce back financially

29 January 2018, Sydney, Australia – Australian parents have gone to extreme lengths to ensure their children enjoyed the school holidays but it didn’t come cheap.

According to, the site that compares virtually everything, it cost parents $2,130 to entertain the kids over the summer break.

Travel topped the summer school holidays expenses at $801. Other costs included an average of $201 on theme parks, $192 on eating out and $191 on pocket money or spending money for the kids.

Almost a fifth (18%) of the cost - or $374 - went towards childcare while parents were at work. Money Expert, Bessie Hassan, put the spending from the past six-week period into context.

“Parents often complain about rising school expenses but the cost of having them at home is rising too.”

“When you take into consideration all the activities, entertaining the little ones costs big bucks - often more than an overseas trip. In fact, some families also did head overseas during the school holidays so would have spent even more,” she says.

Ms Hassan says attraction entrance fees, treats, and incidentals all come at a price - that many families simply cannot afford.

“Parents spent a staggering $2,130 on average entertaining their kids over the school holidays. Not surprisingly, this cost was even higher ($2,611) for parents with three children.”

“What might come as a surprise however is fathers forked out more than mothers did to keep the kids satisfied.”

“While some households may have saved up in advance for the break, others may have fallen into debt in order to pay for expensive activities to keep the kids entertained.”

“However, there are plenty of ways parents can keep their kids happy for minimum cost, and it doesn’t have to involve a lot of screen time!”

“From baking at home, to visiting the local park, to seeing what local community events are on in your area, there are many affordable ways to keep them occupied during the holiday season. If you blew out your budget this time round, you can always plan ahead for the next school holiday break,” she says.

Average spend on school holiday activities:

Vacation care$374
Theme parks$201
Eating out$192
Pocket money/spending money$191
Indoor play centres$63
Other activities$225


Tips from on how to financially bounce back from the summer school holidays:

  • Think about consolidating debt: The cost of the school holiday period may have left you with a financial sting, but consolidating debt will allow you to save on interest charges. Consider taking out a 0% balance transfer credit card so you can work on repaying as much of your debt as possible during the interest-free window. Just be mindful of the higher revert rate that will kick in once the promotional period ends.
  • Budget for back-to-school supplies: Whether it’s school uniforms, textbooks, or excursion fees, it’s likely you’ll be faced with several expenses at the start of semester. Setting yourself a clear budget will ensure your bank account doesn’t take a hit. Consider using online calculators or budgeting apps to help you stay on track.
  • Opt for second-hand items: Browse second-hand stores to score a discount across a range of items like uniforms, bags, and stationery. You could even join online community forums to see if people are trying to offload their unwanted items for free.


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