Finance company The Scottish Friendly recently compiled a Disposable Income Index. The information was taken from an independent survey revealing how much money people have left after paying essential bills. As well as finding out whether people had money to spend or save, the survey looked at people’s holiday habits. They found that 19% of people were opting for more staycations, whilst 16% were looking for cheaper holidays.
The Staycation Challenge
Scottish Friendly wanted to show me how easy it is to save money each month, by discovering affordable days out in my local town. So they set me a challenge of having a fun family day out with a budget of £100. We live in an absolutely beautiful place and we frequently get out and about into the hills. However, when it comes to days out I have to admit we often head out of town towards Birmingham.
Checking for affordable days out was a bit of a revelation to me. We often head to a nearby National Trust property such as Croome because we’re members so entry is free. But this time I wanted to think outside the box. As I needed to schedule the day out into our timetable, I decided to go for something indoors.
We are lucky enough to live very close to the fabulous Malvern Theatres. Despite being located in a small town, Malvern Theatres host some amazing productions that usually play much larger venues. It is also set in a stunning location at the foot of the Malvern hills.
Due to the quality of productions at Malvern, I don’t often think to go there because I have it in my head that ticket prices will be restrictive. Amazingly though, I managed to get pantomime tickets for just £13 per adult and £8 per child with a £3 booking fee. So for four of us to see Sleeping Beauty, it came to just £45.
With prices like that, we were well inside our budget. So we decided to treat ourselves to lunch at a lovely local café called Abbey Road Coffee. The café serves healthy, tasty food at lunchtime and it’s just a few minutes walk from the theatre. We managed to get lunch for four, two coffees, two hot chocolates and two slices of cake whilst still staying within our budget. Then we strolled down past the beautiful Malvern Priory to the theatre.
This year’s pantomime was Sleeping Beauty, starring Gillian Wright who plays Jean Slater in Eastenders. The show was lively and engaging with well known songs that everyone enjoyed. There was plenty of interaction between the performers and the audience and a variety of dance styles.
With our remaining few pounds from our £100 budget, we treated the girls to some snacks during the interval. As there was a huge queue for the kiosk, my husband popped to a local shop to pick up the sweets from there, meaning we stayed within budget.
This has definitely made me think more carefully about where we go for days out in future. There are loads of things on at Malvern Theatres that I know the girls would love. I’m already eyeing up The Very Hungry Caterpillar for Lia’s birthday in May.
I’ll also look more carefully at what’s on in the area in future before instinctively heading straight out of town on days out. We saved a fortune by not having to buy train tickets or pay petrol costs, meaning that our £100 went a long way. It’s great to be able to support the local economy too.