How to Have Days Out Without Blowing the Budgetby Emma Longden
Thinking of a day out for you and the family, why not take a look at some of my top tips for how to get yourself a great day out, without unnecessarily blowing the bank account on it.
Pack a Lunch
Whenever we go out for the day, I always try and take the time to make a packed lunch for us all before we leave as it saves so much money. Onsite cafes and restaurants are generally extremely expensive and even picking up snacks from the shops on the way can end up costing a lot. Packed lunches don’t have to be boring - make a salad, use up dinner leftovers, create homemade wraps or Subway style sandwiches and add in some ice packs to keep everything cool and fresh.
Join the National Trust and/or English Heritage
Although there is an initial or monthly cost, joining organisations such as English Heritage or National Trust can help save a lot in the long run, especially if you like going on lots of days out during weekends and holidays. Some places are free to visit, but have costly parking - membership to National Trust gives you free parking as a member, so you can save even on a free day out.
Stop for Ice Cream on the Way Home
I swear children ask for ice cream when they are extortionately priced on purpose. I always try and distract the children when it comes to ice cream kiosks on days out as, for a family of five, it ends up costing upwards of £20 just for a snack. Instead, I promise an ice cream on the way home and stop off at a shop where I can get a pack for under £5. Saves money and keeps the kids occupied on the journey home (obviously make sure you supervise young children with lolly sticks).
Take Pocket Money
As well as asking for ice creams, kids generally get lured into the gift shop, where everything is geared at young children who want a souvenir to take home with them. We give pocket money to our oldest two children and have started encouraging them to take this with them when we go on days out so that they can purchase something with their own money. It is great to teach children the value of money from a young age, and I find it makes the kids stop and think about whether they really want that souvenir, if they are using their own money to buy it.
Search for Discount Codes
I have become accustomed to looking online for a discount code before buying or booking anything these days, as there are so many bargains to be had. There are lots of discount code sites to look on (I usually just type the name of the attraction followed by “voucher code”) or you can look directly on the company website to see if they are offering any discounts to customers. Look out for discount coupons on cereal boxes or other grocery items, as popular family attractions can sometimes offer schemes like this, especially over the summer.
As a family of five, it can be expensive entertaining the children at weekends and during the school holidays. By looking at ways to cut the costs, we can still have fun days out making memories, without the financial strain.