How you can cut the cost of half-term

Chalk Board savings

The school holidays are upon us again, and the question is what can you do with your children to keep them entertained that will not cost you an absolute packet?


Half-term for most schools in the UK this month is from February 17 to February 21, and with the extreme weather causing such problems in the UK, you are probably going to have to get creative so you would be wise to plan ahead.

Some families will be heading off to the slopes next week for a stint of skiing, and recent research from M&S Bank shows that Bulgaria is the cheapest place for a family of four skiing getaway, yet it still costs a whopping £6,553. But that is nearly £3,000 less than Switzerland – the most expensive destination – which would lighten your wallet by £9,499.

Bulgaria Skiing Trips

However, whether you are going away or staying at home, there are ways to save yourself money and keep everyone entertained, so here are my five top tips to reduce the amount you are spending:

1. Book train tickets early – Train companies have to put their timetables online at least 12 weeks in advance, so if you can book early you will get cheaper tickets. Of course, you have not got that much time to book something for next week, but planning ahead will still save you money. So you do not miss out on offers, has a handy ticket alert system that tells you as soon as cheap rail tickets are released.

It might also be worth looking at a Family & Friends Rail card, which does cost you £30 but saves you a third off all your rail travel and 60% off kids’ fares. Using this you can buy your tickets at a lower price on the day, when you will be sure whether the trains are running or not due to the weather.

2. Save money on holidays and days out by using a cashback site – Yes, OK you probably saw this one coming, but it really is a great way of recouping some money on items you are going to be buying anyway. For example, you can save 60% on Airparks Airport Parking and also get an additional 18.9% cashback to boot if you are heading away from the UK. You can also get up to £15.75 cashback on Cineworld Cinemas – perfect if you do not want to be out in bad weather.

3. Make the most of free trials – there are a number of things you can get free trials for, and half term could be the perfect time for many of them. For example, Lovefilm will give you the chance to enjoy a 30-day free trial of its service. Netflix will also give you a month’s free trial. Perfect for helping to keep the kids entertained for free over the holidays, just watch your internet download limits if you have them, as watching TV online can use up your allowance quickly.

If you then wish to carry on with your subscription you can also get cashback on LOVEFiLM and NOW TV!

4. Speak to the council – well, actually you don’t have to speak to them, just check your local council website to see if there are any freebies or half-term offers available to help entertain your kids. Your local authority may have anything from fun days at local leisure centres to courses that are designed to keep your children entertained and learning. Leisure centres and local councils will have information on their websites, so check with them for freebies before you spend your own cash.

5. Find cheap and free days out online - sites such as and have some great ideas of where you can visit in the UK, and if you check and you can find ideas for days out that are closest to you.

Blog written by Ali Steed, founder of the money saving website

*Please note that all cashback rates and prices mentioned on the blog were correct at the time of posting but are subject to change. All rates should be checked before making any transactions

Posted on 14 Feb 2014  |  Posted in  Tips & Updates
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