How can I afford a holiday?

Can't afford to go on holiday this year? Follow our saving tips and you may be surprised.

passport and money

Saving a little can go a long way

Open a savings account

Start saving, or if you want ready access to the money, open a simple bank/ building society account, into which you put money just for your holiday. However, only do the latter if you can trust yourself not to dip into it when you fancy a treat.

Work out the minimum you would need for your holiday and how much luxury extras would cost (Don’t forget travel insurance, getting to and from airports, things you need before you go, accommodation, transport, food, drink and spending money).

Spend less

Work out a budget to see how much you can comfortably afford to put aside from your pay each week/ month, and then give it a go. If the amount is tiny, think whether there is a way to cut down your current outgoings so that you can increase the payments into your holiday fund.

One you’ve worked out your budget stick to it. Take seven days’ worth of money out as cash at the beginning of the week. Then stick to your budget, and don’t write any extra cheques or go to the cash point. Never, ever go shopping if you are hungry, drunk, or stoned. You will buy piles of junk that you don’t need, and forget the stuff you do need. So you’ll have to go shopping twice.

Earn more

Work a couple of extra shifts or get a part-time job and put that money entirely into your savings account. Don’t exhaust yourself though, otherwise the whole holiday will be spent recovering rather than enjoying yourself. Try to go for a job that allows you freebies or discounts either for going out or for luxuries like music and clothes.

Here are some other ideas to earn more and spend less:

  • Have a clear out and sell all your ‘junk’ at a car boot or garage sale;
  • Take your own lunch and snacks to college or work rather than shelling out each day;
  • Get free haircuts from trainees. Ask around for where to go;
  • Get free condoms from your nearest sexual health clinic or GP;
  • Walk everywhere (saves cash and gets you fit);
  • Don’t use cash machines that charge you;
  • Use a mate’s washing machine rather than the launderette;
  • Use a clothes horse and radiators rather than a tumble dryer;
  • Don’t take your credit card or debit card to the pub;
  • Quit smoking, or switch to rolling tobacco.

Have one good night out a week rather than lots of OK ones, or don’t drink alcohol and/or eat out every time you go out. This will save you a fortune if you can keep it up. If not, learn to blag. For longer trips (three months to a year) consider applying to trusts and organising some fundraising events.

Next Steps

  • Moving out for the first time? Get the real Home Truths.
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.

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Updated on 29-Sep-2015