Are you ready to kick start the new year with a bang?
To help you do just that, I have put together a month long financial boot camp, with one or two tips per week and a call to action. Together, we will review several aspects of your financial life to make sure you start the year in good shape.
Then, we talked about how you can reduce one of your biggest expense: your mortgage, and how you can challenge your council tax banding.
It is time to save on travel, holidays and all things leisure!
Are you paying too much?
If you are paying full price, probably, let’s have a look at the many ways you can save on entertainment and travel.
If you are not going enough, cancel it. If you go only a few times, check for a low cost gym, there are some no frill gyms from £15 or so a month.
If you like your current club and go a lot, ask if they can give you the new customer discount, usually a free month or 10% off if you pay for a year. Check family memberships, and the gym classes at the Adult Center, that are often really cheap.
Use the library
I won’t reinvent the wheel telling you that the library is free to use and you should only buy books when you can’t get them at the library (or ask the library to buy them, they do that too). Libraries also have book clubs, sometimes classes and lectures that can bring hours of free or cheap entertainment.
Get your guidebooks there if you travel, they have language audio books, audio books for your car commute and much more.
Travel doesn’t have to be expensive
I wrote a full post about traveling around the UK and all the tricks you can use to travel cheaply. To name a few:
Hotels: I mainly use Airbnb now, to book a flat or a room in someone’s house. That turns out to be much cheaper than a hotel room and you can cook breakfast and dinner at home, saving even more.
I also check the Travelodge newsletter for rooms starting at £9. Yes, that is for a clean room with a private bathroom. You’ll need a car as they are often out of town. They have rates from £29 in the city centre too.
Food: If you don’t mind eating in chain restaurants, you can check their newsletter or social media page that often offers a discount for new subscribers. They have 2for1 offers on mains if you print a voucher. You can also use your Tesco clubcard points for restaurant vouchers.
And try to eat one meal or two at home if you rented a place, so you just have to pay for lunch out.
Car: My favourite deal is the Enterprise weekend deal, under £40 for a small car from Friday morning to Monday morning. They will even pick you up.
Train: Buy a family railcard, a young person railcard, a senior railcard… and an Oyster card inside London for 30% to 50% savings on train and tube fares.
Bus: Megabus has tickets from £1 to travel all around the UK and from £10 to Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam to name a few. Even National Express is cheap if you book early.
Flights: You can’t beat Martin’s Flight Checker, where you set your price and it tells you where you can go. Flights from £1, taxes included when Ryanair is feeling generous!
Attractions: I love the 2for1 offer, you can check their site for a full list of attractions. All you have to do is get there by train, and fill the form to get a buy one get one free entry. Includes Kew Gardens, London Eye and much more all around the UK.
Find more traveling tips over at Travel Ideaz.
You don’t need to spend money to have a good time. You can go explore the next town, I know my town has free walking tours almost every weekends, and mid September it is Heritage days and a lot of buildings usually closed to the public are open for free, with free guided tours.
For the price of petrol and a snack, there are many natural wonders to visit as well. Build your trip around one big attraction that the whole family is excited about and then enjoy a walk, a cup of tea and the town you are in.
Once I went to Cornwall and they had those old steam train running on a scenic railway. We did that as the highlight of the trip and spent the rest of the day on the coast, visiting a few fishing villages, walking on the beach and having a fish and chips.
If you pack your day with five attractions, you will be tired and enjoy it less anyway.
Free attractions include markets, flea markets, beaches, natural parks, many museums in London, old town centres, some summer festivals, many university events like concerts and lectures, etc.
Go back to the post about saving on transports and check the part about using the train and the bus for your holidays. Getting to the attractions by train will not only score you a 2for1 entry at many places, it will also help you save a bundle on petrol.
Renting a car for the holidays can be cheaper and safer than taking your own, if you are going to drive a lot.
Get a credit card from the airline you are flying with (that you will pay IN FULL EVERY MONTH!) and get some additional rewards for your travel.
Many gyms and sports clubs have a referral discount if you bring a friend, giving you an accountability buddy and a price cut at the same time.
Action for the week
1. Add up your leisure costs. Holidays, sports, gym memberships, magazines, cable subscription, museums, art shows, opera, concerts…
2. Cancel what you are not using. And make a list of what is really important to you.
3. Look for discount codes and promotions. For the holidays or your local movie place. Always research your travel destination to get a bargain.
4. Look for free entertainment options. With your local council or club, there is always something fun going on that is cheap or free.
5. Drop me a line and let me know how much you saved 🙂
You will realize that a lot of it is passive entertainment, like the premium TV you rarely watch or the magazine you never open. You won’t miss it if you get rid of it. That will leave more money for more exciting entertainment options. Good luck!