Summer is here, so I’m sharing some summer saving ideas to inspire you to see what you can do to leave you with more money to save and invest for the future. Summer can be the hardest season to find deals as retailers, resorts and airlines know that it’s a popular time for holidays so they are less likely to discount services and products.
If you’re going abroad this summer and plan to use your mobile, it’s easy to arrive home with a big bill for data roaming, calls and texts. Mobile providers are much better now that in the past about letting you know about international charges, and must automatically cap your usage in the EU to avoid huge bills unless you request otherwise. However you can still be caught out all too easily as receiving calls can cost money. Before you leave for an international visit, contact your provider and consider prepaying for a ‘bolt-on’ or international service plan to keep costs in check.
Another money saving tip if you’re planning on going away this summer, is consider alternative places to stay other than hotels. The options are much wider now than just camping or hosteling. With the advent of sites like AirBnB (https://www.airbnb.co.uk) you don’t have to only stay in pricey hotels. Instead, Airbnb lets you rent single rooms as well as holiday homes for both short and long stays. Prices can be as low as £20 a night for a room, which is cheaper than most budget hotels, particularly in major cities.
Another option, perhaps more unconventional, is one of the cheapest ways to go on holiday: to simply trade your home for a week with another family wishing to do the same. There are a few websites such as Love Home Swap (http://www.lovehomeswap.com/) which you can sign up with in order to be paired with suitable people to swap homes. Most sites will usually charge a fee to facilitate this (£144 a year in the case of Love Home Swap), but the potential savings are huge if you fancy something a little different. The service offers insurance covering accidental damage to your property during the swap but you should check with your home insurance provider to make sure that coverage for major events such as burglary or a burst pipe remains in place. This is important as some home insurers will not allow exchangers, so you may need to move your home insurance policy to a more accommodating company should you wish to pursue this money-saving idea.
Whilst on the subject of insurance, depending on the amount of travel you and your family do each year, it may be cheaper take out an annual policy rather than individual polices for each trip. For example, there are some very inexpensive annual Europe-only multi-trip polices available online. Be sure to ensure the terms are suitable though. Typically even the most inexpensive cover should cover cancellation costs up to £2,000, personal baggage up to £750 and medical costs up to £3m, with a £150 excess in the event of a claim. You should also compare single policies with couple and family variants to find the best deal for your circumstances.
As well as going away on holiday, summertime is also a popular time for weddings. Whilst I would never usually attempt to give fashion advice in this money column (!), it may be worth considering cutting the cost of looking your best at a wedding by hiring, rather than buying, an outfit. From dresses and suits, to special occasion hats and fascinators, considerable savings can be made by hiring, plus you get to enjoy some variety in your summer wardrobe, especially as the season seems so fleeting each year.