It’s perhaps something which applies most to parents who have outsourced their parenting responsibilities and sent their kids to boarding school along with having kids who’ve gone away to university, that being a spike in the household bills when they’re all home for the long summer break. I’m just kidding – boarding school doesn’t represent having outsourced your parenting responsibilities, but the spike in the bills when everyone’s back home remains a reality, nevertheless.
You can and should prepare for it though, mostly because the likes of boarding school and uni are indeed expensive to start off with, but these institutions of learning and boarding do a lot to off-set some of the costs you would have otherwise had to contend with all year round. I mean you don’t have to worry about preparing dinner for an entire family of four every day, during the school term for example and you perhaps don’t even need to worry about transportation fees and the likes.
Even if your resident uni-star makes a short daily commute to their institution of learning, there are a range of ways through which to minimise costs, such as having them use a student bus pass to catch the bus at a much lower cost or grabbing a bite to eat at the cafeteria, where the food is markedly cheaper than what it would cost for them to eat breakfast at home each morning, for example.
When a late teen or young adult is home the whole day with no classes to occupy them and elephant-sized study work to get through, they tend to find creative ways of spiking the household bills. They seem to conspire to find ways of making use of more of the household’s power than what the mind can comprehend. They use more water – more hot water at that and the air-conditioning seems to be put through its paces a whole lot more as well.
Food disappears from the fridge must faster than ever before and all of these things add up very quickly to a spike in the bills.
If your leave is not synchronised with the long summer school holidays then it’s even more of a challenge for you because you’re not around during working hours to keep an eye on proceedings back home, so it’s not a matter of trying to avoid the spike in any way, but rather just being prepared for it.
An inevitable course of action you’d have to put into place is that of just setting aside more money for the bill-spike and I’d say to be safe try to budget for double what you usually spend on your household bills per week. This doesn’t mean it should be a free-for-all – the kids must know not to be wasteful in their consumption and you should brief them on basic things like turning the air-con off if they’re not going to be in the room, turning lights off when they don’t really need to have them on and perhaps even taking some proactive steps to do their bit to save, like using their “grey” bathwater to water the plants, etc.