18 Essential Ways For Saving Money On Your Next Family Day Out

It is that time of the year when the kids are complaining that they are bored and are wanting a family day out. You would love a day out with the kids, but you don’t want it to break the bank either. 

Reduce The Car Snacks Spend

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One area where it’s easy to spend money is on all the snacks that the kids want before you even get to your day out.  I will usually do some baking and make something to take such as some flapjacks and will always avoid chocolate because it will melt in the car and make a mess.  Another thing I take with me is some small Tupperware and then fill it with some sweets. These little tubs are small so one bag of sweets will be enough for 2 kids for going there and coming back.  They don’t realise their portion has been reduced and it has saved me at least 1 more bag of sweets. 

Spend Less On The Snacks

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This leads to number 2 which is instead of buying the snacks from the motorway shop to instead get them from a discount shop before your day out. This will reduce the price in half, and you can always buy a few bags and save them for another day out and have a day out stockpile of supplies.

Take A Picnic & Eat In The Gardens

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You have now done your snacks for less and then next thing to think about is the food you plan to eat whilst you are there. One of my favourite days out is Burton Agnes Hall and is a beautiful stately home in the North of England. It costs about £36/$45 to visit and this includes both the gardens and the stately home itself.  But if I eat at the café here, that will double my daily spend and will go from a cheap day out to an expensive day out. What I will do instead is make a picnic the night before and have a picnic on the lawn in front of the house. Its such a pretty location and it feels like a waste in comparison to visit the café. 

Almost Take A Picnic With You

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Or maybe you are not a picnic making person, you can meet in the middle and then it can be less overwhelming for you.  Instead of thinking about having a pretty picnic rug filled with treats just take the sandwiches and crisps (potato chips) and then top up with some rocky road from the café.  This puts less pressure on you, and you can enjoy a bit of both.   Or if it is a theme park and they have nice French fries instead you can take a sandwich and then top up with fries. 

Don’t Forget Your Water Bottles

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Another big spend in the food and drink is the drinks. What the hubby and I will do is fill up water bottles the night before, freeze them and then they go into the travel bag in the morning and will stay chilled until the afternoon. We also recommend this travel bag because it has a cold compartment that will keep your drinks and food cold all day plus plenty of room for your other essentials. 

Buy Your Kids Essentials Before You Go

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There is nothing worse than arriving at the beach and the kids then want to buy a bucket and spade, then they want floatables and then they see something else that they want. We have a special box we keep in our garage with all our days out supplies. We then make it their responsibility to head to the garage and choose what they want for that day. 

The Dreaded Gift Shops

Beautiful Gift boxes
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I am sure my kids are more excited over the gift shops than they are about the day out itself. Another opportunity for them to buy something they don’t need at an inflated price that will soon be forgotten about.  I recommend sticking to a low budget or pointing out that instead they can have something better, from a bargain shop on the way home.  Though with our kids we stick to a budget, and they usually collect a magnet or a keyring and then it can eventually go in their memory box. 

Free Day Out In The City

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I love how many different things there are to do for free in your local city. York is our local city, and we have many days out just for the cost of fuel and parking. We have visited beautiful parks, walked around the outside of castles, and even checked out movie locations.  If you live near a city that is popular among tourists there is likely to be even more things, you can do for free. 

Keep An Eye Out For Festivals

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Another free city option is to keep an eye out for festivals. Just by chance when we visited Edinburgh last summer, they had a brilliant summer festival on, and we could watch the street performers from around the world. There were magic shows, comedians, singers and so much more and we realised we could have a few days in Edinburgh and hardly spend any money.  

Get A City Pass & Plan Wisely

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We did the York City Pass a few weeks ago and our goal was to save money on our days out in York. We spent 3 days taking in as many attractions as possible in those days and also focused on the more expensive options.  We did a city cruise, went to several museums, visited all of Yorks major attractions and then finished the 3 day pass with a trip to a stately home.  By planning our York pass wisely, we had saved more than 30% off what these attractions would have cost us if we had bought them individually. I have researched the city pass and noticed there are options for York, New York, London, Lisbon, and I am sure other cities have a similar system in place. 

Visit Your Local Forest 

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We have beautiful national forests that are less than an hour away from where we live. They are beautiful and you just pay for parking which helps with the upkeep of the forest.  Then you can enjoy the forest and the playgrounds.  Usually, we will take our bikes with us and do one of the many bike trails. Or we take our dog and go on one of the long walks.  

Have A Day At The Beach

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Another fun cheap day out is a trip to the beach. Of course, a plus if the sun is shining when you visit. Rather than doing it 100% free we have a small budget instead with money for a doughnut each a little money for the kids to spend in the arcade.  We then pair this small spend with a beach picnic and bringing our own beach supplies and we get a great day out for a small spend. 

Visit A Stately Home Or National Trust Castle

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We often have a visit to a stately home, or a castle and we find its much cheaper compared to visiting a theme park or a water park.  You usually have huge grounds to explore, a stately home to walk around and learn the history of the place you are visiting, and kids will always be impressed by the playgrounds. 

Look Out For 2 For 1 Tickets

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I always aim to fit in at least one trip to a theme park each year with the kids. They are more expensive than stately homes, forests, or the beach, but if you shop around you can get a good price.  I notice that in newspapers and magazines they will have a special price where you can get 2 tickets for the price of 1 and this can bring the price right down or a service like Groupon can have plenty of vouchers for you to try too. 

Visit Expensive Places Off Season

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I love a visit to Flamingo Land and other great theme parks, but they are very expensive in the summer months. Instead, we go in the winter months on a nicer day and there is not as much open but still enough to keep us very busy from when they open to when they close.  Plus, for the winter opening special the tickets are much cheaper compared to high season. 

Be The Last Visitors To An Attraction

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I do this to save money, but also to save time, because seriously who likes to queue?  By entering an attraction in the last 90-120 minutes they will charge you a lot less to visit and there are no queues. One of the popular attractions in York has a queue all the way down the street and only needs an hour of your time. By going late as the last visitors for the day you get a better price and better service.

Facebook Groups Are Your BFF

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If you are looking for things to do in your local area, then do check out Facebook and join some local groups. This has helped me to discover many places that I have not heard of before and that have helped me think outside of the box.  Also, many local businesses will post to Facebook their own special offers as well as free things that are on. 

Compare Prices For The Cheapest Day Out

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What we will often do is have a small list of places that we want to visit for a day out, and then check online the prices the day before, then go with what will be the cheapest. I recommend having a bucket list (we use Google Docs for our ideas) and then when you see somewhere recommended that you want to visit, you can then plan around this list for what is the best price. Or we will rotate between 2 free days out, then one paid to really save money on our days out. 

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