10 charming and cheap Valentine’s Day gifts
We all love to love on Valentine’s Day but for those who like to live frugally or are living on a budget it can feel like there’s a lot of pressure to spend money. Before you buy gifts check out our vouchers and shopping pages for some fantastic Valentine’s offers. However if you would prefer to spend less we’ve come up with this list of alternative gifts.
If you’d rather treat your partner but on a budget but avoid a Chandler style panic. We think your other half will love these as much as any expensive gift.
Go to the park
Wrap up warm, pull together a picnic and find a picturesque spot in the park to settle and enjoy a lunch. Bring blankets and hot water bottles to snuggle up closer with. Prepare for rain with an umbrella or choose a location under cover – you can never be too prepared for the British weather.
Make a scrapbook with photos, poems and quotes of your lives together
A gift of memories is fun to look over with each other for years to come. You could even work on the book together, each of you bringing your own side to the stories that fill it.
Feed each other grapes, chocolate, ice cream and other yummy foods
If you’re worried this could end up more Hot Shots than Top Gun don’t – it’s all about the setting. Make sure everyone’s in the mood to eat, light candles and make sure you have the heating on, there’s nothing sexy about woolly socks and extra layers.
Walk along the beach together
Play in the sand, run with the dog, paddle or even collect pebbles and sea glass. The beach is a fun place to be whatever your age.
Declare you love publicly
Do you both enjoy going to the football? Perhaps you could get a message on the jumbo screen? Can you play guitar? Perhaps you could serenade your partner outside their window. Or head to their workplace and announce your love to a canteen filled with people. Films are a great source of inspiration for public declarations.
Make a homemade meal together
Skip the hustle for dinner reservations and spend the night in cooking a delicious meal together. There are plenty of recipes for the can’t cooks and won’t cooks out there. Why not treat your loved one to an intimate meal with candles, wine and your perfect playlist.
Rein-act your partner’s favorite romantic movie scene
This isn’t for the faint hearted but perfect for role play aficionados. If this isn’t your thing you could always hand over control of the remote and put on their favourite movie. Just don’t forget the snacks!
Re-visit your first date
Try to do everything you did the first time you went out, sharing old memories is always romantic. Talk about how you felt about each other, what your expectations were and any funny or special things that happened. Each first date is unique and finding things that are the same or similar will bring back that first spark.
Give a massage
Giving your partner a romantic massage is a great way to show how much they mean to you and how much you care. To give a romantic massage you need to set the scene, with a little preparation you can turn your bedroom into a relaxing paradise.
Write a love letter
Don’t worry that love letters are a thing of the past – they’re not. If you write it effectively you can make them laugh, cry tears of joy and deepen the connection between you to. And if you hate your hand writing, make a video or a photo album with captions.
As you can see there are many ways you can save money and still have a fantastic time this Valentine’s Day. Tell us about your plans or most enchanting but frugal Valentine’s Day dates on our Facebook.
The best day to book a money saving all-inclusive holiday
If you’ve ever tried to grab a reduced bargain at the supermarket or bought anything on an auction site such as eBay, you’ll know that sometimes getting a good deal is all just a matter of timing. For all-inclusive holidays this rule also applies. But it’s not always a matter of how far in advance you book your holiday, but on which day and specifically what time of day you make a booking.
Surely holiday prices are set in stone?
The price of your break abroad isn’t quite as static as you might feel it should be. It can be influenced by the way that tour operators work. Like any business, tour operators are out to make money, with the aim of making sure that there’s a healthy profit in it for them. This means that there’s not a simple all-inclusive pricing formula. This is along the lines of ‘flight cost + hotel cost + food cost + markup = the cost of your all-inclusive break abroad’. In some respects, it would be pretty great if this was the case, but there’s much more going on behind the scenes.
How do holiday companies work out their prices?
Of course, some of this formula applies as tour operators have a bottom line, profit margins to worry about. But how they work out their prices is based more on a supply and demand model. This model has become more intelligent as the years have moved on. Rather than prices changing when a new brochure comes out, with the advent of the internet the cost of a break abroad can practically be updated in real-time. It’s one of the reasons that you find that holidays are sold at such odd prices, ending in what seem like a random number rather than the traditional 99 format.
How do they update their prices so quickly?
The internet! In previous years, a company would have to look at past performance and changes in trends to figure out what sort of demand there would be for their services. Now it’s easy for tour operators to figure out who’s looking into which holidays and adjust their prices accordingly. They simply by looking at what people are looking at on their websites.
Because it takes time for them to put their prices up if demand increase, there’s a sweet spot when an all-inclusive holiday bargain can be scored.
When is the best time to book an all-inclusive holiday?
Tuesday morning at around 10 am.
Why is Tuesday morning the best time to book a holiday?
It’s the day that holiday companies tend to adjust their prices to account for any shifts in demand. They use the data they’ve gained up until Monday night to decide how much to put their prices up by the next day.
There’s no guarantee that this method will result in a massive saving on your break abroad, but it could help to shave off a few pounds from the total cost. There are of course a few other methods that could help you save some cash.
Are there any dates I should book if I want to save money?
