Travel is expensive. Travel as a family, can break the bank. I wish I could tell you that we afford to book our holidays’ using income solely derived from a cheeky survey site and selling old DVD’s online, I really do, but truth be told, I don’t have the quick fix to finding the thousands of pounds needed to travel the way we would like to. Pre-baby, I found putting a few hundred pounds per month away easy enough, I had disposable income and I didn’t miss it when I threw it into paying off holidays. Saving for travel as a family is a completely different ballgame. The disposable income has now been lost on nappies and mortgage payments, cheap and cheerful hostels aren’t an option and the budget friendly last minute trips aren’t as feasible – so how are we managing it? Scrimping, saving, finding a few solutions that dampen the financial blow, and a few little tricks we’ve discovered online.
If you are not using cashback sites when your booking holidays, or paying for anything online, then you are throwing away money ( a very small percentage of money, but money all the same). Cashback sites are much simpler than you would expect and they benefit everyone. You’ll log in to your account on your chosen cashback provider (Top Cashback is the one I use out of habit, although Quidco is also popular – they do the same job), search for any brand or service provider you are about to make a purchase with, click through to them and shop as normal. The cashback provider will be given a commission of the sale for referring you, and they will in turn give you a tiny percentage of that back. Most retailers I shop with are around the 5% mark, but if you think of how much money you spend online throughout the year, 5% can be a hefty whack to put towards accommodation.
Matched Betting is a simple concept, that can offer a big pay-out with zero risk. It involves signing up to gambling websites in order to take advantage of the sign-up offers, with a strict method to ensure guaranteed profit. Although it involves gambling sites, there is no gamble involved provided you do your research – profit accumulator is like a dummies guide to every step – and you don’t get ahead of yourself. At the minute, I work through a handful of offers per week, and normally get anywhere between £50-100 for doing so. This is more than enough for me to put towards our holiday pot while staying in control. If you have the time and energy to dedicate to it, you can make ££££. If your starting off, I’d head to Katy’s site.
The very first holiday we booked was a monumental screw up on our part. We went in to Tui with a clear budget in mind, and walked out three hours later with a holiday costing twice as much and no option to price compare, or to take advantage of cashback (which would have been £100 extra in our pocket). It was a lesson we needed to learn, and ever since we’ve been frugal with how we book. Booking online gives the luxury of price comparison – the likes of Sky Scanner and Booking.com means that you can compare price points really easily to determine if it would be cheaper to go with a package deal or book everything yourself. If package is looking better, Travel Republic are known for the low deposits and this means you can really spread out the cost of a trip. Booking last minute isn’t always feasible, so I miss those deals, but I can book a year in advance and spread the cost into much more affordable chunks. For cruises, Cruise Nation offers up to 50% off some amazing cruises, and trade secret, often can offer an even better price if you give them a call. I have also considered the likes of Cash Lady in the past to take advantage of quick-fire travel deals that don’t give the option of spreading the cost, but tend to find that more often than not the deals aren’t any better booking last minute than if you were to book well in advance.
No matter what is going on every month, we make sure we have £50 to exchange in to Euros. This may sound a little ridiculous, as this means we get hit with exchange fees monthly, and there is also nothing to say we will actually need euros when we go abroad holiday, but we’ve found this to be the easiest way to build up a bank of spending money. For £25 each, we can save £600 every year without really noticing. We’ve tried doing this before with direct debits, savings accounts and piggy banks, but without fail we always fall into the trap of dipping into the pot. If we change it into euros, we are much less likely to spend it and we can almost guarantee we will end up in Europe at some point throughout the year. If we go outwith Europe, we exchange as needed.
We spend around £100 per month on food and household bits. We shop at Lidl. We don’t go out out-out all that often (think once every 6 months) and I don’t splurge on clothes, or make-up. We save, and we save because the ability to go beyond Scotland is worth more than a cheeky Nandos every week. I long for the days when I was at university with a student loan coming out of my ears, a summer of travels and a bi-weekly Asos order. The best of both worlds was great, but it’s not realistic anymore, so I’ll make a few sacrafices here and there.