52 Practical Ways to Save Money Around The Year – Chapter 8: Enjoy August and Summer Holidays Without Spending a Fortune
Looking to have an enjoyable summer holiday without having to break the bank? Saving on you holiday and spending less doesn’t mean you won’t have an enjoyable time. There are lots of ideas of places to go which are not expensive and early plannning can also save you money. Read on with payday loan direct lender Payday Loans Net, how to enjoy a summer holiday without spending a fortune.
For many people, summer -and especially August – conjures up pictures of summer holidays and days out. This chapter contains tips about:
- Suggestion No. 1: Cutting childcare costs in the summer – help from family, friends & neighbours; change your working hours; taking your annual leave; contact your council about local schemes; private summer camps; government help with childcare costs
- Suggestion No. 2: Savings on summer holidays abroad – the best time to travel; know when to book; watch out for hidden extras; prepare for & research your holiday; budgeting & finding cheaper alternatives
- Suggestion No. 3: Savings on domestic summer holidays – discounts & early bookings; be open to alternatives; budgeting & planning your holiday itinerary
- Suggestion No. 4: Entertaining kids in the summer holidays – check for local events; days out in nature; using their imagination; home-based crafts and science experiments; making a scrapbook
- Suggestion No. 5: Visiting festivals – less well-known festivals; savings on entrance fees; food & drink at festivals; free street festivals
We begin this chapter of 52 practical money-saving ideas to reduce your expenditure by looking at the issue of childcare during the long weeks of the school summer holidays. How can you cut your childcare costs? At the height of summer, our thoughts turn to our annual summer holidays. We have suggestions on saving on your holiday expenses whether you are heading abroad or staying put in the UK. You’ll also find suggestions for entertaining children during the summer holidays – ranging from day-trips to home-based activities. Finally, we conclude this chapter with handy tips about spending less if you choose to attend one of the UK’s summer festivals.
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1. Childcare Costs in the Summer Holidays
One of the problems which working parents face in the summer is what arrangements to make for their children to be looked after during the long break. It might surprise you to learn that there’s no legal age when children can be left alone. Although NSPCC guidelines say that parents will be prosecuted if being left alone would put the child at risk. They recommend that no child under the age of 13 is mature enough to be left at home alone. They are also not mature enough to look after younger siblings. With older children, this isn’t an issue. However, what can you do to ensure that all your earnings aren’t going on childcare for younger ones?
Did you know that it’s estimated that every year grandparents spend 1.7 billion hours looking after 1.5 million grandchildren? Are you lucky enough to have your parents or in-laws living locally? Asking grandparents to babysit for the kids can save you a great deal of money. Your only concern might be that your children will be too spoilt! If this solution isn’t possible, do you have any other family members in the area who would be willing to watch the kids for you? If they find it too much of a commitment, see if you can make a rota. In this way, different relatives look after them for one day a week.
Help with childcare
During your attendance at ante-natal classes, through toddlers groups to classes at nursery and possibly junior school, you’re sure to have a wide network of friends and acquaintances who have children of a similar age to your own. Long before the end of the school year, ask around to find what childcare arrangements others have made. Would it be possible to share childcare costs? Or could you enter into a reciprocal agreement so that you look after your own and friend’s children on different days and/or times? Before entering into such an agreement, make sure that the question of finances is sorted out. On day-trips, for example, would you contribute towards petrol costs and what about lunch and money for treats? You should sort out all these issues beforehand.
Switch to Flexible Working Hours
Depending on the nature of your job, it might be possible to change your working hours over the summer break. Working a different shift, doing compressed hours, working one day a week at home, etc. These are all possible solutions to ease the burden of childcare costs. It’s worth talking to your boss and/or Human Resources Department to see what solutions are feasible.
You could choose to have different annual leave from your partner. In this way between the two of you, you’ll be able to cover a month of the summer holidays with one of you at home with the kids. The major disadvantage of this is that you won’t be able to have a holiday away as a family unit. However, if you both use the time to take the kids on different day-trips and fun activities, the children won’t mind so much. You’ll just have to make the most of your weekends with your partner.
Contact your Local Council
The most expensive option is to register your children for a privately-run summer camp. The Family & Childcare Trust have a search engine which allows you to search for provision by entering your postcode. They estimate that the average fee is over £121.12 per week per child (2016 survey). However, you may receive discounts for enrolling siblings and for block bookings. Having said that, the standard and range of activities organised for the children are extremely high. The child-instructor ratio is low, so children receive individual attention.
