My Top 10 Holiday Budgeting Tips!

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If you’re a regular reader of my blog you’ll know that I’ve not stopped going on about our summer holiday this year to Orlando, Florida!

As you can imagine, this is an expensive holiday – flights, accommodation, theme park tickets, food…the costs soon stack up, and I thought it might be a good idea to give you My Top 10 Holiday Budgeting Tips and what I do to make sure that I provide the most awesome holiday memories that I can for my family!

Tip 1 – Ask yourself – can I afford it?!

Before you start even thinking about booking a holiday, you need to take a look at your income and outgoings: rent/mortgage, utilities, groceries, clothing, entertainment etc etc, and see if you can actually afford to start saving towards a holiday! If you have no spare cash – look at where you can make cutbacks – can you reduce your grocery bill? Do you really need to have that subscription to x, y, z?

Tip 2 – Start saving!

You’ve looked at your finances –  you’ve got money left at the end of the month – it’s time to start saving. It’s likely that the bulk of your holiday will be paid for with your income, so if you have the function on your bank account, set up a saving pot to transfer money into each month (or week, depending on how you’re paid), or if you have two bank accounts, use one as your holiday fund.

Tip 3 – Set goals!

When I decided that we would be going back to Orlando, I set myself a goal, to earn a certain amount of money per month (I’m self employed). Every time I hit that goal, I would transfer that to my savings account, and any left over would roll over. Some months I exceeded my target, others, I was under. But setting that goal has kept me focused.

Tip 4 – 0% purchase credit card!

It’s not ideal to pay for your holiday using a credit card, but if you really, really must, then look at cards with 0% purchase rate so that you’re not paying extra interest on top. Be mindful of when this rate is over, at which point, shop around for 0% transfers credit cards. The credit card method may also be ideal if you are a couple of hundred short and need to pay off your holiday balance! Also note that some companies charge a little extra if paying by credit card (I’ve found it to be about 2% ish)

Tip 5 – Don’t forget spending money!

It’s all good and well saving up to pay to get to and stay at your holiday destination – but what about spends?! Things we do to up our holiday spend fund are:

  • a £2 pot – every £2 coin we get, we put it in a sealed pot; it’s amazing how much that can add up over the course of a year!
  • a loose change pot – similarly, any loose change gets thrown into this! Honestly, watch the pennies and the pounds look after themselves!
  • sell your unwanted things online or at a car boot sale – someone else will want to pay for your old stuff!
  • give up something…for example, if you buy a coffee every day from a pricey coffee house – don’t! Put that money into your holiday spends fund! You’ll be amazed by how much you save!
  • with all that money saved, one of the safest ways to take it abroad is on a prepaid currency card. Keep checking the exchange before you transfer to it to get the best bang for your buck! We’re waiting at the moment for the dollar to creep up just a little bit more!

Going Home

Tip 6 – Shop around for the best deals!

Travel agents’ packages are not always the cheapest, it may be worthwhile to look into DIY – which is what we’ve done on a couple of occasions.

I check comparison websites to make sure I can get the flight prices, insurance, car hire and accommodation as great value as possible. However, sometimes that doesn’t work, and a package might be more financially viable (it was for us this year!), again, check comparison sites.

Don’t forget cashback websites which may have offers on for the company you are using! Add that cashback to your spends!

Another way to save money on the holiday itself is to consider going off season when prices are generally lower – I know that this isn’t possible for those with children at school, or those that work in schools, in which case, use my tips above!

Tip 7 – Stock up on holiday products at the end of the season!

The last thing you want is to fork out a big chunk of money on these things just before you go away, so the best time of year to buy all the things you need for your holiday – suncream, accessories, clothing, even suitcases., is at the end of the summer season, when the stores want to make way for their autumn/winter collections! Products are likely to be on sale and marked down in price – stock up!

Tip 8 – Start a holiday box!

We spread the cost of our holiday supplies by buying stuff over the course of the year leading up to it. You may think I’m bonkers, but it works! If a product is buy one get one free for example, I’ll take advantage of that offer and put the free one in my holiday box!

Tip 9 – Yay, you’re on holiday – set a daily budget!

Divide your holiday spends fund into the amount of days that you are on holiday – that is your daily limit! I’m not trying be Sir Buzz Killington here and spoil the fun, but the last thing you want is to find out you’ve run out of money on your last day or so! Any money not spent from your budget, rolls to the next day.

Believe me, we’ve been there! We were down to our last €40 on our final full day in Paris…not the best place to be and nearly out of cash!! We had to find somewhere cheap to eat out for dinner that evening!

It’s always good to have a contingency though, so check out credit cards with the lowest fees for using them abroad – only use in an emergency!

Tip 10 – Take drinks/food/snacks with you on your days out!

Whether it is a day out out at the beach, a theme park, a museum or other attraction, buy food and drinks to take with you. It’ll be a lot kinder to your purse strings if you buy in a local supermarket than at the attraction – especially theme parks!Most hotels will have a fridge in the room, so stock up on drinks and perishables. You could also buy things like fruit, cereal bars, baked goods and other non-perishables, if you don’t have a fridge, which will enable you to have breakfast at ‘home’ and be cheaper than eating all of your meals out. If you stay at self-catering accommodation, even better! We always stock up the fridge at our villa/caravan/apartment so we can make picnic lunches, or sometimes dine at ‘home’ in the evenings.You can also the check local press for vouchers and coupons, and other things like “kids eat free” cards to use at restaurants and other eateries. Actually, you could also do this for supermarkets too (we do!)

Magic Kingdom

I hope that My Top 10 Holiday Budgeting Tips have given you some ideas and insight into how we as a family plan our budget for our annual holiday. People often ask me how we afford to go to Florida (which isn’t a cheap holiday by any means!) and using these tips is exactly how we do it!

What are your top holiday budgeting tips?

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