And what better way to celebrate than sitting down to do some number crunching? No, we’re not kidding. In fact, we reckon a little preparation in spring could be the secret to the best summer ever - especially when it comes to keeping your budget intact.
So read on, and discover how, with a little forward planning, you can have more fun for less – and be summer ready before you know it.
Going away? Get booking!
Everybody loves a summer holiday, but they can’t half break the bank. Flights and accommodation can add up fast – and that’s before you’ve even landed. So start thinking ahead – and by ‘thinking’ we mean ‘booking’.
Flying midweek, especially on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, could save you money. However, while booking earlier in the year is always a good idea, you might want to try booking later in the day. Flights can actually be up to 9% cheaper if you book in the evening.
Or, if you’re willing to wait, why not book yourself in for some winter sun? Everyone else will be busy planning their summer, meanwhile you could snag the best ski packages for less. A lot less.
Travel agents. Yay or nay?
It used to be that you wouldn’t dream of booking a big holiday without the help of a travel agent. But with the rise of internet booking sites – all of which are competing to win your business with the best deal – it’s never been easier to do it all yourself. In fact, between 2007 and 2011, the number of holidays arranged in travel agency branches dropped by 16%.
Of course, the major plus of booking with a travel agent is that they may provide extra protection if anything goes wrong – such as ATOL cover. But which is better value?
Which? Travel investigated and found that while travel agent’s quotes were usually a little higher than booking online, they will often match the price if you ring up and ask. So, if you’re willing to put in at least a little bit of the legwork it’s likely you can enjoy the convenience of a travel agent, and a great online price.
Pack the B currency App*
The B currency app lets you instantly convert currencies using just your camera – it could help you keep track of what you’re spending abroad.
*Available for iOS only. The augmented reality converter covers GBP, EUR and USD only. Rates provided are indicative and don't represent real time exchange rates or include bank charges, fees or local taxes.
Plan your annual leave now to make the most of it
Even if you’re not planning on going away this summer, chances are you’re still looking forward to a little time off work. Most full time workers in the UK get around 28 days of annual leave. But, with some careful planning, you can plot that leave around bank holidays and weekends to make the most of your allowance.
For example, as the early May bank holiday falls just after a weekend, you can get 9 days off for just 4 days annual leave if you book off May 7th-10th. The same is true of the late May bank holiday. Book off from May 28th-31st to enjoy another 9 day break for 4 days leave.
This formula also works for the summer bank holiday in August – when you should book off the 27th-30th to enjoy a third nine day break. Go for all three and you’d get 27 days of holiday time – nearly your full annual allowance – for just 12 days leave.
Quick, get in there, before everyone else cottons on.
Saving for something? B can help
However you decide to spend your summer, it won’t hurt to have a little set aside. With B’s handy Saving Pots, you can earmark money for different goals – whether that’s a festival ticket, or your first home. With clear targets and helpful prompts to let you know if you’re on track, they help take the stress out of saving. And they’re easy to set up too - all you need to do is click the ‘savings’ button in app, click ‘instant savings account’, then ‘add new savings pot’ and you’re away.
Spring saving hacks
Turn off the tumble dryer
You can’t always bank on a sunny spring here in the UK, but this year predictions say we’re in luck. Take advantage of warmer days and start hanging your laundry outside as much as possible. Yes, it’s a bit more effort than just dumping it in the dryer, but it could add to savings of £65 a year. Not a lifechanging amount of money – but it would cover a day ticket to most UK festivals. Or, reinvest your savings in a heated clothes dryer – better for your wallet, and the environment.
Grow your own veg
Budding gardener? You’re in luck, now is actually the perfect time to get going. Lettuce, kale, carrots and tomatoes all do well if planted between March and May.
You don’t even need a big garden, kale especially flourishes in buckets and window boxes. Plant something soon and you should be reaping the rewards come summer – literally.
Embrace April showers...
A hot bath can be the perfect end to a dreary winter day – but it’s a surprisingly pricey habit. If just two people in your house have a bath once a day it could add up to an eye watering £438 a year. Or, to put it another way, enough for a long weekend somewhere sunny.
So, take advantage of the warm weather and jump in the shower – they’re cheaper and more eco-friendly. You could even treat yourself to a water-saving shower head..
...or at least a sunnier frame of mind
Even if you’re not sure how you want to spend the summer just yet, spring is the perfect time to reassess your goals for the year. Are you on track for reaching them? Or do you still have a little way to go? Why not spend some time this month thinking about what you’d like to achieve before the Autumn? After all – you’ve got plenty of time to make it happen.