Our simple guide to making the most of your money this summer
To be better prepared financially for the summer holidays, planning is key. The best way to get a head start for the summer is to put aside a little money as early as possible in the year (just a jam jar will do) so you are already making allowances for the extra expenses.
Try your best to spread and schedule your day trips throughout the holiday. Take the time to breakdown the cost of each outing. Allow for travel/parking costs, all food, snacks and drinks and possibly a souvenir too. If you are driving, the AA route planner gives you an estimate of the amount of fuel you will use on your journey based on the average price per litre. If you are planning on using the train, you can get a third off your travel with a HM Forces railcard (T&C’s apply).
It is always worth bringing a picnic and refillable drinks bottles on day trips to save money on expensive café food. You can also save money on sweets by bringing your own. They are always so overpriced at these places!
Limit yourselves to 1 or 2-day trips per week (budget dependent) and spend the rest of the week doing free fun activities at home, such as arts and crafts, cooking and trips to the local park or library. Don’t forget to check out your local Sure Start centre if you have a child under the age of 5 to see what activities they have to offer, which are usually free!
If you are a working parent, childcare costs can be extortionate during the summer holidays, so make sure you research well in advance if there are any council run schemes at local leisure centres, for example, and book them early.
Rather than block book time off work, have you ever considered taking just 2 days off for each week throughout? You could team up with another family, look after each other’s children and swap days, saving you both lots of money.
Take advantage of general summer holiday offers on days out and 2 for 1 entry. There is a lot on offer for military families too! Here are a few FREE ENTRY offers we have found to save you £££s:
- Buckingham Palace: ‘A Royal Day Out’ – Take a tour of Buckingham Palace which includes the State Rooms, Queen’s Gallery and the Royal Mews. The holder of an MOD90 is entitled, FREE of charge, to a family ticket for 2 adults and up to 3 children under 17. Saving up to £94.80! To book, call the Palace tour office on 0303 123 7300.
- Windsor Castle: MOD90 card holders can visit Windsor Castle with up to four friends or family for FREE. That’s a potential saving of £117! Call ahead of your visit on 0303 123 7304 to check that the castle is open to the public. No advance booking required, just show your ID at the gate.
- Drayton Manor Theme Park: The theme park (including Thomas Land) is currently offering FREE entry to all those serving and ex-serving British Armed Forces personnel. Booking not needed, you just need to show your ID on arrival at any ticket kiosk before approaching the gate for free entry to be granted for the individual, saving £42.
- Natural History Museum: Some people may not realise, but this world-class visitor attraction in London is FREE to enter, and they have lots of activities running every day throughout the summer holidays.
- Edinburgh Castle, Stirling Castle and Fort George: Serving members of the British Armed Forces receive FREE entry to these tourist hot spots. MOD90 is required on arrival and the offer applies to the cardholder only, saving around £17.50.
- Longleat, the UK’s number 1 Safari Park, offer a generous discount to both serving members of the Armed Forces and Veterans, and dependants on production of a valid ID card. Tickets can be booked online, but ID must be shown on entry to the park.
- Military museums are great to check out, as most will offer a heavy discount (or be free!). The Fleet Air Arm Museum in Yeovilton is a great day out. They offer FREE entry for military personnel (with valid MOD 90)! Under 2’s are also FREE.
As well as these free entry offers, remember to check out one of the Armed Forces discount websites for big savings on days out and visitor attractions if you book through them.
**Please note that this blog is for information only. All discounts shown were researched and were correct at the time of publication. Forces Family Finance cannot be held responsible if any discounts or offers are withdrawn by the vendor. **