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How to save money on UK days out - Money Saving Tips UK 2023

Energy bills, food prices, interest rates - it feels like everything’s going up. Well, except for salaries.

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Getting there on a budget Save money on food and drink Getting cheap attraction tickets Earn money with a side hustle (that takes no effort)

About this guide

The cost-of-living crisis is on everyone’s lips and playing on all our minds as we tighten our purse strings and kiss goodbye to frivolous spending (overpriced coffee addicts, we’re looking at you).

That’s why we’ve built this guide, to help you navigate the cost-of-living crisis without having to sacrifice making memories with the people you love. You’ll find loads of handy tips on planning a day out on a budget, including how to save money on the big stuff like travel, food and tickets. And you can share your tips too. Good karma, coming at you.

Money Saving tips this way

WTF is going on with the current financial climate?

To put it simply, the current financial climate in the UK is a bit of a mess. There are a few different factors to blame, like Covid-19, the war in Ukraine, the Downing Street game of musical chairs and, you guessed it, Brexit.

Inflation has soared since lockdown came to an end. This is thanks to the sharp increase in demand for goods and services, as well as ongoing supply chain disruption caused primarily by Covid and the war in Ukraine. And it’s not just the odd thing getting more expensive. Prices have risen across the board from essentials like your weekly food shop, to discretionary purchases (your treats – alcohol, holidays, concert tickets, that kind of thing). With the Consumer Price Index (CPI) up 10.1% in September 2022 vs the year before.

Wholesale prices of fuel, like petrol and diesel, and energy have gone up too. That means daily rituals like making a cuppa, having a shower, turning the heating on and filling up the car all cost more too.

Who’s feeling the pinch?

Sure, prices are rising at similar rates for everyone, but the pinch isn’t one-size-fits-all.

According to The Guardian, lower income households tend to spend twice as much proportionally on essentials like housing, food and bills compared to richer households. This results in huge disparities between the leeway that different households have in managing financial strains. The bottom line of it? While some families can cut back on luxuries to accommodate rising costs, others are having to make impossible decisions between putting food on the table and heating their home this winter.

Whatever your personal situation, this guide is a helping hand for anyone looking for inspiration, ideas, tips and hacks for enjoying days out without breaking the bank.

How to make a day out more affordable

Planning a day out that’s both fun and affordable may sound like black magic but we promise you, it’s possible. We’ve searched high and low for the best ways to save you some cash and help you make the most out of every experience.

Getting there on a budget

Getting there on a budget

If we had a pound for every time we’ve heard the words “have you seen the price of petrol!?”, well, we could afford to fill up our tank without wincing.

The cost of road fuel peaked at the beginning of July. It has dropped since then, but not that much. On 24th October 2022, ultra-low sulphur unleaded petrol grew to 164.62 pence per litre while ultra-low sulphur diesel was 181.3 pence per litre. Yikes.

So, how can you cut the cost of transport on a day out? Public transport is a solid option – loads of attractions are easy to get to this way and you can make it more affordable with a bit of pre-planning

Using public transport

  • Advanced tickets are the way to go – you can usually book up to three months in advance with prices going up as the travel date approaches.
  • Travel at off-peak times – avoid rush hour times wherever possible, these are more expensive (and much busier).
  • Use Rail Easy to check for split fares – sometimes splitting up the journey works out cheaper than buying a conventional ticket. Luckily, Rail Easy works that out for you.
  • Invest in a railcard – there’s a few different options so find the one that works best for you. They cost between £20 and £30 for the year.

Travelling by car

Save money on food and drink

Save money on food and drink

Anyone who’s been on a day out recently will know just how easy it is to rack up a hefty bill for food and drink, especially if you go to a café or restaurant inside the attraction.

Bringing a picnic is a no-brainer for keeping costs down, just make sure you check any rules around bringing in food. Lots of places encourage it and have designated spots (indoors and outdoors) for you to eat.

Save some dough on your picnic

  • Reduced section, here we come – you can pick up some proper bargains in the reduced section of the supermarket, just look out for the yellow stickers. Most supermarkets put out reduced items around 6-8pm, so head to your local the night before your day out and see what you can pick up.
  • Bring last night’s tea – don't throw away any leftovers, they’re great for a bargain picnic (and probably more exciting than your classic sarnies).
  • You can fill up you water for free at most attractions so make sure you pack a refillable bottle. Want to spice it up? Look for the concentrated cordial drops in the supermarket.
Getting cheap attraction tickets

Getting cheap attraction tickets

Attraction tickets can be pretty darn pricey and probably take up a large proportion of your day out budget.

Saving money on attraction tickets...

  • Off-peak is your best friend – Think about the date you’re planning to go on a day out, if it’s during school holidays or weekends (peak times) it’s probably going to be a little pricier.
  • Planning ahead will save you some pennies – most places charge more on the door or for same-day tickets, plan ahead to get a lower price.
  • Make sure you’re not paying hidden fees – some ticket sellers will charge you booking fees or other additional costs. We never add on any hidden charges.
  • Look for multi-ticket savings – if you’re visiting a city and plan to hit more than one attraction, look for passes that give you access to a handful of attractions. like Merlin's Magical London Pass
  • Multi-passes & Memberships - Memberships to attractions are a great way to save some cash. You can save 15% off an annual English Heritage membership which gives you unlimited access to hundreds of historic places.
Earn money with a side hustle (that takes no effort)

Earn money with a side hustle (that takes no effort)

Rent out your driveway for some extra cash

If you're after a side hustle that takes minimal effort but could help you put away the pennies for things like days out, listen up.

Renting out your driveway or parking space with JustPark is a super easy way to earn a bit of extra cash. It’s completely free to sign up and only takes a few minutes. The top hosts are earning over £4,000 a year, plus the first £1,000 you earn is tax free. Visit JustPark and use their simple calculator to see how much you could be earning.

Read our top money saving tips

Avoid the gift shops!

Buy souvenirs ahead of time to avoid gift shops markup... Or blindfold your kids in the gift shop haha!

Pack them spares

Be prepared for anything with your packing. Bring a change of clothes, raincoats, portable chargers, snacks, etc so you don’t have to buy anything when you’re there as it will be more expensive

Up the ante

Make the day even more special to get the most out of it! You could dress up, add in scavenger hunt or do a ‘yes day’!

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