Parenting Secondary Teenagers

Financial Struggles: Invaluable Experiences For Our Kids

If you’d told me a year ago that our eldest (one of my stepsons) wanted to take part in his secondary school ski trip, I’d have been shocked at the idea and probably laughed, too. However, starting ‘big school’ has really allowed him to come out of his shell, and he is keen to try new things. A ski trip is certainly one of many invaluable experiences on offer to secondary school students.

Initially, he refused to talk about the trip as he had seen the cost (up to £1,500 depending on factors such as exchange rate and number of participants). However, when we looked at our family budget, we felt we could probably make it work somehow and with a lot of extra effort on both our parts. While it is pricey, the invaluable experiences it offers make it worthwhile.

Life with a blended family of five children is far from easy in many ways, especially financial. Both Colin and I work. He is a full-time university student of business management. I am a part-time student doing my EdD. Alongside this, we have websites to manage, too. As well as teaching, I also offer private tuition and do paid writing for a number of people. It is always hectic, but we do what we possibly can to ensure that all of our five children have the experiences they do.

Existing Opportunities

Fitting in extra-curricular activities can be a challenge, but we manage – luckily, my girls’ father arranges things when he has them, so that helps at the beginning of the week.


Child 3 has Brownies (and she recently attended Brownie Camp)

Child 4 has Choir


No clubs


Child 2 has Basketball

Child 1 has Scouts


Child 4 has Keyboard and Singing

Children 4 and 5 have Gymnastics


Children 3, 4 and 5 have Swimming

Child 2 has Scouts (and is about to attend his first Scouts Camp)

The Ski Trip

And so, we come back to the ski trip. Over the moon to be offered the opportunity to attend the school’s ski trip, the first in a few years because of Covid, Child 1 has agreed to help towards the cost. All children receive weekly pocket money. However, we did not expect that this would be used as, regardless of the trip, he still deserves to treat himself with comics, V Bucks, sweets or whatever else he wants, too.

Making money is a good learning opportunity for him in addition to everything he will learn on the ski trip.

So far, he has:

  • Helped a neighbour with her garden – Child 1 has discovered that he is fantastic at weeding, and with his methodical nature and eye for detail, he has proven that his quirkiness has been an asset for this role.
  • Held a raffle. In the run up to Easter, he was given a set amount to spend on Easter goodies and sold double the amount of money’s worth of tickets to friends and family in the local area. This was a quick and easy money maker for him.

So far, we have:

  • Advertised offers on paid writing – I have written a total of twelve articles for people at a reduced rate whereby I’ve transferred the entire amount into the savings account for Child 1’s trip.
  • Sold some unwanted items from around the house and garage.

Next, we plan to:

  • Continue offering to help neighbours out in exchange for a small amount of money – it’s up to them how much they pay.
  • Carry on doing some reduced price writing every now and then to cover the cost of future instalments for the trip.
  • Create a list of other ideas that could help save enough money to help pay the instalments – any ideas?

And so, while we have presented ourselves with a challenge that right now seems daunting and anxiety-fuelling, we know that a ski trip is one of many invaluable experiences that are on offer for our kids. Most don’t come with a huge price tag, but some do, and a balance is what’s needed. Please, wish us luck!

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