The summer wallet washout

The weather may have been pretty miserable of late but perhaps a spell of sunshine is just around the corner. Enjoying the summer season to the full can be an expensive habit and if you want to take full advantage then you should take a look at your wallet.

Most of us never think about what’s in there but by making a few canny changes could see your summer spending go a lot further. MoneyExpert.com looks at where our summer money goes and how to get the most out of it.

Knickerboker Glory – or not?

Every year we manage to consume millions of ice creams but you might get a shock next time you queue up at the van. The price of ice cream across the world is on the rise as global grain prices have increased significantly and subsequently the cost of feeding dairy cows has risen too. Prices in the US are up almost a third for some producers. Gone are the days of the 99 costing 99p – you’ll be lucky to get change from a £2 coin these days.

Fix it with a Picnic

It’s not just ice cream prices that are on the rise – the cost of living generally is getting tougher to cope with as interest rates continue to soar. Which means plumping for that al fresco meal with friends is just that little bit more difficult to justify.

Picnics are a great way to enjoy a summer’s day without breaking the bank. As long as you’re not investing in a Harrods picnic hamper which can come in at over £300, that is.

Day Tripper

At the weekends the day trip has become an essential part of summer fun. Taking the family to the beach doesn’t come cheap however. By the time you take into account the cost of travel and entertainment, some estimates put the cost of these outings at an average of £56.

There are a number of ways to take the cost out of these trips however. Instead of taking the car look into public transport, as there are some good deals to be had. With a Family Rail Card, a family of four can travel from London to Brighton, for instance, for £23.80 rather than the £54 it would normally cost. There are plenty of discounts to be had when it comes to the visitor attractions too, many of which have great family discounted offers available, which can be found through a bit of web searching or keeping an eye out in the press.

Summer spending

If you’re going abroad, there’s a new way to avoid all those hidden costs that normally come our way when we need cash.

A new ‘pre-payment’ card – the CaxonFX Euro card – has launched and claims to save families over £110 on their holidays by cutting out the hidden costs. The card has no conversion or transaction fees and guarantees not to be beaten on exchange rates from any banks or bureau de changes.

Just put your holiday spending on to the card before you leave and use it like a bank card, with a PIN number. The only cost comes if you desperately need cash – there’s a two Euro charge for using an ATM.

Feeling the heat?

Next time you’re soaking up the sun in the park take a few minutes to open up your wallet and see what’s in there. Along with an assortment of receipts and old train tickets if you’re anything like the average person then there’s likely to be at least two credit cards in there too.

If you’re going to have to rely on the plastic this summer, make sure you compare the market to get the best deal for you – many cards offer zero per cent interest on purchases for up to a year.

Click here to compare 0% purchase credit cards

Summer comes with its own distinct costs but by making your wallet work harder for you, it needn’t be hard work.

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