Keeping the supply and demand model in mind, it won’t be much of a surprise to learn that holiday prices shoot through the roof during the summer. Particularly during the school summer holidays. If you can book to travel outside of term time you’ll save quite a bit. But if not it’s generally accepted that Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday are cheaper days to travel on. Friday and Sunday cost the most.
To put it another way; simply travelling on a different day of the week could result in a much cheaper break abroad.
Is there anything I can do if I book my holiday online?
You can prevent your browsing habits from potentially influencing the price of your all-inclusive holiday by limiting what tour operators can learn from you when visiting their website:
- Browse incognito. If you browse the internet on Chrome or Firefox you have the ability to open an incognito or private window. Just click the 3 vertical dots in Chrome or the hamburger menu icon in Firefox. This will mean that any logins, information about your location and other bits of information that can be used to identify you won’t be visible when you visit a tour operator’s website.
- Clear your browser history. An alternative method to keeping your identity and browsing habits hidden is to clear your web browser history. But keep in mind that for this to work you would need to do this every time you visit another website.
Do you have any other money-saving holiday tips?
At all-in Travel Club, we frequently share the latest deals on all-inclusive holidays. If you want us to do the hard work for you then sign up for our newsletter and we’ll send you the latest deals straight to your inbox.
Got any other good tips for saving money when buying a holiday online? Let us know!
Is the daily school run putting you out of pocket?
A surprising new study by Motorpoint has revealed that fuel costs can cause financial hardship for almost a fifth of parents.
The survey found that 17% of parents felt the school run was putting real strain on their family’s finances with the additional petrol costing the household over £300 a year alone.
With yearly trips adding up to well over 100 hours each year, of those taking part in the survey, almost 50% admitted they would spend much less time ferrying their kids around if they had the option.
Not only is there a substantial time investment implicated, parents are also clocking up extra thousands of miles per year taking their children from one place to the next.
Most Common Reasons for Taxiing Children:
1. The School Run
2. Extra Curricular Activities and Competitions
3. Doctor / Dental Appointments (etc.)
4. Visits to a Friend’s House
5. Going to a Party
One in three parents cover more than 30 miles every week and almost one in five do at least 40 miles. Annually, these trips can add over 2000 miles, which is very important to consider when budgeting for your monthly fuel or even a new car.
When it comes to both miles covered and time spent in the car, dads lead the way. Of the fathers asked, over a third reportedly drives their children 30 plus miles per week, compared to just one in five mothers. Twice as many dads say they drive their kids further than mums on average, spending over two hours a week chauffeuring them around.
Although the school run, various sporting events and extra-curricular activities can generally feel like shorter journeys, they can easily add up in terms of time and money. But, despite all this, would you really want to give up those treasured moments with your children to save a few pennies?
Ways to cut your motoring costs:
The Independent have some super tips for ways to cut your motoring costs – let us know if you know any more!
1. Cut your annual mileage
Cut down by walking those shorter distances
2. Make your vehicle more fuel efficient
De-clutter, switch off the air conditioning, drive in the correct gear
3. Shop around for fuel
Avoid service stations, and keep an eye out for supermarket deals
4. Stay safe and within the law
Driving carefully and within the law is crucial if you’re keen to keep your motoring costs under control
5. Don’t accept your insurer’s first offer
Before signing your renewal, make sure you shop around
So, you’re buying a new car? What next?
You’ve decided you’re getting a new car. Whether through need, or want, you’ve started the search for the car that’s right for you. Only now do you find out the true extent of the cost.
At first, you may balk at the price of the car nowadays, yet there are ways in which most people can afford to buy a car. Outlined below are some of the main points that should be taken into consideration when planning the purchase.
– Make sure you can afford it! – It’s not only the car you will be buying, you have to remember there will be petrol/diesel to buy (unless it’s electric), insurance to purchase and breakdown/service costs to cover.
– Compare interest rates – make sure you shop around to find the best interest rates available so you end up paying less overall.
– Compare total cost of borrowing – it’s not just interest rates you have to worry about in this case. Administration fees also apply at the start and end of the contract terms.
Ways to pay
It’s time to get down to the nitty gritty and start to lay out all your payment options and assess which one is right for you. There are plenty of different ways to pay for a car, and more often than not, these are negotiable, especially if the car dealer wants the sale!
Personal loans are seemingly available everywhere nowadays. From the AA, to the local bank, the personal loan market can be quite saturated. This loan will allow you to buy the car outright and will leave you with an asset at the end of it. Personal loans are usually the cheapest way to finance a car deal, but only if you have a good credit rating. Make sure to shop around for the lowest APR (Annual Percentage Rate).
• Can cover all, or part of the car’s cost.
• Can be arranged over the internet, phone, or face-to-face.
• Plenty of comparison websites available to contrast each lender’s offering.
• Competitive interest rates if you shop around.
• Most lenders offer instant bank transfers, but some may have small waiting periods, which could be of inconvenience.
• Other borrowing may be affected.
• Applying and getting rejected for loans can reflect negatively on your credit score.
