Sunderland parents given debt warning after research shows families spend £460 on entertainment

Jemma McDougall centre manager Houghton-le-Spring Christians Against Poverty where a new debt counselling service has been launched.
Jemma McDougall centre manager Houghton-le-Spring Christians Against Poverty where a new debt counselling service has been launched.
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DEBT counsellors are urging parents to be “savvy spenders” during the school holidays.

Christians Against Poverty (Cap), based in Houghton, wants families to avoid being pressured into costly children’s activities, stretching household finances.

Recent research found that more than half of parents are worried about the cost of keeping their children amused this summer, with the average family set to spend £460 on entertainment.

To fund the holiday break, 16 per cent of families are planning to cut back on their weekly shop, according to the Post Office’s annual Parents’ Summer Spending Report.

One in four parents felt under pressure to keep up with other families’ spending.

Cap centre manager Jemma McDougall said: “Everyone wants their kids to have a lovely time in the summer, but if you want to avoid dipping into the overdraft, it will take planning.

“Some research and imagination at this stage will save you pounds in the holidays and help families avoid the kind of debt that can soon mount up.”

To help parents, the charity has drawn up a top 10 list of “great summer ideas” to avoid overspending.

They include making a “boredom jar” full of cheap ideas written on slips of card for a lucky dip, visiting free museums and art galleries, as well as arranging get-togethers with friends and picnics.

“It really doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive for the family to enjoy time together,” said Jemma.

“Some space, some time, some toys and a picnic can be all it takes to provide a memorable day out.”

Call Cap on 0800 328 0006.