Sun, sea, sand… and savings: Money tips for the summer months

DSC_2443Whilst the summer brings bright evenings and warm weather, it can also be a very expensive time of year. Handy tips to help you save money whilst the sun is shining (hopefully) are always welcome, as even the smallest savings can build up to give you a little extra cash at the end of each month.

If you’re planning a holiday overseas, a specialist travel credit card is an excellent choice for spending abroad. Not only do many travel credit cards ensure you’re getting the very best exchange rate on every transaction, but they also charge no fees whatsoever. Most regular credit cards will add around a 3% charge on whatever you spend in a foreign country, with some also charging more for cash withdrawals and adding interest even if you pay off your full balance. Using a travel credit card will avoid all of these fees, adding up to quite a substantial saving, especially if you make a full payment every month to avoid any interest.

If you are going to exchange some money then do shop around for the best deal. We came across a good example of this recently in an old newspaper article that suggested the average family who move abroad permanently do so with £250,000. Let’s say that they were going to the US and there was just a $0.05 difference between the convenient and visible bank and the specialist exchange service. If the bank are offering $1.53 to the pound, whilst the exchange service offer $1.58 to the pound, the family’s return from the bank would be $382,500, whereas opting for the improved rate of the specialist exchange would mean their return was $395,000. This is a pretty staggering difference of $12,500! Whilst we’re likely to be changing a little less money for a break abroad, getting the best rate available could still make a sizeable difference to our holiday fund!

Looking for an affordable way to jet off this summer with your newly exchanged cash, but don’t fancy a budget airline? No problem: you can save yourself some money through “codesharing”. It’s a system whereby different airlines team up to sell seats on each other’s flights – often at a significantly reduced price. If you know which airline you want to fly with, or precisely which flight you’re after, you could end up making a considerable saving – sometimes as much as a three-figure amount – and get exactly the same flight on the same plane as you would have received booking directly through your chosen airline.

If you’ve got kids, taking them on the weekly shop during the summer holidays can make the trip round the supermarket twice as long. But did you know it can also make your shop considerably more expensive? Retailers know that children are more present in their stores during the summer, and so increase their child-focused advertising. You may think a few extra items or an occasional treat won’t make a difference, but the cost can mount up much more quickly than you realise. If you can, get a friend or relative to mind your children whilst you run your daily errands, as it will almost certainly help you complete them more quickly and economically. Even the cost of a childminder for a few hours a week could be cheaper than giving your kids the chance to use their “pester power” in the shops this summer…!

Posted In : Savings, Financial Planning, Tips