Ways to save money whilst doing more!
Life can sometimes feel like being on a treadmill. Pressures of work, family and running a home may feel overwhelming. A never-ending list of “things to do,” and seemingly very little time to do things we enjoy, can lead to weeks of “existing.”
Perhaps better utilising your time and getting out more, is one of your priorities for the year ahead. Maybe you want to “do” and “experience” more. If it’s the cost that’s putting you off, read on! To follow are some ways to save money. Check out our selection of budget-friendly ideas and suggestions. Wherever you live, hopefully, there will be something appropriate or useful to you.
The Big Screen experience
The cinema. Who doesn’t love watching a movie on the big screen? No distractions, interruptions, multitasking or someone “turning over.” It doesn’t have cost the earth, I’m always astounded when couples pay out £30 for tickets and a small “conservative” snack. Use comparethemarket.com to buy insurance. We got a one day UK travel insurance for under £2. This entitles us to a weekly “meercat code” offering two tickets for the price of one, at most cinemas, on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. Pick up your snacks at the supermarket and save a fortune!
Film, theatre, shows, sporty stuff and more
Getting out to watch something “live” is a great way to spend your time. It’s easy to feel as though your week is dominated by work, household chores and lists of things to do. Add in other responsibilities, demands and expectations and perhaps there’s not much time left for a night off. Going to the theatre to see a play or musical, watching a sporting or “live” event is a great way to relax and break the treadmill cycle.
This can be expensive but if you are open-minded and welcome a bit of spontaneity there are ways to save money. Definitely, sign up to “showfilmfirst.” This is a brilliant way to see stuff, for free or a small booking fee, depending on the event. Basically, you sign up, ticking your interests. If an event, in your area, has surplus tickets, they offer them to you, usually the day before the performance. This is a win, win situation. You get to go to the event, the venue is “filled” and the “performers” get an audience. What’s not to love? There well may be local amateur dramatic clubs, orchestras and sporting teams “performing” in your area. Support local talent too!
Magazines can be a great source of entertainment, information and an opportunity to take some time out from “real life.” In addition, you may well find inspiration about something that interests you, discover something new, or get back in touch with an old “hobby.” Reading a magazine can provide a quick “escape” during a lunch break, a “treat” or a bit of “me time.” Also, great during a commute to work! Instead of being bamboozled by messages and social media, take some well earned quiet time for you. The downside is, magazines can be really expensive…
We love “readly” a fantastic monthly subscription which provides access to a whole host of different online magazines and back issues. At around £8 a month for 5 devices, what a bargain! We split the cost with friends and pay for just 1 device. That works out at £1.60 a month for over 2, 500 unlimited magazines and 64,000 back issues! There is definitely something for everyone. From travel, lifestyle, health, education, puzzles, cookery, t.v guides to a myriad of specialist hobbies. Look out for a free or reduced rate trial, what will you discover? Get clever at getting more for less!
Do you want to learn more this year?
Lots of people would like to learn something outside their considered realm of expertise. Check out your local university website. Often free “lectures” are advertised. Go and listen to someone talk passionately about something you know nothing about! Enrol upon a course, try a taster day or perhaps commit to sharing your knowledge or skill with someone else. “The restart project” is a great initiative, where you can take along something “electronic” and a volunteer will help you fix it! Download the “Insight timer app” if you plan on learning to meditate and what about the radio? Lots of material on “iplayer” can be downloaded and listened to offline. Listen to talks and discussions, hear world-class concerts or how about an afternoon play? All this is available in the comfort of your home and all for free…
What is going on near you?
Take advantage of all the wonderful events in your local area. You’d be surprised how much is on offer for free, or at a minimal cost. Visit the tourist information, library, post office or any “venue” and pick up some leaflets. Check out your local paper or supermarket notice boards for ideas. Is there a local choir, walking group, book club or class you might enjoy? Want to improve your health? Try a fee “Park run” (it’s ok to walk!) Check out the “parkrun” website to see whats happening near you. Local council sports centres may offer £1 swims or other classes.
If you are overweight, with a doctors referral, you may be entitled to a 12-week free gym/weight loss class. Don’t let your time be “used up” by doing things you haven’t actively “chosen” to do… Prioritise the best way to utilise your time in conjunction with ways to save money.
Getting away from it all
Travelzoo is a great resource for taking advantage of the best deals, across the web on a variety of short breaks and holidays. Sign up for their weekly Wednesday round up of the top 20 deals, ways to save money on your holiday will come flooding into your inbox.
A change is as good as a rest. If you fancy a change of scene, house or dog sitting may appeal to you. This means you get to stay in someone else’s house, for free. A quick web search will prove how popular this is with people who want a break from their usual routine and home. A great way to experience a different part of the country, or world, without the cost of accommodation. House Exchanges are also popular. We recently met a couple, from York, who had exchanged homes 55 times… with Hawaii, America and Australia thrown in!! What a fabulous way to see the world… often a “car” can be “borrowed” too.
This year, perhaps you may consider a “volunteering” holiday or break. An alternative option when planning to get away. You could do something new and meet likeminded people whilst supporting a worthwhile project in your own country or abroad. Although volunteering opportunities are not usually “free” this can be an inexpensive way to get away from it all, depending on what you’re interested in doing. Think creatively when considering ways to save money, what can you contribute as well as gain?
Buying an Annual Pass can be a cost-effective way of encouraging you to get out and about and utilise your free time. The National Trust, Theme Park & Zoo passes, gym memberships, RSPB, Art Galleries and Museum subscriptions may appeal to you. Obviously, only sign up if you are going to go. I do recall a £450 swim, following a one time only swim after committing to a “pay up front” gym membership. Purchase a pass to gain something – be it pleasure, a “win” or route to achieving a goal – it’s a commitment so be prepared to commit!
Have you ever been on a walking tour your of your own city? Or a hopped on a hop on, hop off bus? Have you checked out “treasuredays?” Often there is a whole host of stuff going on under our noses… Check out “Groupon” for local deals and maximise your Tesco Club card points on a day out. Check out National days out and discover discounts when travelling by train. In addition, you can often get great deals for the “Merlin Entertainments Group,” (Alton Towers, Lego land and more) on cereal boxes, keep your eye out whilst in the supermarket! September is a great opportunity to take advantage of the ‘heritage open days.’ In March, keep an eye out for National lottery week. Purchase a lottery ticket or scratch card to gain entry into lots of sites that are supported by the national lottery. This year we visited a local RSPB reserve and were so impressed that we decided to join for the year.
A “daycation” is an opportunity to do something different and spend quality time with your friends and family. It doesn’t have to be expensive, do your research! Ways to save money might include opting for heading to the great outdoors, usually free!
Lots of people enjoy eating out, depending on where you go and what you choose, this can be expensive! By subscribing to a particular restaurant you often get a voucher, a “Tastecard” may be a worthwhile investment, also check out Groupon, use Tesco reward points and see what “Martin Lewis” is suggesting. Breakfast is always a good and often much cheaper option. We try to have a big family get together, for breakfast, each month. At £7 a head for a full English with unlimited tea, coffee and toast… what’s not to enjoy!
Although, is there anything more lovely than a picnic or a portion of chips on a promenade? Do you use your outdoor space for eating out? Have you considered hosting a “Come dine with me?” Friends of ours meet with their neighbours each month, each couple brings part of the meal – houses and courses rotate.
So, hopefully, this post has provided you with some inspiration and ways to save money whilst doing more! What will you discover, learn, see and do this year?
Also, please takealookaround our site to discover the different types of posts we write.