Frugal Friday #5 – A Free eye test & cutting costs in half term

It’s been half term for us this week and we’ve had an absolute blast. It’s been a great balance of super fun adventures to places like light water valley, York, and going swimming today, mixed up with the odd lazy morning and clean up day in between. The kids are exhausted and could do with some early nights before going back to school next week, but we have certainly made the most of our time together!

 I like half term and school holidays not just for days out with the kids, the adventures and generally hanging together, but the opportunity to do things that otherwise would be very rushed during term time..like getting our eyes tested. Only this turned out to be complete madness and I wondered if perhaps a rushed job after school might actually had been a better option – at least they would have been tired and not running around like little nutters!

 It turned out their eyes are still fine, mine have declined a lot and I need to wear my glasses more, but going off their behaviour, perhaps they need a hearing test too next time! I opted out of all the added extras and chose frames that were on the lower end – I’m over designer frames and the ones I chose are super cool and only £45 all in! I can’t be doing with spending loads on things like this anymore when we can use the money elsewhere on our family. With that mentality I also made sure our eye tests were FREE too. I managed (with little effort) to find a voucher online to do just that. This is something I do before most activities that cost or when shopping online – hunt out a voucher for some saving. It just feels better and puts the money back in your pocket – and you can’t get better than FREE!

Half term/school holidays can very quickly clock up the spending, but being aware of this and forward planning can cut out a lot of unnecessary spending and make it a better time. Here are some things I have down this week to save us money whilst having optimum fun!

Planned ahead through offers

As I say days out in school holidays can quite easily drain the bank so quickly if we don’t plan ahead and watch out, especially when you have more than one kid. There are many ways to save a few quid here and there in an otherwise pricey period, including visits to free museums, parks, forests etc. We still stick to our schedule for some balance and easy planning and so this naturally gives us free activities, other than that its done on special offers!

For our trip on Thursday to Light water Valley, we paid £6 each on a february offer they have. Only a selection of rides were open (like 7 kids ones), but we also saw the falconry centre and reptiles, a visiting petting farm, some inflatables and the soft play. We were there 5hrs and had a lot of fun – well worth £24 for a family day out!

Took a picnic where possible / Raided the reductions

Everyone has to eat..it’s an expense of necessity but what isn’t a necessity is eating out. We have promised them Fish and chips at the coast this weekend, and other than that it has been a picnic all the way. Its simply a wrap or sandwich each, some crisps and piece of fruit and a bottle of water! A pack up or picnic quite easily saves a lot of money, especially when keeping it simple, and on Tuesday we threw in a bottle of posh lemonade as it was valentines – The kids LOVED it!

Sometimes (always) the kids start whining for snacks, an early dinner – whatever, they just “NEED more food”. When this happened in York, we just so happened to be next to Boots, and I am very aware that once lunch is over they tend to reduce their food by a lot. We got 2 sandwiches and a wrap all for 50p each at about 4.30pm and it was both tasty and a life saver with whiny hungry kids!

Park and ride

When we visited York we chose to use the park and ride, I think for most City visits this is a great way to save a few quid for the fam. For all of us it was only £5.20 with the added extra of a bus adventure for the kids. Last time we paid for an afternoon in York parking it was something around the £11 mark (so a nice 50% saving there).

If you haven’t yet had your half term then get hunting for a few vouchers now! Sit down with your kids and plan out things you all would like to do so you don’t end up falling into an expensive day out (maybe theme each day to make it easier and more exciting), and have them help you make a picnic. Oh and one more thing – I hope you have fun!

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