To be entitled to government help with your childcare costs, your provider must be Ofsted-registered and regulated. There are a number of ways you can receive financial aid for summer childcare costs. This includes through vouchers (as part of a salary sacrifice scheme), through tax credits or the new initiative, (available from 2017) of a government tax-free scheme. It offers a top-up of up to £2,000. You should contact your employer and an organisation like Citizens Advice. They will help you see which would be the best solution for your circumstances.
2. Cheap Holidays Abroad
Many of us count off the days until we can jet off for our summer holiday abroad but how can we make savings on the amount we pay?
Prices of flights and package holidays rise significantly during the school summer holidays, so if you don’t have school-age children, you should avoid booking in this 6-week period. Did you know that the day and time can also affect how much you pay? Mid-week flights tend to be much cheaper than the weekends while flying at anti-social hours is also more economical.
The optimum time to book a flight is 56-60 days before your departure date while being prepared to fly indirect can save you a lot of money even if it adds to your journey time. On the other hand, if you’re interested in a package holiday and have no particular preference about your destination, the best bargains can be found days before you’re due to leave. It will save you from requiring payday loan lenders during your holiday.
When using a price comparison site to look for cheap flights, don’t just opt for the cheapest; from luggage and card fees to check-in, airlines have a number of ways to push the original price up. Similarly, it isn’t worth buying your travel insurance from your travel company but you might have to uncheck some boxes, or it may get added automatically.
Before leaving for your holiday abroad, check the fees/commission charged by your card providers for the use of ATMs abroad and also how much you’ll pay for using your mobile and downloading data while not in the UK. Most companies offer a roaming service, but it needs to be activated.
Holiday planning & Research
You can download different apps on your phone including travel guides, maps and phrase books, which can all save you money while on holiday. Research the attractions you wish to see beforehand and see if there are discounts for early online booking. Similarly, the fees for car hire are much cheaper if you book online and weeks before you leave.
Make sure you buy the local currency before you leave the UK since exchange bureaux at airports and ports charge much more in commission.
In the same way that you have a budget for your monthly expenses in the UK as explained in Ch.1, make sure you set yourself a daily/weekly limit while at the resort and stick to it. The worst thing is to overspend on holiday and then spend the rest of the year trying to pay your debts off.
Always keep an eye out for cheaper alternatives on summer holidays. Using public transport instead of taxis/hire cars; stocking up on the hotel breakfast buffet to avoid eating a lot at lunch-time and paying a visit to the supermarket for snacks to eat on the beach or alcohol for early-evening drinks are all relatively simple ways to reduce your holiday spending money.
3. Holidays in the UK
If you decide to stay put this year and go on holiday in the UK instead of heading abroad, you aren’t alone. The Visit Britain tourist information board, estimate that Britons will be making 8 million trips in 2017. There are a number of ways to reduce the amount you spend so let’s look at them.
Discounts & Early Bookings
Wherever you decide to go in the UK, leaving bookings until the last-minute is one of the main reasons why domestic holidays can end up costing as much as, if not more, than summer holidays abroad. In the same way that you’d make arrangements before flying out of the country, you should do your research and book accommodation and transport well in advance (especially for train journeys). On both trains and coaches, concessionary fares are available for certain groups so apply for the necessary travel card before you go. Also, most popular tourist attractions in the UK offer a discount of around 25% if you book and pay your entrance fees before your visit.
Instead of sticking to a hotel as you would on a foreign holiday because of the lack of alternatives, take advantage of the wide range of accommodation choices available in the UK. Bed & Breakfasts, farm stays, glamping, staying on a canal barge, booking a shepherd’s hut or disused windmill or railway carriage are just some of the many alternative types of accommodation you can find. Booking with the owners direct online can save you the price of a travel agent’s fees while opting for self-catering facilities means you’ll spend much less on eating out.
Holiday Budgeting & Planning your Holiday Itinerary
Before you leave on holiday, sit down and work out a budget so you know how much you’ll be able to spend per day/week. Use this sum as a way to plan your itinerary for the week or fortnight. Going to fee-paying attractions every day and eating out every evening will soon lead to your overspending so plan your holiday. Spread out the more expensive day-trips, and in-between do activities which cost little or no money. Depending on your destination, interests and whether you have children with you, these could be trips to free museums; going on nature trails; beach-combing; bike rides; free guided city walking tours; hikes and picnics at local beauty spots; hiring a rowing boat or playing crazy golf.
4. Entertaining Kids in the Summer Holiday
With the price of family tickets to a theme park costing around £70-£100, this isn’t something that you’ll be able to take your children to every day of the summer holidays however much you’d like to. So how can you entertain your kids in the summer on a budget without hearing that dreaded “I’m bored!” and without resorting to using the TV or electronic devices as babysitters?
