House swap your way to a free holiday: MISS MONEYSAVER helps you with the cost of living crunch
You can really go on vacation for free — or almost for free — if you’re willing to be a little flexible. My favorite way is to swap houses. I’ve been doing it for years.
I traded my house with others in different countries to get a free vacation somewhere nice. It’s great because you just have to pay for your trip and your food while you’re there. Some swaps (especially with Americans) even allow you to use their car – or their boat!
Miss Moneysaver aka Jasmine Birtles said: I traded my house with other people’s in different countries to get a free vacation somewhere nice
I’ve even made friends by swapping homes, especially my friend Carolyn in Boston, USA, who I swap with every year, and the lovely Bruce and Marie-Ellen in Paris, who have become such good friends that we chat on a regular basis. on the phone.
I also kept in touch with Anna in Croatia, whose parents exchanged homes with me when she was a student in London. I also did some nice swaps with a woman in Barcelona who has a flat near the Sagrada Familia.
But you don’t have to travel abroad. Friends of mine made several swaps in the UK when their son was little due to discussions that started on the National Childbirth Trust forum – both families left their baby paraphenalia for each other so they had less to take with them (and of course for travel to the UK you don’t have to pay for flights either).
I originally found all my swaps through a website called Home exchange.com, which costs £146 a year to join. Other home exchange sites include UK-based LoveHomeSwap.com, which charges £7.60 to £11 per month, and Homelink.org, which costs £115 for a year or £250 for three years. Once you pay the registration fee, everything else is free.
You can really go on holiday for free if you are willing to be a little flexible through home exchange
But you have to be careful. After all, you open your house to a stranger, so many regular home exchangers make sure they exchange with people who already have many good references from other families and lock up valuables.
It’s also helpful to have a phone call or, better yet, a video call before trading, just to get to know each other better.
The websites listed above don’t have built-in insurance for swaps, so it’s a good idea to talk to your home insurer before swapping to make sure you’re covered while the other family is in your home, or if you have extra take cover. You also need to be flexible, as you may need to move your vacation dates to suit the family you’re swapping with.
While looking for someone to trade with in Boston, I approached a few different people and Carolyn came back to me and said she would like to trade but couldn’t do the exact time I asked. However, she had a spare room, so she offered to let me stay there for my dates and then she would use my flat later in the year.
That worked for me. I stayed in her spare room, we got along really well, and when she came over later in the year I just booked another holiday elsewhere before then so she had the whole flat to herself.
Not everyone can be that flexible of course, so it doesn’t work for every holiday. And not everyone is completely comfortable having a stranger in the house. But for those concerned about someone rummaging through their sock drawer, I tend to assume that house swappers, like me, aren’t interested in other people’s socks. They are in the city and live big instead!
Even if you really want to go to a hotel or a resort, rather than stay at someone else’s home, you can effectively get it for free by renting out your home while you’re away, either through word of mouth with friends or through advertise on Airbnb.com — or OneFineStay.com if you have a fancy place.
That’s what my friend Tira does with her flat when she goes swimming in Italy for three weeks in August. She’s been calling friends to bring people in to rent her house while she’s gone and she’s managed to rent it out for two of the weeks she’s on vacation. That covers most of her vacation expenses.
If you don’t have your own home to trade or rent, it’s worth looking into Couchsurfing.com. With Couchsurfing.com you can travel the world, sleeping for free one or two nights in a row on someone’s couch or in their guest room. In return, you offer the same to travelers coming to your area.
Granted, it’s usually more appealing to Generation Zers and Millennials than to older travelers, but if you’re adventurous and open to new experiences, it can be a fun option.
It doesn’t cost to join Couchsurfing.com, but to get the most out of it, it’s a good idea to attend some of their events and meet Couchsurfers to learn more.
You can make money on Instagram at any age
It’s not just social media-loving celebrities like the Kardashians who can make good money from Instagram. People all over the world make a living through the platform – or even run a business.
Some sell products, others are paid to review products or get free offers from brands to promote.
And don’t think you have to be a youngster or computer expert to make it work for you. It’s about creating compelling content and engaging with an audience.
Go to Instagram.com and set up your profile. Then start posting interesting, funny or informative photos and videos – and stay in touch with people who comment on or like your posts.
Helen Ruth Elam van Winkle aka Queen of the Insta-grans has 3.3 million followers @baddiewinkle
Caroline Labouchere (@CarolineLabouchere), a 57-year-old mother of two, married to a former British Army officer, started modeling four years ago – now she has nearly 500,000 followers. There is a high demand for brands from brands that want to advertise her for their products.
If you make items for sale, you can thrash them through the Instagram Shop feature when using the platform on your smartphone. All you need are good photos and a way for people to contact you through the platform.
UK-based company Positive Bakes (@Positivebakes) sells its cakes this way.
There is also a growing group of ‘Insta-grans’ being courted by big brands.
Queen of the Insta-grans is American Helen Ruth Elam van Winkle, aka @baddiewinkle. Born in 1928, she has 3.3 million followers.
While you’re there, follow me on @JasmineBirtles and @MoneyMagpie!
Kids can eat for £1 on family outings this summer
Want a family meal that won’t break the bank? From Monday to Wednesday next week, kids can eat at Toby Carvery, Harvester and Stonehouse Pizza & Carvery for £1 when bought alongside an adult main meal. Download the restaurant’s app and save your voucher.
At Jo! Sushi, children under 10 can get a free meal Monday to Thursday between 3-5:30 pm if an adult spends a minimum of £10.
Next week Monday to Wednesday kids can eat for £1 at Toby Carvery, Harvester and Stonehouse Pizza & Carvery
If you buy breakfast at a Beefeater, TableTable or Brewers Fayre during school holidays, under 16s get one for free.
Until September 3, kids can get a hot meal from the kids’ menu, plus jelly, soft drinks and fruit for between 95 cents and £1.50 at IKEA.
Bella Italia offers three course meals for children under 11 for £1 between 4-6pm, Monday to Thursday, when diners purchase at least one adult meal.
The Pausa cafe in Dunelm stores in the UK offers free meals for children all summer, with one child’s meal for every £4 spent there.
Klass is a UK-based women’s fashion retailer that has been designing and manufacturing its products for over 35 years, offering affordable style. Now you can get 20 percent off the brand, plus free shipping, with the code SUMMER20. Go to: klass.co.uk
Summer vacation can be tough for working parents. But the government is giving a 20 percent surcharge to pay holiday clubs, childminders or nurseries to people with tax-free childcare bills. For every £8 paid, families will receive an additional £2. Get £2,000 a year by registering at gov.uk/tax-free-childcare for children up to 11 years old (or 17 if they are disabled).