Don’t get blue this Monday, get away from it all…

Don’t get blue this Monday, get away from it all…

Holiday companies use Blue Monday for marketing – here’s how to turn the tables and make it sunny for you and for your wallet!

couple on beach sunset

Blue Monday is the third Monday in the first month of the year, falling this year on 15 January… It is claimed by some to be the most depressing day of the year. The term was coined by Cardiff University lecturer, Dr Cliff Arnall, in 2005, when he “scientifically calculated” a formula for a press release for Sky Travel. (See this Guardian article for more information)

Why depressing? Well, it’s cold, we’ve had a nice few days off over Christmas but we haven’t been paid yet and the credit card bills are starting to come in now. Our New Year resolutions are already failing… What can we do? How about getting away from it all or at least thinking about a future holiday?

Holiday companies will clamour to use this “special” day once again to boost their “deals”. So, for the 15th January, some expert money bloggers and I have joined forces to give you 15 tips on saving money when booking that holiday! We look at turning the tables and playing the travel companies at their own game, so you can save money when you book your trip away. Good huh?

sun setting over water consumer rights, ways to shop around, discounts, alternatives, thinking beyond and searching

Rights

1) I’ll kick off, as you would expect, with your consumer rights. “You have numerous consumer rights to cover you when booking your holiday and for when you are on holiday.  Be aware of them when booking. For example, if you feel that you have made a purchasing decision that you wouldn’t have made had you been given accurate information (such as a misleading price) you may be able to claim a refund under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008”.  There is also the Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tour Regulations 1992 of which you should be aware. These give you lots of rights regarding any changes that the company may make, amongst other things!”

Dates and shopping around

2) The Money Whisperer, Emma Maslin says “If you are looking for popular times e.g. school holidays for package holidays, it maybe best to book ahead but if you can be more flexible, wait until closer to the date for the best last-minute deals. We’re going to the same island we went to last year but booked ahead this time. We booked just 7 days before last year and it was over £200 cheaper per person. This year, it might not be a last minute option – that’s the risk you take. But if you are flexible and can go elsewhere or fly a different day to save money, then it pays to look around.”

3) Fiona Hawkes from Savvy in Somerset has found that booking accommodation and flights separately has always been cheaper than a package. She also advises looking round at all the various websites that do this for you, as some will also offer free cancellation or low cost cancellation cover for accommodation.

4) “Haggle!” implores blogger Emma Drew.  “We have haggled between Disney and Virgin Holidays for a cruise. Virgin Holidays were selling it for more than Disney, so we went armed with the info and got them to match Disney and throw some on board credit in! Add that to shopping around for flights with sites like SkySkanner where you can find flights cheaper than going direct.”

Discounts 

5) “Try it on!” Catherine Morgan Financial Money Coach cheekily encourages. “Say you are on your honeymoon or it’s a wedding anniversary, sometimes it works!  Be a bit savvy too. We saved a mint last year when we booked a TUI week away to Kos. We contacted the hotel directly and paid them £100 and got an upgrade with a swim up room. Thomson wanted to charge us £700 extra for the same!”

6) Mrs Mummy Penny, Lynn James, suggests thinking of your friends and family who work for a travel company or hotel. Maybe they have a friends and family offer code they can give you? One of her friends is a concierge at Aria in Las Vegas and can always find her a deal. Often it makes it cheaper than package deals.

7) “Use cashback!” exclaims Emma Bradley of Mums Savvy Savings “Look for discount codes and then use sites like Topcashback* which will give you money straight back into your account too. I saved about £150 from doing this last year.” (I got about £70 from Thomson last Summer too. You can also use Zeek* to see if there are any discounted gift cards which you will be able to use with discounts to reduce the cost still further. (*Refer a friend links. So if you sign up you’ll get a bonus and so will I 🙂 ))

Thinking ahead

8) Faith Archer from Much More with Less cuts food costs while away by booking somewhere to stay with self-catering facilities. “Even the odd breakfast in your room or packed lunch can save cash compared to eating out for every meal!”, she says.

9) Andy Webb from Be Clever With Your Cash advises booking car hire far in advance for the lowest prices “AND make sure the car is big enough! It will only cost a few quid more to get a bigger car when booking, but can be hundreds if you have to upgrade at the check-in desk! Shop around for the car hire, looking direct as well various comparison sites. Plus, if the excess waiver isn’t included don’t buy it from the car rental company. You can get policies for a few quid elsewhere that’ll cover you for damage to the car. Make sure you are comparing like for like inclusive totals.”

10) Buy your travel insurance the day you buy your holiday in case you need it before you go! “But also think about how you are going to buy it. Shop around as it will nearly always be cheaper than the one you get offered with a package. And look at all the group (e.g. group, couple, family) options however your group is made up” says William Pointing from Great Deals Made Easy.

Alternatives to the usual booking routes

11) Hollie Gregersen from ThriftyMum recommends house sitting or pet sitting! “There are a number of websites that provide details of homes you can stay at providing affordable options for holidays in the UK and abroad, including house swaps”.

Getting there

12) Pete Chatfield from Household Money Saving suggests taking a coach if travelling in Europe and saving a fortune.

13) A Thrifty Fox blogger Emily Rowley considers stopover flights; if flying long haul you could save hundreds by planning a break in your journey (tie in with meals if it makes it more bearable!)

14) Joseph Seager of A Thrifty Chap tries to be flexible when booking. Midweek is nearly always cheaper than a weekend. So are less sociable hour flight times. You can save by flying from other airports too, but make sure to factor in different travel to airport/parking/stay costs for your final comparison.

