With an extra two days off work this weekend, it’s all too easy to overspend. And with the entire nation celebrating not just one day off work but two and the Queen’s diamond jubilee to boot, it’s going to be all-too-easy to get caught up in the holiday atmosphere and forget our financial woes for a while.
But be warned, you do so at your peril.
Bank holidays are notorious for eating up cash. If we’re not jetting off somewhere for a few days extra rest and relaxation, we’re throwing money at expensive DIY projects (which is typically how most poor souls spend their treasured day off work).
Then, if it’s pouring down, you end up spending to ease the boredom and keep the family entertained, and on the rare occasion that the sun actually shines on a bank holiday, then we spend like there’s no tomorrow on food and drink and every bit of BBQ paraphernalia we can get our hands on.
Sun or showers, home or abroad, whatever you get up to, bank holidays cost money and – when your credit card bill lands with a thump on your doormat – can leave you wishing you’d been cooped up in the office instead.
But if you’re going to spend, which you inevitably will do, here’s how to soften the blow and make sure you don’t pay out a penny more of your hard-earned cash than you need to.
If you’re going abroad:
1. Don’t pay too much for your holiday money
Gone are the days when you had to pay whacking great charges for changing your pounds into holiday money.
Commission-free currency exchange is now the name of the game, but rates still vary and even depending on where you are in the UK. So compare rates and shop around.
As a rule, plan ahead and NEVER buy your currency at the airport bureau de change.
Moneysavingexpert.com has a great up-to-date currency checker that shows you the best deals available.
2. Don’t get hammered by excess luggage charges
If you’re flying then beware. Packing too much into your suitcase, or taking too many cases and bags with you can make a serious dent in your holiday spending – before you’ve even taken off. At as much as £100 a suitcase it’s not a mistake you can afford to make.
Check how much luggage you are allowed to take. And make sure you keep within weight limits.
Read more here in 5 cash-grabbing holiday pitfalls to avoid.
3. Don’t go mad at Duty Free
Dashing into the departures lounge and carrying out an all-out raid on the duty free shop is not going to be the wallet-pleaser it once was. Duty Free shopping no longer exists when travelling within the EU.
The truth is that the prices on booze and cigarettes are likely to be cheaper at your destination, and if there’s a particular perfume or aftershave you’re after, you’d be better off doing a quick online search before you go. You will probably find you can get a much better deal online.
If you’re staying at home:
1. Don’t get lumbered with catering for a million-and-one guests
According to research carried out by Santander Insurance, almost six million Brits plan to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee by having a party or celebration in their own home.
If the collective spend on food, drink and fun, does top the expected £424 million mark, a few (million) people are going to have the financial hangover from hell to deal with after the jollities.
If it’s your turn to host a big family or friends get-together, then don’t get saddled with all the expense. Instead, get everyone to chip in and share the load. Divvy it up so that everyone contributes to the food and drink, helps out with the decorations and with providing the activity
And certainly don’t forget to rope them in to help with the tidying up afterwards!
2. Ditch expensive family attractions for freebies
With the extra-long weekend that’s double the potential cost of a regular family weekend out. And that will be even more the case if it’s raining.
But the good news is that, come rain or shine, there are more than enough free jubilee events to keep everyone entertained. So take advantage of everything that’s being laid on and get out there and celebrate without having to shell-out a fortune.
Get started with our 10 ways to celebrate the Jubilee for free.
3. Don’t go too Jubilee mad
It might be a once-in-a-lifetime event and you might very well want to show your patriotism/have fun/go wild, but do tot up the cost of all that jubilee fun.
I mean, Union Jack leggings – seriously, when on earth are you going to wear those again?
And have your wits about you while in the supermarket. You can’t move for bunting and aisles decked out in all their Jubilee regalia, but just remember that inside all those souvenir, special-edition packs and commemorative boxes it’s the same standard product you can get week in, week out.
A special souvenir pack of loo roll anyone? No, I didn’t think so.