10 May 2018

Spring into sunshine and take a break (while saving money too)

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With a third of the year now complete, we've covered a lot of ground and made great progress in our quest to get financially fit, from setting savings goals and tackling debts to planning a pension savings strategy.

Now, with the sun finally shining and daytime stretching into longer evenings, it's time to reward yourself for your achievements so far. Take a break from big financial decisions, get active and enjoy some of the best outdoor events and activities the UK has to offer.

You can do this while still keeping one eye on your finances, looking out for cheaper ways to travel and the best deals on days out. You could even help fund it all by making a little extra money on side, from re-selling car boot sale bargains and old unwanted items that turn up during a spring clean at home.

If you do nothing else in May make sure you:

  1. Get active and enjoy bargain days out

  2. Travel savvy with the cheapest deals and best travel hacks

  3. Make money from spring cleaning or bargain hunting

1. Get active and enjoy bargain days out

The UK comes alive at this time of year, encouraging us to enjoy outdoor life. You can join walking tours to see the best of the local countryside, and many are free.

From around £5 a month,  (This link will open in a new window)English Heritage and  (This link will open in a new window)The National Trust offer hundreds of options for fantastic days out, visiting inspiring gardens and historical buildings where you can stretch your legs in places that tell a story.

Discount deals on days out are ideal for families. 2for1 offers are available for many activities in London if you travel by  (This link will open in a new window)National Rail, including theatres, boat trips, theme parks, zoos and many galleries and  (This link will open in a new window)museums are free.

 (This link will open in a new window)Groupon is another good source for bargain days out and  (This link will open in a new window)voucher code sites have the latest deals on 2for1 theme park offers. Supermarket loyalty schemes let you exchange points or vouchers for more than they're worth to get even more for your money. Finish days out with a family meal using options where  (This link will open in a new window)kids eat free.

With the UK countryside blooming into life, botanical gardens can be an uplifting option for enjoying the outdoors, or you could get creative in your own garden.

2. Travel savvy with the cheapest deals and best travel hacks

Don't pay over the odds for travel to enjoy the Great British outdoors. Booking in advance and checking all the options can save you a bundle on fares.

For single fares, coaches are usually cheaper than trains.  (This link will open in a new window)Megabus offers some of the cheapest tickets anywhere.  (This link will open in a new window)National Express offers many more routes. Booking in advance bags cheaper fares on both coaches and trains.

Trains are good value if you're travelling in a group, during off peak times. The  (This link will open in a new window)family and friends railcard gives a third off adult fares and 60% off kid's prices. The  (This link will open in a new window)GroupSave option also offers big discounts for larger groups travelling together.

You can cut costs on travelling abroad too. The way you pay while overseas can make a big difference to costs, so it's a great idea to do some  (This link will open in a new window)research on the best deals for foreign travel finances.

It's a good idea to try and avoid using debit cards. Instead, buy foreign currency in advance, never at the airport, and book travel insurance and car hire in advance. It's usually cheaper. Insist on paying in the local currency to avoid currency losses.

3. Make money from spring cleaning or bargain hunting

There are other ways to make a little money on the side that are worth keeping in mind even while you're out shopping or giving the house a good spring clean.

Clearing out your garage or loft, or even bargain-hunting at charity shops can unearth gems you can re-sell for a profit through car-boot sale apps, Gumtree, eBay or local Facebook selling pages.

Specialist websites for vintage clothes, jewellery or rare records and memorabilia exist where enthusiasts might pay a premium on what you'd expect to get at your local car boot sale.

Selling on  (This link will open in a new window)eBay can be complicated and also involves paying eBay commission, but  (This link will open in a new window)find the best strategy and you can make it work.

However you spend your time, enjoy it. Celebrate the financial achievements you've worked hard for in 2018, relax and get ready to go again next month!

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