There are no two ways about it. For most of us sun-loving, vitamin D-deprived Brits, summer is hands down the greatest of all the seasons. As the fine weather arrives and begins to bathe our fair nation of islands, opportunities for activities out in the open become much more achievable, adding to the huge wealth of experiences on offer in the UK all year round.
Lush green landscapes are transformed as if by magic into temporary villages of culture as some of the world's best music and arts festivals take shape. The grassroots venues, bars, clubs and pubs in our towns and cities turn their outdoor spaces into places to hang and socialise underneath the warm rays of the summer sun, and the beach resorts of Europe tempt us into travelling to party upon their hardened boats and beautiful beaches.
Image credit: Boardmasters Festival / Facebook.com
It's unquestionably a time of much excitement. A time when many plans between friends are forged and ultimately lifelong memories made. But without the correct budgeting know-how and general financial savviness, you could be left back at home, painfully observing said friends living it up through the lens of their smartphones.
To avoid a season of misery and to ensure you have sufficient funds to see through your summer ambitions, we've put together a brief budgeting guide stocked with tips and advice to help you reduce your monthly outgoings and save for those upcoming adventures. You'll also find recommendations on how to make more cash to put towards your summer fund as well as some pretty important do's and don'ts, with particular regard to borrowing money.
Keep reading to learn more...
Examine, scrutinise and budget your finances accordingly
First things first. Before we share the contents of our box of money-saving tips and tricks, it's always a good idea to take a good hard look at your current incoming and outgoings, and conduct a review. We've all signed up for that Amazon Prime account at least once, to get that super speedy delivery we hardly ever use, and there's probably one, maybe even two streaming platforms you're paying for presently that, if you're really honest with yourself, aren't getting that much viewing time. Cancel the subscriptions you don't need or use and save upwards of £70 per year.
It's also worth looking at the money you're spending on things such as utility bills, especially given the ongoing cost of living crisis. There may be better deals out there from energy suppliers than the one you're currently with, if you live independently, or better phone contracts and sim deals to help bring down costs further.
Shelling out for takeaways, spending large amounts of money on clothes and sneakers, and buying big brand groceries - all these things can be curbed to help create savings. Researching prices and gaining an understanding of how much money exactly is expected to leave your bank account each and every month is the best way to budget for big days out without hampering your lifestyle too greatly.
Grocery shopping tips and hacks
We love spending money on groceries. It's a fact. It's said that the average UK household blows a sixth of their annual budget on food and non-alcoholic drinks, and that's before we take into account eating out and ordering fast food. So it makes sense then that we should do our research to find out who's got the best deals, to keep those costs low.
When actually in a store shopping, it's vitally important to control those impulses. Steer clear of those little shelves near the tills filled with treats and 'discounted' specials. Instead, look for the unbranded alternatives, usually situated on the lower shelves, and save a fortune by picking up value or a supermarket's own brand of the same product.
Another fact - Eye-level products are usually the most expensive and profitable ones for supermarkets. Look around and you're guaranteed to find a better price for a similar commodity.
Have you ever considered ordering your grocery shopping online? Many UK supermarkets offer introductory discounts to entice customers to use their services. Sainsbury's, for example, are currently £15 off the cost of your first online shop, when you spend over £60. That's another £15 in the kitty.
Use apps that offer cashback and rewards
Image credit: Quidco / Facebook.com
Ah, the wonderful age of modern technology. Where we would be without smartphones and apps? Probably a little worse off financially, truth be told.
There are hundreds of brilliant apps out there for both Android and iOS users, to assist in making your money go further. From cash back apps the likes of TopCashback, Quidco and Airtime Rewards, to loyalty apps such as Nectar, which allows you to gather points to use on products with partnered brands such as Argos, British Airways and Expedia, to name a few.
Don't just spend willy-nilly, spend wisely. It takes no time at all to sign up for such apps and, depending on the frequency of how often you do spend, the benefits of using them can be great.
Think twice about borrowing money
Take note of this very important piece of advice. Do not live beyond your means. In other less cryptic words, don't spend more than you can afford.
Remember what we talked about at the start of this guide? About budgeting? Examining, reviewing and allocating your money is by far the best way to save for your summer of experiences without getting into trouble. Using credit cards and acquiring loans can seem like a good idea at the time, but miss one or several scheduled return payments and you'll quickly find yourself in debt to an unforgiving bank or lender. Typical interest rates on a UK credit card are around 25% APR, meaning you'll pay back a quarter of what you borrow over a year.
