Tag Archives: money saving

5 helpful hints to cut the cost of your family holiday

Going on a family holiday can be quite an experience, and a world apart from trips you might have made before you had kids. There’ll be a whole lot of laughs, a whole lot of checking up on the little one(s), perhaps a complication or two along the way, and plenty of joy too.

Of course, the added bodies among the travelling party will have one other important impact – the cost of your family holiday will be a good deal higher. It obviously depends how young your children are, and costs for toddlers will be a whole lot less than those for older children. But with things inevitably becoming more expensive, it is all the more important to find ways to get the most bang for your buck, without negatively impacting on the levels of fun and enjoyment.

Here are 5 helpful hints to cut the cost of your family holiday…

Give tours a miss
They’re convenient, they’re all organised for you, and they’re often trumpeted as the ‘only way to see (insert name of destination)’. However, tours like these also tend to have a hefty mark-up on them too, and with an entire family to pay for, it really can get expensive. So rather plan your own trips and excursions. There are even peer-to-peer websites around whereby you can get locals to show you around for a fraction of the price. Chances are, the experience will be more authentic that way too.

Be a proper local
Doing as the locals do is an excellent way to save money, and avoid being caught out by tourist traps. This way you can avoid overpriced eateries, activities and tours, and immerse yourself in local markets and culture too. The best thing to do is to mingle with the locals, make some friends, and find out what the best things to do are. Just put yourself out there – and chances are the whole family will make some great friends along the way too.

Get clever with accommodation
It isn’t a universal truth, but hotels really aren’t likely to be the best way to go as a family. True, there are some good package and all-inclusive deals out there, but booking through Airbnb, or similar websites can save you a truck load compared to booking two hotel rooms. It also tends to be more conducive for family activities and eating too. With a kitchen facility of your own, you can eat what you want and when you want; and you’ll probably get some great inside information about the city or town from your host too.

Get familiar with your destination
The last thing you want is to regularly end up lost in a destination city with no idea where you are, and where to go. The kids will get restless, the stress levels will rise, and invariably an expensive taxi ride will be the default method of getting you from A to B. So put in a bit of time beforehand to familiarise yourself with where you’re going, and download some navigational apps like Pocket Earth to your phone. Getting around by public transport and/or walking really can save a chunk of budget.

Budget carefully
Again, you don’t want to scrutinise every penny to the point that you no longer even enjoy your family holiday. It’s a break you all no doubt need, and it’s important to make the most of it. But plan ahead with a daily budget, taking into account all planned an unplanned excursions, and try stick to it. And if you’re using finance in order to fund the holiday, that’s okay too. But be sure to shop around on price comparison sites for the best-value loans you can find, with repayments that suit you. You don’t want a cloud of expensive debt hanging over you while having fun with your loved ones.

5 helpful hints to cut the cost of your family holiday

= This is a guest post =

Teaching children about money

I was in a shop this morning when I spotted a cute purse in the shape of a foxes face, it was only £2 so I bought it for my son. He is four and doesn’t get pocket money, nor do we intend to give it to him until the sheer weight of peer pressure is so great we can no longer fight it. Despite this he is starting to understand that money is important and that we use it to buy things. I thought it was high time he had his own purse to put in the money which other people sometimes give him.

I gave him £1 to start him off and his Dad gave him a few other coins. Over the next few weeks we’ll be talking about what the different coins are and their value and what you can buy for that, but really he’s just interested in going to a shop and swapping some of his money for some sweets, which is something we’ll be doing with him this week.

When I was growing up I used to get 50p pocket money each week from my Grandma, some of which I’d spend at the corner shop (in the days where you could still buy sweets for 1/2p) and some of which I would save. Saving is a really great habit to get into, I was a compulsive saver and the money I saved from when I was as young as 5 helped me during the lean times at university and beyond.

I still save today, as much as I can, it’s very little really but it’s a habit I can’t break but I know I will be grateful for when I come to the end of my working life. I’d love it if I could get him into the saving habit, but first things first, he needs to understand more about what money is and its value. I’ll let you know how that goes!

Teaching Children About Money

 

If you’re looking for lots of useful information on financial education, investments and money management you could visit the WealthWithin website to find out more there.