Through the local press, your local council’s website and community notice-boards, you’ll be amazed at the different activities available for children during the summer break. Leisure centres, libraries, museums, community groups and even High Street stores are just some of the places which offer a range of events, talks and craft activities for children. The main advantage is that many are free or have a nominal fee to cover the costs of materials. Often lasting 1-3 hours, it’ll give your kids something to do and give you ideas of follow-up activities which you can do at home.
Days out in Nature
Many people reach out to payday loans UK in August in order to help them get through their summer holidays. However, a day out doesn’t have to mean spending a great deal of money requiring a payday loan. Visits to local playgrounds, parks and museums cost next to nothing, and you could take a packed lunch from home to avoid the additional costs of eating outside.
Visit the websites of organisations like the Woodland Trust and the Canal & Riverside Trust since they have a wealth of activities which you could do with your children on a visit to your local woods or canal/river. Instructions about pond-dipping and downloadable spotter guides for insects or trees are just a few of the ideas available to amuse children.
There’s nothing that younger children enjoy more than dressing up and playing pretend. Ask family and friends for old clothes and accessories (especially hats) to have a dressing-up box for the children. Allow them to use sheets and living-room furniture to make a tent or get some cardboard boxes from supermarkets to make a castle/fort. Their imagination will do the rest.
Home-Based Arts & Crafts And Science Experiments
In preparation for the summer holidays, pay a visit to your local pound shop and spend £5 stocking up on arts materials such as coloured pencils, felt-tips, crayons, paints, glue, stencils, A4 paper and scissors. Supplement these basics with containers, plastic bottles and cereal boxes from your household waste as well as old magazines and you have an arts & craft box. Visit a couple of websites to find things that your children could make (depending on their age), and they’ll spend hours on their creations.
Online you’ll also find science experiments which you could do at home and which don’t require any special equipment or expensive materials. For instance, making salt crystals or making a volcano out of baking soda and vinegar. Make sure that you supervise all such activities even if your kids are older.
Encourage your kids to make a scrapbook of their summer activities. Every week, they could glue in ticket stubs, postcards, tourist leaflets, etc. complete with a short description to record everything they’ve done over the summer. For younger kids, get them to draw a picture instead. Once kids get into it, you’ll be surprised by how much care and trouble they’ll put on it.
5. Visiting Summer Festivals
When someone mentions festivals, maybe your mind will immediately turn to the most well-known such as Glastonbury or Reading music festivals. However, there are quite literally hundreds of festivals which take place throughout the whole of the UK especially in the summer months. As well as music, there are art, food, literary and drama festivals and some which combine all or some of these elements. So how can you spend less money on your visit to a festival and avoid needing payday lenders?
Tickets to the most popular festivals often sell out in a matter of minutes and can cost hundreds of pounds. Avoid buying tickets from social media sites after the festival is sold-out. Not only can they be massively overpriced but there have been incidents of tickets later found to be counterfeit.
Instead of going to one of the big name festivals, go to one of the smaller and cheaper ones. You’ll experience all the fun of the festival experience at a fraction of the price.
To find out which festivals are on near you, go to the website of Visit England and put the name of your area and the word ‘festival’ in their filter or check your local press.
Savings on Festival Entrance Fees
Some of the alternative festivals will offer concessionary rates for low-earners or may have family tickets. You’ll also pay less if you opt for a one-day pass rather than attending the entire festival. Check the list of what’s on to choose the day’s events which interest you more. Although the price may seem expensive, your entrance fee offers you unlimited access to performances, seminars and/or talks so you won’t have to worry about extra charges once inside.
One thing that can cost you a lot when attending a festival is the price of refreshments there. One solution is to bring your own food and drink with you but check the conditions of entry since some festivals don’t allow you to bring glass bottles or some have a limit of how much alcohol you can bring in with you.
There are a number of festivals which take the form of a street festival with floats and parades and they don’t have any entrance fees. The most famous of course is the Notting Hill Festival in London but others held throughout the year include Alice’s Day in Oxford, the Dickens Festival in Rochester and the Leicester Caribbean Festival. Enjoy a day out with music and admire the costumes and floats completely free of charge.
With the exception of Christmas, the summer – when we go on holiday and want to take advantage of the better weather to go on trips – and August, in particular, can be one of the most expensive times of the year. This is especially true if you have the added expense of paying for childcare during the long school summer holidays. However, this chapter shows that there are ways to cut your monthly expenditure while still going on holiday, taking trips and attending festivals. The key to saving money is to budget, research every aspect of your holiday arrangements and book beforehand.