Comparison websites are everywhere, such as moneysupermarket.com or confused.com
Hire purchase (HP)
Hire purchase is where the car is bought on finance over a period of 1-5 years usually (12-60 Months). Usually, with this type of deal, you have to place a deposit down, which is usually around 10% of the final price. These are arranged by the dealers and are mainly used for the purchase of new cars. Until the payments have ended, you will not own the car.
• Flexible payment terms – this mean that you can adjust the number of months in which the Hire Purchase is arranged over. Evidently, the longer the term, the less the payment will be per month and vice versa.
• Easy and quick to arrange – as these are arranged by the dealer themselves
• Competitive interest rate – Some dealers have interest rates even as low at 0%, make sure to look around.
• You will not own the car until the final payment
• The shorter the term, the higher the monthly payments
With a mileage limit, you can pay the dealer a fixed amount per month for the use of the car. This will result in you not owning the car at the end of the term but will result in lower payments per month.
• A lot simpler to work out, with service and breakdowns paid for in the deal
• The car won’t depreciate in value, and you won’t have the worry about trying to find a buyer at the end
• Flexible monthly terms- usually anywhere from 1-3 years
• You, at no stage, own the car
• Extra costs if you exceed the mileage
• Still need to pay a deposit
There are plenty of ways to buy or lease cars nowadays, and it can be tricky to know which option is right for you. Look around, it may take a few hours, or even days, but it could save you hundreds if not thousands of pounds per year.
Brexit: Bad for your bucks?
With 52% of the voting population of the UK opting for a Brexit back in June 2016 many people aren’t sure what will happen to them, and often more importantly, their finances.
Fears that Brexit would mean large rises in interest rates have actually been proven to be premature. Before June, the government predicted that some mortgages could rise by up to £1,000 a year. In reality, experts are actually expecting some banks to cut their interest rates on borrowing. The Bank of England has suggested banks reduce their interest rates to 0.25%. Some banks are unsure of the idea as it would mean a profit reduction of hundreds of millions of pounds. This, could actually mean the cost of lending falls!
As experts believed a Brexit would cause a rise in the cost of mortgages, they also believed that there would be a sharp drop in house prices. The Treasury maintains that house prices could drop by between 10-18% over the next couple of years, with houses in London being most affected. First time buyers would benefit most as houses become available at lower prices. However for homeowners, this means that their properties will be worth less. Property in London predicted to fall by around £7,500 on average over the next three years.
An expected rise of unemployment relaxes the pressure on wage increases following Brexit . When the leave takes place, The Treasury predicts that wages will be between 2.8-4% lower than current, leaving some workers an average of £800 worse off. The Bank of England predicts that wages will be hit by a massive 2.5% decrease due to reductions in future earnings growth and rising inflation costs as a direct consequence of Brexit.
During Brexit, the ex-Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osbourne, predicted that there could be a rise in tax, moving the lower rate to 22 pence per pound, and the higher rate to 43 pence per pound. This is a policy which would directly contradict the Conservative Government’s promises at the last election. Since the referendum, and the recent change in Prime Minister, it’s yet to be seen whether this will happen or not.
Currently, state pensions will increase by at least the level of earnings, inflation or 2.5% each year. In June, David Cameron warned that this guaranteed level of increase, or the “triple lock”, could be threatened by Brexit. This could mean that anyone taking out a pension could get less income. However, if this was the case, the Bank of England could decide on a policy of Quantitative Easing (QE), which would ease the cut. It’s hard to fully predict the extent to which Brexit will have on the UK’s economy, with many factors still not defined.
When it comes to investing and shares, the future outside the EU is unpredictable. With share prices typically rising and falling depending on a business’ profits, it’s hard to guess the effect that Brexit will cause. However, it is thought that leaving the EU will mean large exporters will feel the biggest negative effect, with big importers potentially even seeing increased success due to the weaker pound.
If the UK does see very negative consequences with life outside the EU, and slow economic growth, then benefits can be expected to drop. Currently, nearly a third of government spend is on welfare payments. A decrease in treasury funds from a slow economy would mean a lot less to spend on benefits and welfare. At this stage, it is not known the full extent of what will happen in terms of trading agreements and memberships. However, if some experts are to be believed, families could potentially lose up to £3,000 a year.
Unless holidaying within the UK, it’s likely that your holiday will become more expensive. With holidays either priced in Euros or other currencies, and the pound becoming weaker, it’s inevitable that holidays will cost more. The prime minister, estimated that the average 8 day getaway would cost £230 more. Companies such as EasyJet and RyanAir flights are sold in Euros and will also rise in price. However, British Airways has said Brexit wouldn’t affect it’s business or prices.
Mobile phone roaming charges are capped within EU regulations. However, when we leave the EU, the regulations will no longer be mandatory. This means that mobile phone companies could charge higher fees when you’re abroad. Some think that the UK government could decide to adopt the EU regulation as law within the UK.
Only educated assumptions can be made on the exact fate of the economy, the pound has become weaker, affecting exchange rates and the economy.
With Article 50 yet to be invoked and a leave not officially happening for at least two years, some of the changes outlined above may not happen immediately, but instead over a period of time.