 

Frugal living & shrewd shopping

These days most people are tightening their belts, money has to stretch further than ever before. For us when I left my old well paid job due to ill health and became self-employed, that marked a drastic change in our finances. Gone are the pre-child days where if I fancied an expensive pair of shoes I’d just buy them, nowadays I do endless research, lots of saving up and then hunt around for a bargain. I’m not alone in this, most people I know are careful, buying Christmas presents in the January sales for example or hunting round the many charity shops in the village for bargains.

We’re very into make do and mend, patching and darning to get an extra few months out of a garment. There is (for me at least) a certain joy in the simplicity of it all; hearty meals made from cheap, often reduced ingredients bubbling away gently in the slow cooker. The central heating off on all but the coldest days, the log fire providing most of the heat we need. Growing our own fruit, vegetables and herbs in the garden and always searching out yellow stickered items, bargains, discounts. I enjoy the challenge of trying to make a little go a long way.

All winter I’ve been wearing boots which leak, I’d bought a cheap pair from a supermarket back in September, but by the time winter came along they were letting water in and my feet were freezing. Going everywhere with a spare pair of socks in my bag was getting tiresome, so I decided to treat myself to a proper pair of good quality boots which should hopefully last a couple of winters at least, but quality boots are expensive.

True to form I thoroughly researched online for what I wanted, I knew the style, the brand and how much I wanted to pay. I opted for these lovely Blowfish boots, I need flat boots because of my back, they need to be easy to put on and take off (there’s a zip), they needed to be comfortable and practical for pottering about mum-style.

VouchaCodes

Full price these boots were £60 but I could neither afford nor justify that, even on an essential item like boots which would keep my feet dry. I knew I’d have to try and knock the price down a bit. I managed to find them in a large department store in the sale, but using VouchaCodes I was able to find a voucher code which would reduce that cost even further. I ended up paying just £25 for my £60 boots. Result! At least I’ll have dry feet now.

How do you make your money stretch a bit further?

Save With Jamie

This week saw the launch of Jamie Oliver’s new series Save with Jamie. It received a mixed reception but we #BlogGirls were inspired to share a few of our tips for thrifty kitchen habits. Here are a few of mine:

Batch cook and freeze
Simple really. If I’m making a pasta sauce for example I often double up and freeze some for a lazy day. This is also really useful if you find bargains and don’t fancy eating them straight away.

Pad out meals
Having a toddler in the house who does love his veg we tend not to worry too much about sneaking extra goodness in him, but if I’m making a spaghetti bolognaise or other mince based dish I often finely grate a couple of carrots into the mince as it’s cooking. This bulks it out a little bit and adds extra goodness. For the same reason I often add some lentils into dishes, the red lentils dissolve into nothing if cooked for long enough but add that extra bit of protein and stretch a budget bag of mince a little bit further.

Whoopsies!
I’m a sucker for the whoopsie shelf in the supermarket. I always have a rummage and often find brilliant bargains which we either eat now or sling in the freezer for another day. I once found a decent sized beef brisket in Co-op for £1.75 which I turned into a delicious pot roast which fed six. I’ve found sea bass fillets for pence too. It’s well worth a rummage and can spark the beginnings of some interesting and unusual meals.

Grow your own
I know not everyone has either the space or green fingers to do this. We do try and grow some veg every year with varying success, the weather has been against us recently. However if you can I really recommend having some hardy herbs. We have a rosemary and a bay tree in a pot by the back door and thyme and chives in the garden. They all require zero maintenance apart from slinging a bit of water over them if they’re dry. We picked up ours incredibly cheaply and we’ve had a few years of free flavourings from them.

Forage
You don’t have to be Bear Grylls to have a forage. At this time of year the hedgerows, lanes and patches of scrubland are heaving with brambles covered in fat juicy blackberries. It’s a great thing to do with kids and you can stock up your freezer with berry-loveliness for the long winter months ahead. Likewise lots of parks and woodlands have some fruit trees which you can sneak a few fruits from. Just always be sure of what you’re picking and don’t strip the trees or bushes, leave some for others and for the birds.

So that’s how we keep kitchen costs down. I’d love to read your tips so do link up with us!