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You work hard all year round, so surely, the very least you deserve is a week away with your family as a reward for all your efforts. These days, however, finding the money to spend on a luxury four-star break can seem like an unachievable dream.
But there’s a reason that the phrase ‘every penny counts’ is such a cliché – if you make small cutbacks every month, you’ll end up saving enough money to spend on a fabulous family holiday. Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Take in a packed lunch
It’s all too easy to just nip out at lunchtime for a quick sandwich, but before you know it, you’ve spent £10 in Pret – that adds up to £50 a week if you do it every day. You could save £200 a month by bringing in your own lunch; it’s much cheaper to throw together a salad or sandwich using ingredients you already have at home, or to bring in last night’s leftovers in a Tupperware.
2. Skip the takeaway coffee
Again, it’s so tempting to just grab a flat white on the way in, but that’s around £2 a day you could be saving! If you really need a caffeine hit at your desk, invest in a thermal cup and bring in your coffee from home, or keep a cafetière and some coffee in your desk drawer.
3 Switch off the lights
It sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how much money you can save by switching off the lights when you, say, leave the kitchen to go and sit in the living room. Replacing your bulbs with energy-saving ones will also save money in the long run.
4. Cancel your gym membership
We all start off the year with good intentions to stick to that diet/not spend as much money/go to the gym. But if you’ve forked out on a gym membership, only to find that you only manage to drag yourself there once a fortnight, now may be the time to cancel it. Subscribe to a fitness video channel on YouTube instead and log in whenever you need a workout. Alternatively, you could do a few free one-month trials at several different gyms to kick-start your fitness plan, or, go for the green gym option! The weather is warming up after all…
5. Rethink your social life
Staying in is the new going out – if you’re the sort of person who leaves work and thinks ‘I’ll just go to the pub for one drink,’ then end up leaving with a £50 hole in your wallet, it’s time to rethink your social life. Choose three or four friends and start up a book club or ‘Come Dine With Me’-style night, where you take it in turns to host an evening. That way, you can take it in turns to provide the food or drinks, meaning you save money on the nights when it’s not your turn and still enjoy an evening with your friends.
6. Swap to shop-brand household products
When it comes to things like washing up powder, liquid soap or even toilet paper, we usually get into the habit of buying particular brands, but switching to a shop-brand version will save you a considerable amount of money every month.
7. Give yourself a weekly cash budget
We often hand over our debit or even credit card to pay for something without thinking about it – and that’s how we end up spending more money than we’d bargained for. Instead, look at the week ahead and roughly estimate how much money you’ll need for your day-to-day expenses. Withdraw that amount from your account and make it last the week – that way, you’ll know for sure that you’re not frittering away your hard-earned cash. To help with this, try out FSCS’s budget planner tool to help find your daily budget in seconds!
FSCS has an easy tool that will help you find out how much money you could save now and for your future. It's completely free and will tell you how you could manage your money better in seconds. FSCS are the people who protect your money for free, from £1 up to £85,000 in UK banks and building societies.
Plus, enter the competition below for your chance to win a dream Family Break!