Everytime you search!

15) Above all, if you go back to a website, clear your cookies first. The travel website will put that price up if it knows you’ve looked at that holiday before!

For everything you need to know about your rights when booking, during and after, your holiday see All you need to know about booking/complaining about holidays/flights for lots of different rights and what you should do when and how.

How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!

 

For even more information, advice, tips, your consumer rights and template letters for most sectors GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!

 

 

 

 

 

25 top finance blogs (saving, making, investing, tips & more)

Although this blog is about consumer rights and how not to get fobbed off, I thought it might be useful to share some good money blogs with you. If you are interested in knowing your rights you may also be interested in finding out about ways to save and make money on a variety of things from holidays to personal finance, food to energy saving and selling stuff! There are of course thousands of blogs out there run by people keen to share their ideas and sometimes you may stumble across them and some that are equally as good that you don’t. So I’ll list some for you all in one place so that if you fancy putting your feet up with a cuppa or glass of wine, here are some good ones to start you off. If you find any of them useful or you’d like them to cover a financial issue that fits with their blog then please do mention it in a comment on their (not mine!) blog.

I have tried to provide a varied list to give lots of choice of what’s out there, so that each one I’m showing you, is for the most part, quite different to another.

Be Clever With Your Cash is a blog about helping you do the same. It picked up Best Personal Finance Blog at this year’s Headlinemoney awards. (I was nominated I’ll have you know, but my blog is pretty niche! “I only do complaining” I often say!) Run by Andy Webb covers all sorts of great stuff.

Skint Dad fed up of being skint and struggling to make ends meet; in 2013 husband and wife team Ricky and Naomi Willis launched the blog to help other people in the same boat. Whether you’re looking to cut back on your food bill, save for a rainy day, or find inventive ways to up your income; Skint Dad has the answer. Masses on here (even a guest post from yours truly hidden away. They won Headline Money award last year and various awards in the UK Money blogger of the year awards.

LottyEarns Charlotte Burns is the current UKMB Blogger of the year,  and her blog focuses on luxury on a budget. It can be done and Charlotte provides many a tip on how.

Skintedmintedmum Charlotte and Minted mum Jane, both personal finance journalists, offer family finance tips to other mums whatever their budget. That little bit different in concept to other blogs which I like, so well worth a visit.

Thinking Thrifty David blogs about making, managing and saving money. Having recently taken the plunge and invested in his own business instead of the bank, he picked up the best new blog award at The SHOMO Awards 2016

Debt Camel Sara blogs about everything to do with debt and credit ratings. An important aspect of that is better budgeting, aiming for a small emergency fund and reducing your borrowing costs and expenses wherever possible. Sara also write a guest post on my blog Everything you need to know about Payday loans so you know she must be good!

Your Money Sorted Eileen’s blog helps UK based women to make the most of their money, through helping them to improve their money mindset. She’s got some interesting freebie guides on tips and mindset, I’m just signing up for a couple.

Reduced Grub shows people that you don’t need a huge budget to eat decent food. Lots of ideas for cheap tasty meals by Kelly here.

Mrs Mummypenny Lynn blogs about healthy wealth, body and mind. A personal journey with lots of tips etc. you may take some inspiration.

Katy Kicker Katy blogs about money saving as a parent, allotment owner and person committed to random acts of kindness. Find money saving advice on a whole host of subjects.

Savvy in Somerset Fiona writes mostly about money saving but other personal finance bits and she comes from Somerset too! (All the best people do 😉 Oh and Fiona? 8 tests I took. 8!

Money Saver Moneymaker Jenny writes a blog that encourages women to make money from home, with a focus on turning hobbies into business. Like me not able to resist a bargain and she shares her money saving finds, leaving you with more money all round to spend.

The Diary of a Frugal Family is all about Cass and her family’s journey to living a more frugal lifestyle having as much fun as possible along the way. You’ll find everything from money to meal planning and from Teen DIYs to Travel posts and you’ll find a free budget planner.

From Pennies to Pounds  Francesca writes about how to save  and earn money from home to pay off debt and achieve your financial goals. Different to the many blogs like this as Francesca is newly married with a daughter and is at uni so may appeal to students out there!

The Frugal Cottage Nicola blogs about budgeting, money saving and early retirement and won the People’s Choice Award last year at the SHOMOs.

Money Tree Man with the help of his Money Tree girlfriend writes a blog about saving money to achieve financial independence, starting with buying a house! Investments etc. Whilst that may be a little different to other blogs which talk about tips, saving money etc. etc., anyone that writes “Rants and bants”, “A quick google can be the difference investment ingenuity of fiscal fucktardedry!” and “Little bitch syndrome” has got to be worth a peruse.

Much More With Less Faith is a personal finance journalist who writes about moving to the country, living on less and making the most of it. Posts focus on food, finance, family, flowers and fitness, all with a frugal spin.

Pounds and Sense Nick blogs about making money, saving money and investing money, aimed especially (though not exclusively) at over sixties

A few more on saving and making money: Time and Pence, Money Saving Girl, Emma Drew,   Thrifty Mum,  I Beat Debt  and Homely Economics

Not really a blog but is a site that supplies links to individual bargain items Latest Deals UK

and one of my long standing Twitter buddies who I’ve been following for yonks. Ok different to all the other finance blogs listed but it IS finance and I want to include him so there!

So a special no 26:

Banker’s Umbrella blog on private banking and wealth management

And if you’ve come here via someone tweeting this page – you can find out About Me and you can GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS! for tips, information advice, guidance, consumer rights/laws and template letters and you can find that all over the blog as well.