Image taken by 401(K) 2013 on Flickr
Holidays are great, but there’s very little point in heading off to de-stress if you’re going to have to deal with the worry of paying for it afterwards. Here are 4 top tips for saving money throughout the year to be able to afford a holiday.
Get in the habit of budgeting
Expenses change throughout the year, for example heating costs go up over the colder months and down in the summer ones. To deal with this, you either need to have money put aside from times when costs were lower, or you need to be prepared to save more during the cheaper months and spend more of your money on essentials in the more expensive ones. Another point to consider when budgeting is that many common expenses such as insurance are on annual contracts, while others are on rolling contracts, which can be changed. It’s worth taking a good look at annual contracts at least a month before they expire, so you can make sure to get the best of the current deals and it’s very worthwhile to examine rolling contracts on a regular basis for the same reason.
Avoid convenience purchases
It’s amazing how little purchases add up, but the good news is that the savings from cutting down on them add up too. Instead of buying coffee on your way to work, buy your favourite blend and make your own before you leave. These day’s it’s easy to buy cups with lids so you can drink it on the go. The same goes for other convenience purchases such as bottled water, sandwiches and snacks. These are all much cheaper if made at home. Similarly those who are prepared to be a little patient can often save themselves some money. For example, if buying items online, choose the second-class delivery option. It may take a few more days but it is often much cheaper. Look for end-of-season bargains and be prepared to store them until the next season comes around, for example buy a winter coat at the start of spring and store it for the following winter.
Understand unit pricing
In the old days, bigger was if not better than almost always cheaper. By selling products in bigger packages, manufacturers saved money on packaging themselves and they passed on part of these savings to the consumer. Today, buying in larger packs can still sometimes be cheaper but supermarket pricing has become much more complicated and it is now it is far from unusual for two or more smaller packs to cost less to buy than the equivalent larger pack. Many supermarkets are now marking unit prices on their shelves, but these don’t always take special offers into account, so it’s worth getting into the habit of double-checking, even if there is no special offer, mistakes can be made.
Get to know the internet
While many people have already grasped that the internet is a great place to look for shopping bargains, the internet can do whole lot more to help save you money. For example, many people already know that Skype can be used to make free calls to other Skype users, but fewer may realize that it also offers very affordable monthly subscription to call landlines and mobiles in the UK (and abroad). As the subscription runs through the user’s Skype account, it can also be used through smartphones with the Skype App and access to WiFi meaning users can carry on saving money even when they’re out and about. The internet is full of high-quality free software to help with all sorts of tasks.
There are many websites which offer practical advice on how to budget and save for events like holidays. This site has a wide range of resources on how to budget
About Author: Sarah is a keen blogger who enjoys writing about money saving advice and budgeting tips.