It isn’t until your children are over 3 that you truly realise the cost of a family day out. I nearly keeled over when I was asked for £45 for us all to see the latest Disney film at the cinema. Family days often mean quality time, so finding ways to ease the cost is important. Here are some tips on making your money go a little bit further.
1. Use loyalty schemes. We shop at Tesco and have a Tesco credit card. After a while loyalty points start to add up. Don’t use them at face value off your shopping. There are loads of clubcard rewards meaning you get more for your points. From days out to restaurant vouchers it is worth looking into these.
2. Buy annual passes. If you live near an attraction, consider purchasing an annual pass. These usually save you money after around 3 visits. We currently have Merlin passes (through clubcard rewards) and National Trust. Our Merlin passes also give us a discount on food and retail in the parks. We purchased the National Trust passes 2 years ago when we went on a trip to Devon. Here not only were we able to visit some local houses, but were also able to park for free at the National Trust beaches.
3. Take a picnic. Often you can double the cost of a family day out by purchasing food onsite. A picnic will save you loads. Make sure to pack plenty of snacks and water. If you want to avoid another hefty bill in the gift or sweet shop on the way out, pack a little treat to give them as you leave. I find the small packets of Haribo often work a treat!
4. Use coupons. Always check for a money off coupon before you visit an attraction. Do a quick internet search, and don’t forget to look for coupons in magazines such as Families and Primary Times that the children bring home from school or nursery. Online apps like Vouchercloud can even be checked on your phone when you get there incase you have forgotten to look before.
5. Enter giveaways. You’ve got to be in it to win it! Giveaways are a great way to win family days out. They are often lower entry too as they are region specific. Local magazines, facebook pages and competition websites such as prizefinder are a good place to start.
6. Plan when you go. By visiting an attraction off peak you can sometimes get a price reduction. Parking at train station is cheaper on a Sunday, so that might be worth considering if you are going on somewhere on a weekend. Advance tickets can also offer a reduction and some attractions allow you to use the ticket on any date rather than specify one.
7. Sign up for newsletters/like of social media. Money off vouchers are often shared on social media and through newsletters, so if there are a few places you fancy visiting, sign up to their facebook or online newsletter and you may get sent a discount.
8. Use Local Parks. Don’t forget that there is often a great day out just around the corner. Pack a picnic and go to a local park. Check out the local splash area. Many are free and just require a small fee for the car park. Geocaching is also great fun and just requires a small fee for the app.
9. Use kids cinema showings. As I mentioned at the start, a family seeing a current film is really pricey. If you wait a couple of months you can see the same film at a kids showing for a fraction of the price.
10. Look out for offers on your groceries. Odd but true. Kelloggs often have Merlin offers on their cornflakes. They are currently giving you a free digital ride photo from a Merlin Park. Highland Spring have recently had free tennis lessons. Who knows what other offers you can get from your weekly shop!
What top tips do you have for saving money on a family day out?