Life is expensive, there’s no doubt about it, and when you’re saving for a big buy, like a property upgrade, you can save surprising amounts of cash by simply reigning in your spending. However, over the Easter holidays when the kids are off school and making demands on both your time and money – it can be all too easy to give in to pester power and start spending more than you’d planned.

Instead of investing in yet another game for the DS or forking out for a day at an expensive theme park, consider these money-saving tips and tricks to save a fortune over the Easter break, while ensuring your kids are still suitably entertained.

1. Check out cinema deals

Watching a film can cost a fortune these days, with tickets in the region of £8 – £15 per adult and £5-£10 per child – depending on where you live (in London costs are particularly high). Save a bundle on the cost of cinema tickets by checking whether your local establishment offers “Movies for Juniors” or a similar

Movies for Juniors is an offer for kids from the Cineworld chain of cinemas, though others offer similar. As part of the deal, kids and adults can view a range of movies at specified viewings for just £1.75 a go. They aren’t the most recent releases but you and your brood can still benefit from a morning or afternoon at the cinema without having to remortgage the house to do so.

2. Picnic in the park

Kids (and adults) of all ages love picnics. While the sun is shining over much of Britain, make the most of it and get your ham butties packed, your picnic blanket unearthed and make your way to the nearest green space. Check out your local council’s website to find inspiration for new places to visit. Plenty of parks have free play areas for the kids to explore, but some even boasts zip wires, petting zoos and more exciting opportunities – in addition to wide open spaces to kick a football or throw a frisbee. Hours of fun- and very little impact on  your wallet.

3. Visit the local museum

Many UK museums are free! With areas dedicated solely to kids, they are not exactly a boring day out. Your little ones might even imbue a little extra understanding of the way the world works so trips like these are great for educational purposes too. Plus, many museums will have extra activities like shows and craft-making planned for families for the Easter hols.

You can find a full list of some of the top free UK museums and galleries for families as published by The Guardian here.

4. Planes, trains and automobiles

This is one for kids that love transport. As parents, we tend to view public transport as a necessity. To a child, especially a child usually ferried about by car, trains and buses are a source of wonder. You can have a great day out simply by purchasing a day-rider ticket and asking your child to pick the location. Then simply sit back an enjoy the journey. You might choose to get off and explore the area, or you may simply be happy to look out the windows and enjoy the ride. It may sound simple, but by giving your child the power to make the decision of your destination, it becomes an adventure through unknown territory.

Kids who like aeroplanes may enjoy a trip to a plane viewing point near the local airport. Some viewing points charge just for car parking, others are located in the gardens of public houses. Manchester’s The Airport pub is located just 50 feet from the runway, giving an unforgettable close-up of the planes. There are also swings, slides and other amusements for the kids when they get fed up with planes. There’s no charge for the seat – just buy a round of drinks.

You don’t have to spend a fortune to keep the kids entertained this Easter. Just use a little imagination to think up activities that don’t cost the earth.

For many people it’s the biggest chunk of change they’ll ever spend in one go – a property deposit certainly is more than a few pennies. In today’s property market, with 90 and 95 per cent mortgages still few and far between, if you want to buy a house you’ll need to get your saving hat on. And that could mean making changes to your lifestyle.

Anyone looking to buy a property will ideally need a minimum of 10 per cent, and with the average house price now at £281,753, according to Rightmove, that’s over £28,000 you could be looking at saving. Even with schemes like Help to Buy lenders require five per cent of the deposit – to the tune of £14,087 based on the average price of UK housing.

So if you are serious about saving to buy a house, you need to look at cuts that could be made in your daily life to bump your funds. Here are just a few ideas for things you could get rid of to save the cash more quickly.

1. Smoking
Yes that old chestnut again… cigarettes. They’re bad for your health and your wallet. The cost of a pack of 19 Benson and Hedges cigarettes from Tesco is now £6.64. If you have a 10 a day habit that’s nearly £3.50 a day. Give them up and in a year you could have saved £1,275.58 towards your deposit. In two years that’s over £2.5k. If you’re part of a couple and you both smoke, that’s over £5,000, in two years, simply puffed away.

Give up the fags and you could be several thousand pounds closer to your goal.

2. Sandwiches
You know the story. It’s a toss up between getting up when your alarm goes off or having a couple of extra minutes snooze. But if you get up later there is less time to make your lunch in advance of work. It’s ok though, you can always grab a sandwich or meal deal from the petrol station on the way in.

But take a look at this statistic from the British Sandwich Association: “The British sandwich market bought ‘on the go’ is currently worth £2.8 billion” and in the last 12 months alone 1.69 billion sandwiches were sold ‘on the go’, costing £1.66 on average. Add your drink and a snack to that and you can easily be spending £3 on lunch on a daily basis, for something you could make at home for a fraction of the price. What’s that annually? Well £3 a day Monday to Friday amounts to £780 a year.

Another simple saving.

3. Rent
This is a big one and it is certainly not for everybody but if you’re renting you will be well aware of the amount it costs just to keep a roof over your head. In January 2015 the average UK rent for tenancies in was £889per calendar month – £10,668 a year.

So how can you get around not paying rent? If you’re lucky enough to live near enough to parents to get to work, it could make sense to move back to the family home for a year.

A survey by the National Housing Federation found that over a quarter of parents (27%) have at least one adult child aged 21-40 living with them at home. Twenty-two per cent of respondents said their children were only living at home temporarily while they saved up for a deposit on their own property. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but it could be well worth it in the long run.

If you can’t get away with moving back in with your parents – or you simply can’t abide the idea – consider savings that could be made by moving into a cheaper rented property, or flat sharing with someone.

There is no doubt about it, saving for a property deposit can be difficult. However, there are several ways you can save cash more quickly, if you’re willing to change your lifestyle.

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