How To Save Money But Stay Sociable… In England

Travel is my biggest priority but as a couple there are things you just can’t say “no” to spending money on. Else you go stir crazy and fall out. This post outlines how we’ve been able to go out and enjoy ourselves but not use too much of our travel savings.

This is not your average “pack a picnic and enjoy the sunshine” post.

Amazing Parents

I really recommend you get a set of these… Most of our meals out and treats are bought for us by my parents. I never took a penny from my parents through my years at university, until I hit my master’s year and forgot how to look after my finances. It’s not that we need their money now, it’s just that they enjoy socialising and their favourite hobby is going out for meals. And we get invited along (yay).

We offer to pay, but it gets shooed away. I know not everyone has parents like mine, but if you have some that are willing to take you out and let you stay for free then take advantage because it has been an incredible help to our savings. Of course, we’re very thankful. We know that in the future, we will find somewhere to settle down for a few months and they will visit us.  Then it will be our turn to host them.

Voucher Cloud

In the UK we have this super awesome thing called Voucher Cloud. Voucher Cloud has become the second best thing to help us save money while still being able to go out and enjoy ourselves. Voucher Cloud has alerted us of various restaurant deals (usually 25% off or buy one main get another for £2.50). The Pizza Express deals are particularly good if you only have water with your meal. The pizzas are nice and big and for two people the cost can be as low at £12, which is exceptionally good for this restaurant.

Other Voucher Cloud offers have allowed us to gain TEFL certificates for less than £30 each. It was money well spent. Without the things I learnt through Star TEFL I would never have had the confidence to progress from Bar Associate to Assistant Manager and I would never have qualified as a teacher of English as a foreign language. Plus, everyone wants a new certificate, right?

Perks of the Job

In my former position at Spoons we enjoyed a staff discount of 20% off of food for you and three others when eating outside of your shift.

Spoons also runs a scheme where, as staff, if you beat your last weeks takings on a Friday and Saturday you get a free drink. I used to save these drinks for later in the week (they could be claimed until the next Thursday) and Mike and I would go for a guilt free piss up. I used to drag my free, 175ml glasses of rose out by adding ice and soda water. Mike would drink a few guest ales and the whole night would cost us less than £10.

Perks of the job aren’t limited to going out. Mike reaps more benefits as an employee at Springfield’s Garden Centre. He gets a further 10% off of the already discounted, outlet store price. We bought both of our backpacks at Springfield’s and spent a miniscule amount of £58.48 (YES! For BOTH backpacks) compared to the hundreds that most people fork out. Of course, we’re yet to see if they withstand the test of time, but at least mine is pretty and pink.

Meal Deals

If you don’t work for Spoons then they still have excellent meal deals where you can have a burger, onion rings, chips and a drink for around £7.

More great places for meal deals are Frankie and Benny’s (for lunch), The Pied Calf, Brewer’s Fayre and Hungry Horse. My favourite place for cheap lunch time eats is the Krua Thai in Holbeach where you can have a starter and a main course for around £7 and the food is phenomenal.

The Business Lunch – £5.89 Goan Platter with a mango lassi @ The Red Lion, Spalding

Market Force

This is a relatively new one for us. We’ve had one experience with it, not because it’s bad, but because we don’t really have the time. Market Force is great for anyone that is jobless or part time and can attend any place in the area on any day.

Our experience was with Frankie and Benny’s. We had to go in, order at least one starter, two main courses, at least one dessert, a soft drink and a coffee. Market Force would reimburse you £35 once you had completed your feedback on the experience. The meal came to £42 and we left a £3 tip. So for all of the above we paid only £10 and worked for the rest of the meal. Well, Mike worked for the rest of the meal.

Orange Wednesdays

For those of you that are unfamiliar with Orange Wednesdays, I can assure you we do not dress up as oranges on a Wednesday. Orange Wednesdays was the brain child of Orange mobile network and cinemas across the nation. If you or a friend are on Orange, text and grab your cinema code. This code allows you to buy one ticket and get one free on a Wednesday.

£6.75 for two people to go to the cinema? Now THAT is a bargain.

These six brilliant inventions are helping Mike and I to keep our expenses low. We are suckers for a good meal out. If you can enjoy these things in moderation, I promise you will STILL put away a decent amount per month for your travels. We are both on minimum wage and are still able to salvage over £1000 a month for travel.

How are you keeping your costs low? Has anyone got any information on how to get discounts and be savvy with money? Comment your ideas below with what country you are in, let’s share the love of penny pinching!
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