Sunday, 4 August 2019

How We Save For Family Holidays

Family holidays are, without a doubt, my absolute favourite thing in life!

As someone who didn't set foot out of the UK until I was 21, I always felt a real sense of urgency to get out there and see as much of the world as possible. And considering I got off to a pretty late start, I haven't done too badly with that mission really!

But once children came along, it became a little bit trickier and a LOT pricier - even more so now that we're a family of five! I quite often spot some incredible travel deals for families of 4, but families of 5? Never! Holiday companies seem to forget that larger families exist, and very few hotels cater for us meaning that we often end up having to pay for two bedrooms - which, as you can imagine, really sends the holiday costs sky rocketing!

But I've remained determined not to let it stop us from getting out there and enjoying adventures as a family while the children are young - I love the opportunity to explore new places with them, and see the world through their eyes. It's magical, and I'm constantly thinking of new places I'd love to take them to.

I'm hoping over the next few years to be able to cram in visits to Florida, New York and maybe even Lapland too - but the one thing that stands in the way is, of course, money!

Recently though, I've started to be more pro-active in taking steps and implementing

 saving plans to help us reach our savings goals and make our travel dreams a reality - and I'm amazed at how much things have improved for us in a short space of time as a result of the changes and plans we've put into place.

So for anyone else out there who would also like to work toward saving for a family holiday, I thought I'd share my tips.

1) Work Our Your Monthly Budget

To begin with, I created a spreadsheet and listed all of our monthly outgoings.

Starting with our regular household bills, then moving on to our food shopping, petrol money, kids clubs etc.

I then worked out our monthly income, and did the maths - working out how much money we were left with after paying the rent and bills, and for the kids various clubs each month.

Using that figure, I then decided to set aside an allowance each week for petrol and food shopping (and worked out how to cut the cost of our weekly food shop down, which I'll talk more about below).

I was then able to see how much we were left with each month after everything was paid for, and worked out how much of that I could realistically set aside to be put into a holiday savings account.

To be our case it was pretty much zero! But I didn't let that put me off....see below!

2) Look For Opportunities To Save A Few Pounds

When I first worked out our monthly budget, there really wasn't anything left over at all to put into a holiday savings fund - so I decided I needed to try to cut our monthly outgoings down wherever possible.

To begin with, I went through our monthly bills and used comparison sites to see where I could make some savings. This allowed me to save a few pounds each month on our phone package, and helped us to look for a better life insurance policy too. Using comparison sites also showed us other ways we could save money, so we also changed our car insurance supplier and changed our TV and internet provider too -  meaning that we were able to save around £50 per month compared to what we had been paying previously.  Using comparison sites made the whole process so simple!

I then decided we could probably save a fair bit on our food shopping with a little more planning, too. We had been paying around £100 per week for a family of five, but using apps like MySupermarket  and always looking out for voucher codes and supermarket offers as well as regularly shopping the yellow stickered items (and also meal planning, which I credit with helping us to massively reduce our weekly food bill!) has enabled me to cut this down to around £65 per week - so that's around another £120 per month saved.

In total, that's £170 per month saved - which now goes straight into our savings account!

3) Utilise Any Opportunity To Make Extra Cash

On top of the money we're saving each month from changing suppliers and shopping smarter, I also like to try to use any opportunity possible to add extra bits to our savings fund.

One of our favourite ways to do this is doing car boot sales. We have regular sort outs and de-cluttering sessions at home, and try to do a car boot sale at least once per month where we usually make around £60 profit - that goes straight into the holiday savings pot!

We also sell the more valuable things on ebay, or local Facebook selling sites too to ensure we get the best possible price for them - such as prams and cribs we no longer need now that the children are getting older.

4) Open A Separate Savings Account

We recently opened a savings account that is completely separate to our usual bank accounts in order to stop us from "dipping in" to our savings fund toward the end of the month when money is feeling a bit tight.

Having our savings right there in the same account meant that the temptation to borrow from it was too strong, so we find that having an entirely separate account helps a lot.

5) A Little Bit Soon Becomes A Lot!

And finally, my best tip has to be that it doesn't all need to be about saving huge amounts of money - little amounts really do add up quickly!

When I was younger, my Dad had a huge old whisky bottle that he used to put all of his 50P pieces in to and every year that would be our holiday fund. We started to do something similar using £2 coins. Whenever any of us get them, they go straight into the bottle and it's amazing how quickly it builds up!

We also transfer £5 per week out of our current account into our savings account too, it's not a big enough amount to miss but it adds up to be £260 per year. Added to our £50 per month utility bill savings, our £130 per month food bill saving and the regular car boot sales...this means we now tend to save over £3,000 per year - which covers a nice family holiday!

I'd love to hear any tips you have for saving for family holidays, do feel free to share them below!

*Collaborative post

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