6 Holiday Savers – Simple Ways To Stretch Your Budget

JoAdventures, Travel

Holiday savers, ways to stretch your budget

It may not feel as though the holiday season is upon us, but it soon will be. With the spiralling costs of energy bills and grocery shopping, a holiday this year might seem like a bit of a pipe dream. I think with some careful advance planning though, we can all stretch whatever budget we have to make the most of any time away that we are able to take. Holidays savers to save your holiday, if you will!

How?

Some careful planning can go a long way to making a budget stretch, and it’s pretty impressive how much you can pack in within a tight budget. I’ve shared some tips before for free days out which absolutely apply to holiday planning too. On this occasion though I’m really focussing on the monetary side of things.

What’s your budget?

Before even searching for a holiday I consider my total budget carefully. First, I think about when I’m going, how much money I have in short term savings and what I can afford to pay now for accommodation and transport. Then I calculate how long I have until I might need to pay for other expenses, such as additional luggage, clothing (especially seasonal wear like wet suits) or even on holiday costs like food and souvenirs. I always build in a buffer for these calculations so I don’t take myself down to the last penny. A few years ago I even set up a totally separate savers account to help manage the budget even better, although I appreciate that not everyone will feel the need to do that.

Once my budget is pinned down I start searching for something to suit. I keep options wide open whilst looking, and consider a variety of sources from package holiday deals to booking everything separately. Last year, for example, I looked at booking a cottage in Derbyshire. Low cost travel (we are based in Warwickshire so not far away) and so much natural beauty to explore on whichever doorstep we were lucky enough to secure for the week. When it came time to find something though, availability was low and prices were high. I recast the search net and landed on a lovely Airbnb home on the Isle of Wight, which is where we ended up going. The boys have said it was one of their favourite holidays so far!

Planning is key

When I have made the initial payment, I start planning the holiday itself. This part of the process is as equally important to me as finding somewhere to stay. I also confess that I find it lots of fun! Careful consideration for things to do in the area that we’re staying has meant that the five of us have been able to go away a couple (or more) times a year.

Holiday savers can help  you get away

Top tips

My top holiday savers tips largely relate to this planning stage. Here they are:

  • It’s nice to be spontaneous when on holiday and go where the weather and mood take you. That said, if you can plan any bigger trips in advance then you can manage your budget carefully around these ‘must do’ adventures. You can also look for advance booking discounts, or vouchers that you could use on the day. This is especially applicable to more popular attractions such as theme parks, seaside funfairs, or historical sites. Set aside the money for these activities so that you don’t run short whilst you’re away.
  • In advance of setting off, make sure you have checked the local tourist information for deals and discounts too. Pay particular attention to any travel that you might need as train fares and even bus passes can be cheaper when bought ahead of time. So many places have park and ride options as well, which can work out better and cheaper than town centre parking.
  • Save little and often in the run up to your holiday and put this money to one side to create a buffer if possible. If you need it, it’s there so you don’t have to worry about dipping into other savings or reducing money available for regular bills and grocery shopping. If you don’t, it’s nice to have a little extra when you get back home. I’m not suggesting large regular sums here which just aren’t possible for many people. Instead, I’m thinking more along the lines of swapping a take away coffee with one from home, or making yourself a packed lunch for work rather than buying lunch from the staff canteen.
  • Thinking of making a packed lunch, if possible take some basics for meals away with you. If not, locate local supermarkets so you can stock up when you arrive. Packing lunches and cooking meals yourself works out much cheaper than relying on restaurant meals every day. Same is true of snacks too, although I always take a bit of cash with me for ice creams!
  • On the subject of taking things with you, carefully consider your clothing. If you have room to do so, take layers so that you don’t need to buy extra clothes when away if the weather turns. Packing a small amount of washing powder or adding it to your supermarket shopping when away can also help to reduce costs if you need to get extra wear out of your clothes.
  • Finally, another option for budgeting when away is to use a prepaid card such as Cashplus or FairFX. As with any financial account you should do your homework before taking one on, and a number of these cards have admin fees attached. That said, they are an easy way to budget. Once the total remaining on the card hits 0 it can’t be used again until it is reloaded. Some cards are also available for children aged 13 and over, which can help to introduce your teenager to budgeting as well.

Final thoughts

I know that in a tricky financial climate holiday plans are not top priority for a lot of people right now. That said, if you are planning to get away then I hope that these holiday savers budget tips might come in handy.

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