There is an old saying, ‘Take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves’ and it is probably the most sound piece of financial advice ever given.
Post-Christmas, with the credit card bills still to be settled and the exuberance of the festive season now a distant memory, thoughts quickly switch to sun, sand and the ultimate summer escape. But how are you going to fund it?
The most manageable technique is to approach the task in small bite-sized chunks, by making small savings regularly; you will soon create a nest egg worthy of those holiday brochures.
Here are our Top 10 hints and tips for funding your summer getaway:
1. Set a realistic target figure of how much you need to fund your holiday. Then, divide it by the number of weeks and months you have until you would like to travel. Check you are on target each week and if not, try and make up the difference the following week so the divide doesn’t grow!
2. Open a separate bank or building society account that pays the highest interest rate you can find. Syphon all your holiday savings here and DON’T TOUCH IT!
3. Eat out less. For every meal you don’t go out for now, that is one more funded when you are away. If you normally eat out once a fortnight, cut it back to once every three weeks and put the difference into the holiday account so you can’t spend it in other ways!
4. Reduce your food bill by being more resourceful. Instead of throwing away leftovers and letting yourself be tempted by the takeaway menu, challenge yourself to make a meal from something already lurking in the fridge or cupboard. Very few of us can honestly claim to have nothing to eat in the house. It may not win Masterchef, but it is another £20 saved.
5. Stop buying gossip magazines. You can read them for free at the hairdressers and in the doctor’s waiting room and be honest, do we really need to know who the D list are dating? (If you do need to know, you can read it all for free online!)
6. Resist the urge for coffee. A cappuccino in Starbucks twice a week costs you £130 over six months.
7. Sell unwanted Christmas gifts. We have all got them – that set of smellies that great auntie Flo bought you. Get onto eBay and sell it to someone who would appreciate it. Profits go straight into the holiday fund.
8. Wait for the DVD. A trip to the cinema has never been so expensive. Tickets can easily set you back almost £10 and then there are the ridiculously over-priced snacks and drinks. With DVD releases faster than ever before, just hold on and catch that movie in the comfort of your own home.
9. Set a limit for gifts. Present buying can get seriously out of hand if you have a wide circle of friends and family. Set a limit for birthdays and stick to it. It will make you think harder about what you buy and you will end up being more creative with your choice.
10. Empty out your loose change every night into an old biscuit tin. You won`t notice it has gone, but you will feel the benefit in six months time when you count up the spoils.
So, for the most pain-free way to simply finance your summer holiday, take heed of the tips above and by July, you will be relaxing on a tropical beach somewhere. Remember to take out cheap travel insurance before you travel, you don’t want your hard earned savings to be meaningless if you have to cancel your holiday with no refund!