What do you need to save for this summer?

The summer months can be a fun time for adults and kids alike, but you can find yourself spending more money than you would normally do. Here’s a quick guide to the things you may want to save towards and other easy cash saving options.

Childcare

There are about 6-8 weeks of childcare to think about so the costs can add up. If you’re having to take time off work, see if you can alternate this with relatives or a partner who is willing to share childcare and check when they are off. Alternatively if any friends don’t mind looking after your little ones then you may be able to reduce childcare costs in exchange for looking after theirs.

With this comes bigger food and utility bills as well – especially water and electricity. From a food perspective, taking advantage of multibuy options may be an advantage. Just make sure any costs per unit or gram, saves you money. Weather permitting taking the kids and everyone else to the park will keep them off the Playstation – and keep the electric bills down too.

Water

If the kids are at home during the holidays then you’ll be doing more during the day. That includes using water. It might sound a little ridiculous at first but think about how much water you might use while you’re at home.

Think about drinking, bathroom visits, gardening, water fights, washing the car etc. It can all add up. If an average flush is around eight litres, 10 of those in a day will use 80 litres which is two showers! So think about what you could cut back on, such as washing the car perhaps, and how you could collect water in the garden to use for other things like cleaning the windows.

Holiday cash

If you’re going abroad don’t change your cash at the airport as the rate is likely to be less favourable because you’re a captive customer. Unless you’re confident, and savvy enough, to exchange cash in a foreign country, we’d recommend doing it well before you fly out. Compare a range of supplier exchange rates and the commission deals for a while before you buy – and buy in one lump sum so you avoid multiple commission charges.

These days taking cash out of an ATM when you’re abroad can also be a cost effective option as there are tailor made accounts and cards created just for this purpose – many offer commission free purchases. Try the Post Office and the Nationwide who typically start to promote deals around now.

Forget the beach body

Can I cancel my gym membership? If you’re not going to be using it over the summer months then it may be worth pausing your contract with them. Depending on your membership, and if you know you won’t be making it to the gym during the summer, see if you can put it on hold.

Whilst most gyms make it virtually impossible to quit without incurring some form of penalty, putting it on hold may be an option. If you’re at the stage of your gym contract where you only need to give your notice to quit then it may be worth considering.

Suncream

Whilst the UK isn’t renowned for being warm, make sure you’re prepared for when it is. Any multibuy or own brand options that provide value are always worth getting and you may be able to trade reward points for part or all of the cost. At some point you’ll be enjoying the sun in all it’s glory, so make sure you’re ready.

Wedding season

In the summer months the number of weddings peak and we all get loved up. Do you have a wedding coming up that you’ll need to save for? Think about the cost of going on the hen or stag night, buying drinks, presents, travel and outfits.

If you haven’t got any wedding attire then it may be time to start asking friends who can lend you something to wear or carry (don’t forget the handbag), checking out dress hire options or hosting a clothes swapping party. You could really have some fun with this and turn it in to a great night in. It may also be worth taking a trip to the local charity or discount clothing store to get suited up or kitted out. Drinks-wise wedding venues can be expensive. So either switch to soft drinks or take advantage of the free bar while it lasts.

How much do I spend on a wedding present? Any gifts or presents we’ll leave at your discretion to decide how much you want to contribute. This all depends on how much you like your hosts. If appropriate, why not approach other guests to see if they would like to share the cost of a gift or why not get creative and hand-craft something they’ll remember. It’s the thought that counts.

Insect repellent for the home

The change in weather can have an effect on nature in and around the home. One such instance is the appearance of ants around the house. If you’re a tenant then this should be dealt with by your landlord. If you’re a homeowner then a cheap-ish way of getting rid of ants with little fuss is to use ant bait. Ant Stop Bait Station costs around £4.50 and can be used in and outside of the home. You can find it in most major retailers including Homebase. Getting a pest control expert to do the work could cost considerably more – so it’s worth a shot.

Join the library

If you’ve not already done it then getting the kids to join the local library is a great and easy way of keeping them entertained over the summer months. Providing you’re not racking up late fees on books or DVDs, this is a virtually cost free way of stimulating their brains and getting them in to a good habit of learning and reading.

School uniforms

If you’ve got kids who will be at school in September then you may need to start saving money for uniforms. Having to buy multiple items in one go soon stacks up … a shirt for every day, a jumper, trousers…and so it goes on.

The Citizens Advice ‘great BIG school uniform survey’ in 2013 showed that around 65% of parents were paying over £70 for new clothes per child. This can be a nightmare, especially if the school in question has a policy of issuing a detention for wearing the wrong uniform.

If you’re required to buy uniforms from specific retailers, where there is little option to shop for a cheaper price, you can end up paying a lot more than the regular uniform cost. Whilst it may be anti-competitive there’s not much you can do.

As August / September approaches many retailers will start to promote offers and discounts, making it an ideal time to buy whilst they compete for your trade. Keep your eyes out for the bargains.

Schools themselves tend to have uniforms available that have been donated by pupils because the items no longer fit and there’s often nothing wrong with them. Why not help recycle and at the same time give a contribution back to the school funds? Alternatively you could try friends or relatives whose children have attended the relevant schools.

You could try local charity shops in the catchment area. Whilst buying trousers, shirts and skirts may not be an option, blazers and jackets may be available for a fraction of the RRP. Summer school fairs and websites like Gumtree may also be a great source for reduced price uniforms as well.

Think about it like this. Anyone who is paid monthly only has three pay packets until the beginning of September. If you’re paid every two weeks then you have five or six occasions from which to save. Our advice is to get saving now.