A Mothers Ramblings: Family Fun Days Out on a Budget

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Family Fun Days Out on a Budget

The other Sunday I was talking about Family Fun on a Budget and I was talking about things that we do as a family on the cheap to make everyday a fun day. It got me thinking though because even when we go out as a family I still try and make it as cheap as possible and today I thought I would share some of my secrets with you.

Most of our days out involve us going somewhere in our car. I love our car, we have a Citroen Xsara Picasso and I have to say that I think it is fab as a family car (although my next car will without a doubt be a Toyota Prius) because of the great storage it offers. When we go on a long journey we always check the tyre pressure, the water and oil levels and make sure that we have petrol. We empty the car of anything that we won't need and normally give it a quick wash and use the Dyson on the inside. As I am sure you know these simple steps help improve the fuel efficiency and also means that the mouldy pears are taken care of!

The great storage in our car means that we have space (in the floor) to store snacks and drinks for the journeys we make. I put family and car friendly snacks such as cartoons of juice and crisps and raisins (and the odd biscuit) into the car before we set off, so that if we need to snack whilst we are on the move we don't need to stop at the services that we past. I also keep mints in the front of the car for Daddy and I

If we are going out for the entire day, I make sure that we take snacks, drinks and if possible Lunch and a light Supper. I am always shocked, although I don't know why, at the price of drinks and snacks at theme parks or anywhere that isn't my local shop. I have a large cool bag, which will hold enough sandwiches, fruit, yogurts (I freeze tube yogurts and use them as cool packs) drinks, biscuits, crisps and cakes for the four of us more than twice over. The pack can stay in the car if we are at an attraction that lets us return to our car during the day, and if not it can either go on/in the buggy or we adults take turns in carrying it.

I love the Internet (as you probably already know) and as such will search for vouchers for days out, two for one, half price days or anything else that will save me on admission price. You can also use your Tesco Clubcard points to convert to tickets for certain theme parks and days out, so this is like free days out! I am signed up with local tourist boards to get emails about upcoming attractions so that if there is a discount for booking early I can take advantage of this. I couldn't even make a guess at how much this has saved me in the past, but I am sure that it is worth the time and effort.

Daddy always scopes out parking for where we are going, and checks that it isn't cheaper to park in a local NCP car park rather than the car park at the event we are going to. His favourite was when we went to the O2, parking at a local NCP car park cost £10 and then there was a further £5 fee for our trip on the Docklands Light Railway to the O2 arena but parking at the O2 would of cost £20. I know its only a saving of £5 but that £5 brought us our programme for the evening and meant that we spent some more time together having an adventure!

So these are my top tips, but what are your top tips? Where else can I save money?