Introducing your family to new experiences in the holidays can be difficult when you feel like your finances are already stretched. Putting together a saving pot in advance can help relieve some of the pressure that builds up around the holidays. Whether it’s a staycation or hiking a nearby trail, give yourself something stress-free to look forward to.
Saving up may seem like an easy concept, but where should you start?
Here are six easy steps to start your journey to a worry-free family holiday!
1. Write a list of holiday necessities
Sit down and write a rudimentary list of holiday necessities. You need to put down everything you might need, from travel money, insurance, flights, car hire, to entertainment, food and drink. At this point, you may even decide that in the current climate, a staycation would be best. You can still consider transportation costs, but air travel might be overkill if you’re planning a week in the Yorkshire Dales!
2. Be realistic about your budget
Going abroad might not be realistic for your budget. That’s why it’s important to make a list of your basics, so they can be whittled down as you work on understanding what is or isn’t possible. If you have more than a few mouths to feed, budget up, not down. It’s always better to be over-prepared than under-prepared. There are guides from sites such as Lonely Planet that can give you a realistic idea of how to prepare. Once you’ve added the costs together – you’ll have the basis of a budget to work towards.
3. Review your household bills
Now you have a budget, how much money can you realistically save? Today, it might not be worth switching energy suppliers like we have in the past to save money, so looking for benefits you’re not taking advantage of would be much more helpful. Review your household bills by collating them all in one place on paper or a spreadsheet. Google Sheets is a free resource that you can either use or sample as a template to use for your bills.
4. Putting away your money
Since you pay your bills regularly, treat saving up the same way. Put away what you can manage, and don’t try and nix too many treats. Like dieting, it’s far more likely to work if you’re honest about your limits. Try saving small amounts of money regularly, and if you can’t save the same amount each month, set a lower limit that you won’t allow yourself to drop below. This kind of regularity is much more likely to yield positively.
5. Streamlining your spending to help you save
Once you’ve reviewed your household bills, streamlining and managing your spending can help you free up some of your finances. Let’s say you decide to put £3 in a jar every week. At 52 weeks, you’ll have saved more than £1000 in a year. That’s the cost of your average microwave dinner saved per week.
Make saving something you can look at on a regular basis with pride. You’re much more likely to keep to your budgeting goals if you involve friends and have regular check-ins. Name your budget and place it in a communal space, where you can see your progress in action. Don’t be tempted to leave the money in a general account either. Open a savings account that can build interest and set up a standing order or direct debit to the account for your budgeted amount. That way, there are even fewer things to worry about.
6. Expect the unexpected
Three-quarters of people experience some sort of mishap they couldn’t possibly predict. From a broken washing machine to an increase in energy bills, you need to be prepared. You can help cover some of the unexpected by doing the same as you would with your household bills. Review or audit them. Ask yourself how your kitchen appliances are faring? Has the oven been a little less reliable in recent weeks? Can you reduce a future cost by getting a service or investing in insurance?
In addition to a savings pot – you should always have an emergency fund. Put away an amount of money in a separate pot, that’s specifically for emergencies of this nature.
And don’t forget what you’re aiming for too. Having a break should be just that, a break. By preparing in advance, you can give yourself a much-needed reset for the time ahead.