Cheap days out
How can you have a great day out if you haven’t got a car or can’t afford the often-extortionate train prices? It’s tough, but it can be done.
- If you’re staying local and it’s not pouring with rain, walk! Not only is it free but it’s healthy for both your body and your mind.
- If you’re a full-time student or under 25, getting a 16-25 railcard may seem like a lot of money, but if you use trains a lot then it’s soon worth it. You get a third off your ticket price and that includes your Oyster fare (off-peak) if you’re in London.
- Plan your routes and try to travel off-peak. Whether it’s by using trains, buses, or coaches, searching times and prices in advance can save you a lot of money. Fiddle around with days, times, and routes to test out prices or use a ticket-splitting app like this one to get the best deal.
- Car share. If you’re travelling as a group and driving, use just one car or two and share the petrol cost. This goes for using taxis too. Sharing is caring.
The best way to eat affordably is to make a healthy meal at home and there are plenty of blogs about doing this for only a pound or two a meal. That said, treating yourself to the occasional restaurant meal is a good way to break the routine. Wining and dining can be really expensive, but you definitely can get the price down on your meal.
- Again, planning in advance is your friend. If you know which restaurant you’re going to, have a look online for the menu to see just how expensive their food is and how many courses you can afford. If you have to lose out on dessert, grab some ice-cream on the way home.
- Searching the restaurant’s website also means you can see if they have any deals on. They might have set menus, free desserts on certain days, or 25% off your bill vouchers.
- Speaking of vouchers, it’s always worth having a look on VoucherCodes.co.uk to see if they come up with any deals for your chosen restaurant.
- Sign up for a Tastecard or Gourmet Society card. You might have to pay outright for it, but if you eat out often then you’ll soon reap the savings, just like with a railcard.
If we’re lucky, the UK summer will contain some actual sun – here’s how to enjoy it cheaply:
- Picnics. This old-skool art should not be forgotten. Grab a blanket, some cheap food and drink from the supermarket, a frisbee or book, and spend the day in a local park.
- Beach. Ditto the above, but with added sand! If there’s a beach nearby then get up early, grab the best spot, and listen to the sea and screaming children for the day. Bliss.
- Garden BBQ. Instead of going out with friends and family, suggest a BBQ at home. If you don’t have a BBQ then buy a cheap disposable one and get guests to pitch in with food and drink. Just make sure you invite someone who can actually BBQ unless you like burnt sausages.
- Walks. We’ve said it once, we’ll say it again. Go walking! Check out Ramblers and find some great local walks.
Whether it’s a disappointing summer’s day or the middle of winter, rainy days can make you want to stay indoors. Going out means you have to spend loads of money inside somewhere, right? Wrong.
- Be in a TV audience. Sign up to SRO Audiences, Lost In TV, Applause Store, and BBC Shows for a chance to grab free tickets to see your favourite shows being recorded.
- Have a cheap cinema date. If you use comparethemarket.com (or your friends/family do…) don’t forget their 2 for 1 Meerkat Movies offer. Some cinemas also have days where tickets are cheaper and checking out your local independent cinema is probably cheaper too!
- Speaking of movies, signing up to ShowFilmFirst could get you free tickets to previews of new movies. Definitely worth a try.
- There’s always local entertainment about. See what’s going on at your local pubs, bars, and venues to find any open-mic, comedy, or band nights.
- Join your local library for FREE, yes free, books, WiFi, computer access and events. All free, did we mention that?
Amusing the kids
If you have little ones the money is bound to be tight, but entertaining doesn’t have to be stressful:
- Join Facebook groups for parents in your local area. Not only will you get some much needed support during those looooong summer holidays, but you can be let in on any hints and tips for cheap amusement.
- Similarly Hoop App is a great way to find out whatâs going on locally if you live in London, Bristol, Bath, Oxford or Brighton.
- Search for online offers. Days Out Guide and MoneySavingExpert have some great offers and ideas listed, and some even include your train tickets.
- Some museums are free and not all are boring. If you’re in or around London, get your kids to the Science Museum or Natural History Museum, for example, for a day packed full of dinosaurs, experiments, and interactivity.
- Swimming. If it’s warm and sunny, head to a beach or even lake. If it’s wet outside, get even more wet indoors and wear the kids out with some fun exercise.
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