It may be hard to be certain with the English weather, but summer is here. But will holidays and days out leave you with a financial headache as well as a suntan?
We look at some top tips to make your money go further this summer.
- Make the fun more affordable
Good weather and long evenings tempt us out of the house. No one wants to deny themselves or their loved ones some summer fun – but wherever you go, you need to keep track of what you spend. Plan ahead and look for vouchers and offers, and you can cut the cost of a day out. A picnic will cost less than a lunch out, particularly if you have a family, and could actually be much more fun.
It’s tempting to put all the summer extras on the credit card. But you could still find yourself paying it off this time next year.
- Shop around
Every retailer knows that when the sun comes out, so do the shoppers. We tend to spend more and that can cause problems with our budgets. Naturally, you will want some summer clothes, and perhaps a few things to make the most of the garden.
The good news is that you can save simply by shopping around. The problems on the high street can mean that summer sales are in full swing and bagging a summer bargain or two is easier than it has ever been.
An online search for discounts and vouchers can help you cut costs. You can even sign up to services that send money saving offers every day.
- Grab a holiday bargain
You have probably already arranged your holiday, but if you haven’t there could be last minute bargains to be had. It helps if you are adventurous. You could find yourself headed for somewhere you have never heard of and you might need to jet off the next day. But you could discover somewhere wonderful at a bargain price.
- Keep on top of your holiday money
If you are going away this year, you can make your money go further by planning your foreign money purchases carefully, and well in advance.
The plunge in the pound since the Brexit vote has been a boost for tourists coming to Britain, but it’s not such good news for us Brits. If you are taking a holiday in the sun, making your money go further has never been so important.
Don’t fall into the trap of changing your money at the airport. Airport bureaux de change offer dreadful rates, because people using them have no other choice.
- Play your cards right abroad
But you may be asking if you really need foreign money. Many of us use our cards to pay for everything these days – it’s only natural to do the same abroad. But you’ll always need some cash, and however you pay, beware of the hidden costs.
There are fees when using your plastic abroad which can include foreign exchange commission or foreign loading fees.
Some will also add an extra ‘penalty fee’ every time you use your card abroad. This means even small purchases could turn out very expensive
The solution? Potentially get a prepaid travel card. You load it before you go and use it like your debit card to spend or withdraw cash. Most calculate exchange rates on the day you load them up. If the pound weakens after you load the card, you gain – and as they’re pre-loaded, they can even help you to keep your spending under control.
- Get some protection
Summer protection means more than just sunscreen. You and your family will need insurance cover when you are away.
Travel insurance is included with most package deals, but always check – and you must arrange cover of your own if you have organised the trip yourself. It can cover things like lost luggage and delayed flights, and most important of all, medical emergencies. Accidents happen, and illness can strike at any time, and while a lost suitcase can be upsetting, the cost of emergency medical care can be ruinous. You don’t need to run the risk – wherever in the world you are headed, single trip travel insurance will cover medical costs in the millions.
- Get protection in Europe
If you’re travelling within Europe, make sure you get an EHIC card from the Department of Health. This entitles you to treatment at any public hospital in all 28 EU countries as if you were a local citizen. It may not be free, and if the locals pay for medical attention so will you, but it will cost substantially less than the full price.
Brexit might mean an end to the EHIC – but you should still take advantage of it this summer.
Need some help?
You can shop around for travel insurance online, but for most financial questions, the answer is to call us at Continuum. Not only do we have a series of informative articles in our newsletter, we have experts with the answers you need.
We can help you make the most of your money, and not just this summer. Insurance, money management, investment, retirement – we have the answers you need all year round.
The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate currency transactions and personal finance.
The information contained in this article is based on the opinion of Continuum and does not constitute financial advice or a recommendation to suitable investment strategy, you should seek independent financial advice before embarking on any course of action.
moneyweek.com – personal finance