Money, money, money

…holidaying on a budget.

You may have seen, or even taken part in, my recent poll on Insta stories. Following on from a discussion on the Frolo app, I wanted to find out what obstacles were stopping other single parents living out their holiday dreams, and there was one stand out issue – money!

We know being a single parent is tough financially, many of us don’t receive financial assistance from our children’s other parents, or if we do it’s not enough. Yet the bills keep coming and they have to be covered by a single wage. And that’s if you’re able to work with childcare being so expensive, juggling small people and work is twice as hard when there’s only one of you.

I totally get it. I receive no money from Luka’s father, and never have. He also doesn’t see him so I’ve never had time to go and work while he has our son, which was particularly tough when he was little. I only worked part time until Luka turned 3 and so holidays were very much something done on a tight budget once a year. It’s only been in the last 2 to 3 years since Luka has been in full time school and I’ve been in better paid jobs that I’ve been able to recover financially and travel more. And that’s with one child, I would definitely still be struggling if I had more.

That’s not to say I can travel whenever and wherever I want, I don’t get paid that much unfortunately! I also don’t get paid to travel or work in the industry so I don’t score free or cheap trips, maybe I should have a career re-think actually! What I do do however is prioritise travelling and holidays above other activities and expenditures (after bills, savings and essential expenditures of course!).

If you’re barely keeping your head above water this probably won’t help too much sorry but if there is a little wiggle room it’s about priorities.

I’m not perfect at this myself by a long run, we could probably go away even more if I exclusively shopped at discount supermarkets or ate out less but I do try to prioritise holidays. I don’t  buy new clothes very often, I rarely go out, I don’t spend a lot on luxury items and we keep home activities like weekly expensive trips to the cinema and bowling to a minimum as I know if we do that every weekend it’s at least £40 which over the course of a month or year is easily another holiday. If there’s something I really want like a concert ticket, I ask for it for a birthday present as I can’t justify spending £100 on something just for me when that’s return flights and a night in the hotel for us both.

I think a lot of it is realising the small changes do add up which is something I finally worked out a few years ago. Now depending on your budget and spending those small changes could add up to a weekend camping or 5 holidays a year but it’s about making the start. A friend of mine used to say how desperate she was to go on holiday with her kids as they had never been abroad but she couldn’t afford it. Her ex husband has the kids every weekend so she was going out most weekends either for food or drinks and at least every two months going to a big event like a concert or sporting event. She asked how it was I could afford to go away so often and I explained that I probably only go out 4 or 5 times a year. Once she worked out how much she was actually spending on eating out and a few wines with the girls she cut it back and started to divert that money to a holiday savings account and last year they enjoyed a family holiday abroad for the first time.

Even if that’s not you there are still lots of things we can do to save up some cash. Swapping your grocery shopping to somewhere cheaper, foregoing that weekly takeaway or my latest plan, putting £1 each a day and any spare change into a pot and putting into all into holiday savings.

You can see some of my top tips for squeezing a holiday out of a tight budget HERE.

My plan for the coming weeks and months is to put a lot more focus on money on the blog, how much I really spend on our holidays and where I find my bargains, so keep an eye out and let me know via social media if there’s anything you want to know or have help with.

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