We’re just back from our family holiday in the Lake District, staying just outside Windermere. My husband has such fond memories of holidays in the fells as a child, so we were keen to take our own kids. I don’t tend to broadcast when we’re away, due to a “our house is empty, fill your boots!” nervousness, but we really enjoyed exploring such a beautiful area.
I wrote a post about what to pack to cut the cost of a staycation earlier this week, but here’s five frugal things that saved money while we were away.
Stuck with a staycation
Going on holiday in the UK really saves on travel. Forget flight or ferry tickets – we could just load up the car and pay for petrol. No sneaky extra baggage costs, expensive passport renewals, security delays or car hire costs at the other end either. I was even delighted by the English weather. After the recent heat wave in Suffolk, and the 34 degree C start to our journey, I was thrilled to hear the sound of the rain on the roof the first night. We had a mix of sunny and slightly grey days, perfect for getting outside, and the weather didn’t foil any of our plans.
Saved with a supermarket delivery
We usually go on self-catering holidays, which saves massively on food costs compared to eating out for every meal. I planned meals and packed lunches beforehand, and booked a supermarket delivery for the morning after we arrived, so there was no chance of missing the delivery due to traffic delays. Normally I don’t order big deliveries – so I was delighted when a Sainsbury’s voucher for £12 off an £80 spend showed up in my inbox just before the holiday.
We did also put some money back into the local economy too – particular highlights were Cumberland sausages from the Huddleston’s butcher in Windermere, Cartmel sticky toffee pudding bought at the Cartmel show, a picnic from Peggy’s Bakery in Ambleside and lots of English Lake‘s thunder & lightening ice cream at Brockhole.
Treated ourselves to a recipe box
When planning the food, I asked the children what meals they’d like to eat. I was a bit surprised when my eight-year-old asked for “one of those meal boxes”. Ready meals? After all my efforts at home cooking???
Now recipe boxes from companies like Hello Fresh, Gousto* and Abel & Cole , which send measured ingredients for you to cook, can hardly be described as frugal. They may save time, but they don’t save money compared to shopping yourself. But my son really enjoyed having a go at cooking. Seperate bags of ingredients for each meal and step-by-step photos on the recipe cards make it much easier for him to follow.
Next day, I got a “please come back, have 30% off your next 2 boxes” email from Hello Fresh, which did shave some money off the price. So I decided to blow £44.79 of our holiday budget on four meals. We chose the meatballs with cheesy mash, chicken piccata, sweet and sour pork stir fry and chicken biryani. My son enjoyed cooking them all with me and my daughter even ate most of it.
So: nice holiday treat, cheaper than eating out and we did at least save nearly £20 compared to the normal cost of a family box of four meals for four.
If you fancy trying Hello Fresh, use the code MUCHMOREWITHLESS50 here and you’ll get a whopping 50% off your first two boxes.
Only applies for new customers, and do remember to skip weeks or cancel the subscription if you don’t want to receive full price boxes in future!
Cut the cost of a new water bottle
Remember I was raving about a S’ip by S’well water bottle I got for free? My husband liked it so much he wanted one himself, and we thought it would come in handy on the holiday. (I’d have added a pic, but he’s taken it to work with his packed lunch).
Anyway I did a quick search, and spotted a green version with 20% off in a Debenhams flash sale, at £20 rather than £25. I picked up £1 in cashback by clicking through from Quidco* before buying online, and ordered it click and collect from our local branch, to avoid postage costs.
Then when I picked up the parcel, the lady at the click and collect desk gave me a £5 Debenhams voucher, and when I shed the bulky packaging, I discovered a voucher for £5 off a £25 spend inside. So we bought the two pairs of shorts my daughter needed from Debenhams, and used both vouchers to shave a tenner off.
Net result: we cut £16 off the cost of a water bottle and two pairs of shorts which normally cost £52.
Got freebie kids’ glasses from Specsavers
Hardly the highlight of our holiday, but my daughter tripped on a cattle grid, cutting her eyebrow and smashing her glasses frame.
After a diversion to the minor injury unit at the hospital in Kendal, we drove on to Specsavers. We were able to book an eye test for an hour or so later (free on the NHS) and choose two free pairs of glasses (one on the NHS, one thanks to Specsavers) for collection later in the holidays.
So many thanks to everyone at Westmorland General Hospital and Specsavers who looked after us, making me more grateful than ever for the NHS.
As a side note, my husband and son got to hang around watching daytime TV in the waiting room while my daughter’s cut was glued back together. When we got back home, my son arranged soft toys in rows as bidders at an auction, complete with stuffed owl with a gavel – I blame Bargain Hunt.
Now – over to you. Any frugal trips for saving money on holiday? Do share in the comments, I’d love to hear.
In this post, I focused on tips that might apply up and down the country, but if you’re interested in a post more specifically about the Lake District do give me a shout!
*indicates an affiliate link, so anything you buy through it will help support the blog, as I will get a small commission at no cost to you. Many thanks!