How to spend summer on a shoestring and still have fun

Having fun in the sun can cause havoc for your bank balance. But there are savvy ways you could make cool savings and still have a great time.

Host a barbecue in your garden and ask each guest to bring a dish along. Picture: PA

Here, Anita Naik, lifestyle editor at, offers top tips to help you have an enjoyable summer on a shoestring.

◆ Make the most of free attractions. From museums to local walking groups and sightseeing hotspots, there’s no shortage of free events over the summer.

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◆ Travel in groups. Check out transport operators’ websites to take advantage of group deals, such as 2-4-1 or buy-one-get-one-free offers and family packages.

◆ Check out discounts and vouchers to get cut-price offers on everything from eating out, to theatre tickets and sight-seeing experiences.

◆ Go BYOB. Excited to finally get pals or family together for a catch-up this summer? Look for restaurants that allow you to bring your own alcohol, so you can then pick up a nice bottle without a hefty price tag. Some don’t even charge corkage.

◆ Bring the fun to your own home and host a picnic or barbecue in your back garden for family and friends. To cut back on food costs, ask each guest to bring a dish along.

◆ Fancy heading indoors for a bit? Look out for theatre discounts. Matinee performances can work out relatively inexpensive, just go early and see what last-minute tickets are available.

◆ There are free festivals all over the UK to suit many tastes. Keep an eye on social media to find them.

◆ Remember to stock up on cash before you head out to an event, or you may have to use a cash machine that will charge you.

◆ Get your timing right with flights. Booking indirect flights with longer stopovers can potentially mean cheaper airfares, and might offer a nice break to explore another destination for several hours on the way to your final stop.

◆ Don’t get caught out by card fees. Before going away, check any charges for using your card abroad. Some card apps send you live updates on your balance – meaning you can stay on top of your finances wherever you are.

◆ Look out for restaurants and activities where kids can eat or enter for free – these offers often appear over the summer holidays.

◆ Many families may prefer a staycation over the summer, which can keep costs down. Cut the costs by taking packed lunches and snacks on trips.

◆ Make the outdoors your gym. Rather than paying gym fees, get into shape outdoors. Some parks have equipment you can use for free.

◆ The cost of maintaining the garden can be expensive at this time of year. Look for local gardening groups, where you can swap plants or buy them for a few pence.

◆ If you’re going away, consider putting your home on a holiday letting website, which could help you cover the cost of your holidays.

◆ Want to see your favourite play but can’t justify the ticket price? Look out for people looking to sell their tickets at the last minute. Occasionally, people may be happy to accept less than face value.