Five frugal things on holiday

Picture of the shoreline of Lake Windermere with trees above, for my post on five frugal things for our holiday

Wonders of Lake Windermere

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.

Picture of my two children sitting on a fence in the Lake District during our summer holiday

Actual sun during a staycation

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.


Picture of bench in the garden at Dove Cottage for my post on five frugal things on holiday

Bench = handy for picnics

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.


Picture of pans while prepping Hello Fresh food for my post on five frugal things on holiday

Whipping up meatballs, mash & roasted broccoli

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???

Turned out he loved the Hello Fresh box we won in a competition on Kara’s Your Best Friend’s Guide to Cash blog (previous post here).

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.


Picture of two free pairs of glasses from SpecSavers for my five frugal things post

So now we have a spare pair

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.

Picture of the auction with soft toy bidders for my five frugal things on holiday post

Owl auctioneer in action


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!


I’m linking up with CassEmma and Becky in this week’s ‘Five fabulously frugal things I’ve done this week’ linky.

*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!

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PInterest sized image of Lake Windermere shores and sky for my five frugal things on holiday post

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  1. 17th August 2018 / 5:24 pm

    Lovely! I have family with a static caravan in Ambleside, and we love to go. Beautiful place. Busy though! I totally agree with you about self catering, but will always go to Zeferelli’s veggie restaurant whilst up that way. Glad your daughter is OK and she got her new glasses.

    • 20th August 2018 / 3:21 pm

      Such a beautiful place! We actually went to Zeferellis, but to see a film rather than a meal.

  2. 19th August 2018 / 9:50 am

    Oh i am still envious of your lovely water bottle! #5frugalthings

  3. Ian
    20th August 2018 / 10:29 am

    I have no money saving tips but I had to comment. As soon as I saw that photo I knew where you were, I have a very similar photo from pre kids (at least 9 years ago, probably much longer!), the same rock(s), tree , dappled light everything! Struggling to find it in my own collection now.

    Wonderful place….

    • Faith
      21st August 2018 / 9:18 am

      Delighted the photo sparked memories! Lovely view. Hope you track your picture down.

  4. 20th August 2018 / 3:06 pm

    The Lake District is a favourite location of ours and we get up there most years. We usually stay close to Windermere but last year went to Cartmel but found ourselves driving up to the Windermere/Ambleside district most days – which has made us realise that’s where we need to be! We also like Kewick and Derwentwater. I’m afraid we’re not terribly frugal on holiday as I think of holidays as the ‘prize’ for being a careful shopper and organised cook, so we eat out most days at lunchtime and feast on nice cheeses and other nice nibbles in the evenings. However, it’s very rare that we buy anything in terms of mementos to bring back, and because we love being near the lakes/sea our entertainment tends to be walks around harbours/marinas and we rarely spend much on visiting ‘attractions’.
    My daughter uses Gousto boxes often and is very happy with the quality. She is away from home overnight quite often and finds it hard not to waste food (I’m not sure she ever considers using leftovers to make something for the freezer!)

  5. Kathryn Hipkin
    1st September 2018 / 8:59 pm

    A great post. We holidayed in the UK this year and went to Scotland, to Perth, as we found a travelodge for £160 for 4 nights for the 4 of us so we loaded up the car and off we went. City breaks are easier for us because my autistic son is frightened of dogs, there are WAY too many for him in the Lake District.
    Anyway, Broxden Park was easy to find and park and had a Mc Donalds (free wifi!) and Harvester on the site too. It was also next to a bus station; provided we went into the city centre after 9am it was £1.70 – for the 4 of us!
    We had tried to book as much in advance as we could so used the family railcard for train trips to Inverness and Kyle of Lochalsh and took some food with us tho Perth had plenty of supermarkets and we did eat at Wetherspoons sometimes.
    Wednesday we stayed in Perth and bought Rachel’s new school shoes; the Scottish schools had already gone back so I thought we might get a good deal and/or not have to queue. Wrong on both counts tho I did get a 20% off my next purchase voucher from Clarks.
    Although my 2 are 11 and 14 their favourite thing is still to play in the park. There has been a tendency lately to make parks just for toddlers but we found a lovely one in Perth with plenty for them to climb and play on as well, including zipwire and little ‘trampolines’ fixed into the ground as well as swings, slide, wooden climbing frame, rope bridge etc.
    So that was a nice free afternoon; we had tea at Morrisons with their kids eat free if adult meal over £6.50 – this was declared their favourite day!

    • Faith
      14th September 2018 / 7:35 am

      Wow glad you had such a lovely (and money saving) time in Perth. Can see why your two liked the park and Morrisons cafe combo!

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