Pay less on family outings
While there are plenty of activities out there to enjoy as a family, these can set parents back by as much as £1,800, according to Abbey.
To keep costs down, it pays to do some forward-planning.
1 Get online
Popular attractions such as Legoland and Alton Towers are great fun but can set back a family of four by as much as £100. Visit the attractions’ websites for special deals, and try one of the many discounts sites, such as Lastminute.com, 365tickets.com and Attractiontix.co.uk. Tickets for a family of four to Legoland cost £122 on the gate but if you pre-book at Legoland.co.uk you’ll only pay £110. Or, by purchasing three days in advance from 365tickets.com you’ll pay just £74 – a total saving of £48.
2 Beware dodgy dealers
While there are many genuine websites offering tickets for attractions, theatre shows, festivals, concerts and sporting events, the internet is awash with dodgy dealers selling counterfeit tickets and ticket touts that charge inflated prices.
Consumer Direct advises only using reputable ticket agencies that provide their address and other contact details, and that you always save the information relating to the transaction. Before you part with your cash, find out what will happen if the event is cancelled and whether you are entitled to a refund.
For extra protection, pay with a credit card if the total price is more than £100.
3 Travel by train
Some train companies also run discount promotions on popular days out. For example, Daysoutguide.co.uk from National Rail offers two-for-one deals on attractions and discounts on theatre tickets in London and the South East if you travel by train. Oyster cardholders are entitled to similar discounts, which are detailed at tfl.gov.uk/oysteroffers.
4 Cultural activities
Museums and galleries are a good way for kids to learn while having fun and entry to them is often free. Some will charge for special exhibitions however, so it’s worth checking beforehand at 24hourmuseum.org.uk, where you can book in advance and get a discounted rate.
Used by the holder to buy goods and services, credit cards also have a monthly or annual spending limit, which may be raised or lowered depending on the creditworthiness of the cardholder. But unlike charge cards, borrowers aren’t forced to pay the balance off in full every month and, as long as they make a stated minimum payment, can carry a balance from one month to the next, generating compound interest. As the issuing company is effectively giving you a short-term loan, most credit cards have variable and relatively high interest rates. Allowing the interest to compound for too long may result in dire financial straits.