Mature Students: How To Save For A Family Summer Holiday
Summer holidays are expensive. The average family of four spends in excess of £3,200 for a week in the sun. That’s a lot of extra money to find when your budget is already stretched to the max with everyday essentials, like food, bills, and fuel, without all the extra costs of studying!
But fear not, as we have some essential tips to help you afford your family holiday.
1. Start saving early
The most important piece of advice we can give you is to start saving early. The later you leave it, the harder it will be to pull together enough money to pay for the holiday.
This is when people fall into the trap of using credit cards to pay for holidays, which is very expensive and can easily lead families into a bottomless debt hole.
Give yourself at least a year to save up for a holiday; ideally longer if you have a once in a lifetime trip planned somewhere exotic.
2. Put your spare change in a jar
Every little helps when you are saving up for a holiday. Get into the habit of putting your spare change into a money box or jar. Everyone in the family can do this at the end of the day. You’ll be amazed by how much change accumulates at the end of a month or two.
Coin machines at supermarkets are a quick and easy way to sort loose change, but they take a commission from whatever you feed in. To avoid this, get some coin bags from your local bank or post office. Sort through your loose change each month and bag it up. Most banks, building societies and post offices will accept a few bags of coins at a time and exchange them into notes. You can pay this money into your holiday savings fund.
3. Set up a dedicated savings account
Open a holiday savings account. Give it a name, such as “my holiday fund” or the “Smith Family Benidorm Fund”.
Any extra money you have can be paid into this account. Look for a savings account that offers a decent return for 12 months (not easy, we know).
Re-evaluate your savings account each year, and if you can find a better deal elsewhere, move your money to a new account.
4. Have a monthly standing order
It’s sensible to set up a monthly standing order. Arrange this for when you get paid, so the money leaves your account on the same day and you don’t miss it.
Fix the standing order amount according to your budget. Deposit as much as you can afford.
If you end up with more than you need, the extra can be siphoned into a general savings account or used as spending money.
5. Sell unwanted items
Have a purge of old clothing, toys, and miscellaneous items. Any money you raise can be deposited in your savings account.
Use sites like eBay and Gumtree to sell anything with a reasonable value. For larger items or old clothing, list them on Facebook buy and sell pages.
It’s also worth having a garage sale if you have a lot of junk to get rid of.
6. Encourage the kids to help save
If you have children, it’s always good to encourage them to get involved. After all, this is their holiday too.
Older kids can show some entrepreneurial spirit by thinking up ways to earn money. Traditional methods include cutting the lawn or walking the dog for friends and family.
Younger kids can have a sort out of their old toys and list them online to make money.
7. Spread the cost
Look at ways to spread the cost of your holiday. Some agents have buy now, pay later offers. Or you can look for an interest-free credit card to spread the cost of your holiday over 18 months or longer.
Be careful not to stretch the repayments beyond the interest-free offer period.
If this is a trip of a lifetime, look for a low-interest flexible loan to help you budget. Make sure any extra payments are penalty-free, so you can pay off the loan as fast as possible and reduce your interest burden.
8. Look for early bird discounts
Keep an eye out for early bird holiday discounts and special deals, such as “kids go free”. It could save you a fortune if you book early.
You may not need to pay anything apart from a small deposit, which gives you plenty of time to save up before the balance is due.
Got any more great tips? Let us know!