By PETER KAMURI
Eunice Muthoni, a mother of two has mixed feelings. She is ecstatic her three sons are joining her at home after almost four months in boarding schools. On the other hand, she is worried of keeping vacation expenses low with additional family members.
Muthoniâs concerns are not isolated. Although most parents look forward to being reunited with children during vacations, they are constantly worried of the domestic budget shooting up.
Lizzy Cherono, a mother of three in high school shares her experiences, "Every time the schools close, the home budget shoots up. I spend almost three times more."
She adds, "During the school holidays, I do not only spend more on food but also on other areas. For example, the utility bills â water and electricity â shoot up in an unprecedented way."
Fridah Mwikali, a mother of two high school teens explains, "During school holidays, my children expect me to buy them new clothes and allow them visit relatives. Meeting these expenses is not easy."
"As if this is not enough, during school holidays, I have to contend with the high cost of holiday tuition classes. Good tutors charge an average of Sh1, 000 per subject. The pressure from kids to sponsor them for remedial classes is irresistible," laments Mwikali.
However, school holidays should not present an insurmountable challenge to you if you plan well. Indeed, the reunion with your school-going children should not be a nightmare but rather a period to expect and celebrate.
According to Dorcas Arasa, a financial advisor in private practice in Nairobi, the basic starting point to ensure a hassle free school holiday with kids is to ensure you work with a budget.
"When you work with a budget, you will be sure that you operate within your means and avoid unnecessary expenses. A budget will provide you with a detailed plan that will guide and tell whether you are on the right track," advises Arasa.
"Most people who buy things impulsively hardly work with budgets. Yet, impulsive buying has been known to be one of the main reasons why people overshoot their budgets," notes Arasa.
"To cut down on food expenses, plan your menu well in advance. Know what meals to be taken to avoid last minute rush that may make you buy some food items exorbitantly," advises Arasa.
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