Summer is here and the sun (hopefully) will shine – at this time of year, our thoughts naturally turn to holidays and entertaining during those long warm evenings. But summer can also be expensive with research showing that Britons are more likely to live beyond their means during the warmer months than during the colder ones.
Happily, you don’t have to break the bank to enjoy the summer. There are plenty of deals on everything from holidays to trips to keep the kids happy which will ensure that you can still have a great time between now and the end of August while keeping your bank manager happy:
It’s a misconception that food is cheaper in the supermarkets. Shopping for your fruit, vegetables and meat separately is not only a good way to save money, it will also make you think more about your diet and how to live more healthily. If you have a farmers market in your town, then pay it a visit. The range of locally produced fruit and veg is usually excellent and the price that you’ll pay for what is often organically produced is frequently lower than you would pay in the supermarket.
Sell unwanted stuff
Summer is a great time to get everything out of your loft and figure out what you actually need. If you haven’t used something for the last 12 months, then it’s a fair bet that you no longer actually need it. Garage sales are becoming more popular and are a good idea if you have a lot of passing traffic. And eBay remains as popular as ever.
Take the slow lane on the motorway
If you’re heading to the south west for your summer break or going somewhere else that requires a lot of motorway driving, then stick to the speed limit and consider going considerably slower. Did you know that every 5 mph you drive over 60 mph will cost you between 5p and 10p more a litre? Slowing down to – say, 65 mph – could save you £6.50 on a 400-mile trip.
Save money on flights
Figure out what your budget is for a holiday and then let one of the many online comparison tools help you find a great destination for that price. Kayak.com/explore allows you to enter your flying budget and shows you where you can fly to for that sum and on which dates. Other sites – like itasoftware.com – will show you which days are the cheapest to fly to your desired destination.
Don’t pay baggage fees
The fare on the low-cost airline may look cheap but if you are travelling with your family and you’re paying baggage fees these might rack up to the point that it may have been more sensible to travel with a scheduled airline. Check out airfarewatchdog.co.uk to compare how much you’ll be charged in extras by any particular airline. Consider only taking a few clothes if you’re going to a cheaper destination and save on baggage fees by only taking hand luggage and buying clothes when you get there.
Pay less for days out
Taking the family to the cinema can be an unbelievably expensive undertaking when you start including fizzy drinks, popcorn, sweets and other snacks. A family of four could end up spending more than £100 just to watch a two-hour film this way. But there are plenty of ways to still enjoy a great movie while saving money – a number of cinema chains offer monthly memberships which can save up to £4 a ticket. Some cinemas may not like it, but there’s nothing to stop you buying sweets elsewhere and taking them in to the screening in your coat pocket.
Have a barbecue instead of a night out
If it’s warm and dry, invite your friends round for a barbecue or a garden party rather than going out for a meal. You’ll save a lot of money, particularly if you ask your guests to bring some drink with them.
Fill up your fridge and freezer
You’ll use less electricity if you keep your fridge and freezer full. Use bottles filled with tap water rather than stocking the fridge with food that you don’t need.
Get a restaurant discount card
Apply for a Taste card if you eat out a lot. While you will pay an annual fee, it will save you up to 50% of the bill at restaurants participating in the scheme.