However, credit cards shouldn't be shunned altogether. There are some upsides. Many UK banks offer first-time customers the chance to take advantage of interest-free periods. Take M&S Bank for example. Their current promotion offers customers 24 months of interest-free purchases when signing up for their "shopping Plus' credit card. If you're lucky enough to earn an income large enough to support paying back what you borrow and you're clever about using an interest-free period, credit cards can be advantageous in helping you spread the cost of a festival ticket or plane flight abroad.
Use payment plans to pay for events
Image credit: Hide&Seek Festival / Facebook.com
Tickets for your most desired summer festival of 2022 have just gone on sale. You're not quite comfortable signing up for a credit card and you're a little strapped for cash. What do you do?
Thankfully, the organisers behind many large-scale open-air music events have recognised the current economic woes faced by the public and moved to introduce payment plans to help event-goers spread the cost of their tickets.
Audio Farm Festival, Hide&Seek Festival, Boundary Brighton, The Weekender and Moovin Festival are just some of the events offering payment plan options on Skiddle. Find even more Payment Plan Festivals by visiting our Inspire Me page, and lighten the burden of forking out the full ticket price all at once.
Get on the hunt for free attractions and events
In between your bougie overseas holidays and summertime music festival escapades, you'll need to find things to do on the cheap whilst you save for the next big outing. You don't necessarily have to spend a fortune to have a good time, contrary to popular belief. No matter whereabouts you're situated in the UK, we're pretty certain you'll find some corking days out.
In London, there's The TATE Modern, The British Museum and the Natural History Museum. In Manchester, there's the Science and Industry Museum, the National Football Museum and the Manchester Art Gallery. In Birmingham, the Ikon Gallery, Birmingham Open Media and so on.
And we haven't even covered the many stunning National Parks Britain is world-renowned for, or the thousands of castles, parks and ruins! An abundance of great places that are begging to be explored.
Aside from budgeting, there's also money to be made...
Current account switching incentives
Banks are always trying to get you to switch your existing current account over to one of theirs and to entice you into doing so, they'll happily credit you with some wonga to sweeten the deal. Some of the banks and building societies currently offering such incentives include Nationwide, First Direct and HSBC, all of whom are willing to pay out more than £100 just for you to switch over. Easy money.
The Current Account Switch Service takes care of redirecting all of the payments from your old account, so the process couldn't be simpler. Make sure to read the terms and conditions of the switch set out by each individual bank with incentives to avoid getting stung or missing out.
Conduct an audit of your wardrobe
With apps like Vinted, Depop and good old eBay knocking about, it's pretty easy to cash in on those unworn, forgotten-about items of clothing, thrown to the back of your wardrobe, unloved and out of favour. What's the point in hoarding such garments? Declutter your storage space, your mind and your soul, make way for some new pieces later down the line, and get paid in the process.
Vintage items, luxury sneakers and couture pieces can go for large sums, so if you own a top-end pair of New Balance or a designer handbag and they're currently sat somewhere gathering dust, get them sold online and use the money to get yourself to a festival, a gig or one of the many other events listed on Skiddle (Check out our 'Things To Do' page if you're in need of some inspiration).
Consider taking on extra work
Whether you're a student looking to top up your student loan, a full-time worker bee eager to acquire more cash or someone who's self-employed searching for another side hustle to help pay for adventures and days out - there are heaps of opportunities and job vacancies to be found. In fact, it's recently been reported that for the first time since records began, there are more jobs on the market than there are unemployed people to fill positions.
From dog walking and delivery roles - think Deliveroo, Just Eat and Amazon - to tutoring, festival work and freelance roles, should you have the skills in Marketing, writing, photography and/or videography, there's a job out there to suit your abilities to help bring in those extra summer pennies.
We sincerely hope that this guide goes some way in helping you to attain all of your summer goals in 2022, and that it enables you to better manage and budget for many sunny seasons to come.
If you're already one step ahead of us and you've got some summer savings already squirrelled away, we recommend heading over to our Skiddle Your Summer Inspire Me page to discover a range of excellent parties and events with tickets now on sale.
Check out our What's On Guide to discover even more rowdy raves and sweaty gigs taking place over the coming weeks and months. For festivals, lifestyle events and more, head on over to our Things To Do page or be inspired by the event selections on our Inspire Me page.