The average household in London forks out £14 each day, according to the Office of National Statistics. With the cost of living continuing to rise faster than wages, many families must tighten their belts. But this doesn’t mean the fun has to stop. Vanquis explores ideas for a family day out – on a budget.
It’s a little chilly for an outdoor picnic, but you can prepare packed lunches before heading out at any time of year. It’s easy to get stuck in a sandwich rut, especially if picky eaters are involved; but don’t let this stop you from trying new foods. Cute food cutters are sure to grab the children’s attention.
A little online research will throw up a bunch of free events in or around your area. The family website ‘Families’, for example, regularly updates parents on family-friendly events that are both free and paid-for. Take full advantage, as there’s an abundance of fun to be had.
If your family loves the outdoors, a trip to the local park is full of possibility. Teach your children about nature or go in search of wildlife, large and small. Insects live everywhere, so you may be amazed by what you find, including ants, spiders, caterpillars, ladybirds and beetles. As well as being fun, these safe-play activities will help foster healthy child development.
You can save a few pretty pennies by buying family travel tickets. Prices will depend on the travel company; just double check at the ticket office and a customer advisor will show you the best way to purchase tickets for your journey.
When travelling in London, children ages 0-10 go for free if they are accompanied by an adult with a valid ticket. (Up to four children can travel free with each adult.) Children aged 11-15 can get a child travelcard, which offers reduced bus and tube travel.
Three quarters (77%) of the population are members of a loyalty programme, according to the What the British think of loyalty report. Many loyalty cards, such as Tesco’s Clubcard or Sainsbury’s Nectar card, offer countless perks to customers, including discounts at restaurants and theme parks. If you haven’t already started collecting points, sign up now and start building your loyalty account.
A day budget
Having a budget in your head before setting off will put you in a money-saving frame of mind from the get-go. Calculate roughly how much you are happy to spend, and then divide it between food, transport, and activities. Keep an eye on where the pennies fall throughout the day and you will be that much better at stopping at your financial boundary.
It’s all too easy to get carried away when you’re out having fun. But, by becoming more money-conscious, anyone can learn where to make savings and when to stop spending. Being careful with your money in this way will not make you dull or ungenerous; it will simply help your funds stretch further.