WE all know that days out can be expensive things. Factor in ticket prices, lunch, ice cream, drinks and the odd souvenir (not to mention petrol or public transport) and a family of five could easily spend a £100. And that does not make for a cost effective holiday!
Here's a few tried-and-tested methods we've found that have really helped us save money.
Days out deals: Use your Tesco clubcard to save up vouchers and swop for days out deals. With every £2.50 turned into £10's worth of tokens, the savings quickly add up. Last year we used deals token to enjoy free days out in places including the Lake District's The World of Beatrix Potter, Muncaster Castle and London Zoo. You can get tokens for restaurants, towards holidays and other things too.
Tried and tested: We counted and these three days out alone saved us £114 as a family of five with one under-five who went free.
Check online: Before you go to the attraction, check online to see if they have any deals. Legoland, for example, allows you to save 10% on 1-day tickets if purchased online in advance or you could get a free return between certain dates. Also check out enjoyengland.com for money saving deals for various attractions.
Tried and tested: Not yet, but we will!
Coupons on packets/newspapers: Ever noticed the deals on cereal packets or other products? Loo roll Charmin currently have a 'kids go free' promotion with different activities and you'll regularly find deals on other packets or in newspapers with '2-4-1' or 'kids go free' offers. Green's Cakes currently have a promo for 'kids go free' to Legoland, Chessington World of Adventures, Warwick Castle and Sea Life Centres. Ask friends and family to donate tokens.
Tried and tested: We saved £54 with a 'kids go free' Legoland promo cut from a cereal packet.
Earlybird deals: Cinemas are prohibitively expensive for families. Go in the morning, however, and there are often cheap deals on tickets for family films. Check your local cinema to see what is on. Our local Vue cinema does a £1.70 Saturday or Sunday morning show with one adult free per child.
Tried and tested: Normally tickets would be £9.70 adults/ £6.30 per child or £25.20 for a family of four. Saving = £21.80!
Look for freebies: If you're heading out on a city visit, you're in luck because many galleries and museums are free to get in to. We could spend an entire day in London's Natural History Museum or the Science Museum.
Tried and tested: Free!
Be cheeky: Age ranges differ widely from venue to venue. We asked one well known zoo if they would believe our four year old was three so she could go in for free and they agreed, saving us £15. Don't ask, don't get is the saying! Smiles, pleases and a little cheeky plead never go amiss.
Tried and tested: £15 saved!
Bring your own: Drinks and lunches out are expensive and queues a pain but a picnic is always more fun and you can bring exactly what you want. (You already do this, right?) I recommend investing in a smart picnic bag, flasks and several plastic containers for all your yummies which can be used time and again.
Tried and tested: Our picnic bag was a freebie promo from M&S. Picnic foods and drinks £10-20, saving approx £10-20 on lunch out.
Got any tried-and-tested top tips for saving cash on a day trip? Tell us your best money saving tip in the comments! [Camilla]