It might feel like a while away, but summer will soon be upon us. We all want to get the best deals so we’ve come up with some ways that you can get ahead and make your money go further. Whether you are looking to get away, thinking about how to entertain the kids, or you are just wanting to make the most of getting out an about in the British “sunshine”, there are ways you can be smart with your money.
If you know what you are likely to be doing, there’s no reason why you can’t start thinking now about how you can save money. First create a budget of what you can afford then, make a list of everything you would like to do and roughly how much it would all cost. Once you have done this, you will have a better picture of what you can and can’t afford. If you find yourself wildly off budget; be realistic about what you could cut out. For example, do you need to go abroad this year or could you try camping instead? Could you plan some fun activities at home instead of going away for the weekend? It is better to say ‘no’ now rather than find yourself in financial difficulty later. Also, if money is tight, setting limits on activities is a good way to keep spending in control, leaving you guilt free to actually enjoy the things you do plan to do.
Once you have prioritised your activities, there may be other ways to reduce your costs further. If you are headed abroad, have a look at price comparison sites for the best deals on airlines or hotels. TravelSupermarket.com or Skyscanner are a good place to start. It’s worth noting that budget airlines are cheaper when you book two or three months in advance, but package holidays are cheaper when booked last minute. Also, have a think about when you travel because according to Which? Research, it’s 35% cheaper to fly on a Tuesday than a Friday and 45% more expensive to come back on a Sunday! Remember to book your airport parking in advance to get the best deal and try travelmoneymax.com for the best currency exchange rates.
Something for the kids
MoneySavingExpert.com has a great list of free and cheap ideas to keep kids entertained over the school holidays. Things like free tennis and football coaching, £1 cinema ticket deals and fun ideas such as Geocaching (like treasure hunting using your smartphone GPS). Your local council or library may also list some free events happening in your area. If you do plan taking them to a theme park or major attraction, then see what deals and vouchers there are beforehand, and remember to take a packed lunch instead of spending lots on food.
Have a stay-cation
Similarly, if a holiday abroad is not on your agenda, why not see what this country has to offer? Visitbritain.com is a great website for ideas that include all the best of British culture, countryside, heritage, food and entertainment and suggestions to suit your budget. There are also lots of websites offering discounts on eating out and activities such as Groupon or Vouchercodes. These savings can really add up so don’t be afraid to suggest cheaper alternatives to your friends – they will probably appreciate the savings too!
Save now and pay less
With so much credit readily available, why would you bother saving when you can pay later? It may seem a quick fix to your financial situation, but a lot of us end up spending far more than we needed to. For example, a £900 holiday paid back on credit over a year could end up costing you £1,057. That’s £150 you could have put towards your next trip. Saving is effectively the same as paying back each month what you borrowed just the other way around and without the interest or the stress if you fall behind in your repayments. Use the savings calculator below to plan how you can start to save for the future.
It’s never too late to start saving, even if you only have a few months to go or you can only afford to put a small amount aside, it’s good to get in the habit. Paying for things out of your savings is not only satisfying, but it is a great way to prevent yourself falling into debt. If, however, you do feel the need to take out credit, always make sure you can afford the repayments. Getting into debt is very easy but a lot harder to get out of.
~ Kathy Freeman
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