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    • MSE Jenny
    • By MSE Jenny 29th Jul 08, 11:39 AM
    • 1,233Posts
    • 3,567Thanks
    MSE Jenny
    The great “how to save money when you’ve more than two kids” hunt
    • #1
    • 29th Jul 08, 11:39 AM
    The great “how to save money when you’ve more than two kids” hunt 29th Jul 08 at 11:39 AM
    It’s tough to save when you’ve a bigger-than-average brood. From package holidays to family theme park tickets, companies assume that a family equals two adults and two kids. So I want to tap MoneySavers’ for their tips on tricks to cut the cost.

    Are there any attractions or restaurants that offer big family-friendly deals? How do you cut the cost of package holidays and flights? How can you save on days out, for instance buying two family tickets rather than extra individual ones? Any other loopholes?

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    Last edited by Former MSE Wendy; 29-07-2008 at 5:50 PM.
Page 1
    • Uniscots97
    • By Uniscots97 29th Jul 08, 3:44 PM
    • 6,422 Posts
    • 23,816 Thanks
    • #2
    • 29th Jul 08, 3:44 PM
    • #2
    • 29th Jul 08, 3:44 PM
    My friend has three children and she's found this problem. For days out they tended to stick to the free museums and parks rather than amusement parks as they cost. When they did go to Ireland (first time the kids had been on a plane) she called the airline's booking line (budget airline) and asked what discounts they did for big groups. She actually got 15% knocked off just for asking!

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    Last edited by Former MSE Andrea; 05-08-2008 at 12:46 PM.
    CC2 = Ł8687.86 (Ł10000 )CC1 = Ł0 (Ł9983 ); Reusing shopping bags savings =Ł5.80 vs spent Ł1.05.Wine is like opera. You can enjoy it even if you don't understand it and too much can give you a headache the next day J
  • bertiebots
    • #3
    • 29th Jul 08, 4:06 PM
    • #3
    • 29th Jul 08, 4:06 PM
    Supermarkets often give vouchers away for theme parks sea life centres etc..usualy they are for a free place with one paying adult. These can be cheaper than the family ticket.Our local sainsburys is doing this at the moment.There are sometimes offers in school magazines(sent home with the kids) I have 3 kids and look out for places that do family tickets for up to 3 children. Unfortunatley this is not the norm so if the price is too high we simply dont go. As for food and eating out the food portions are so large that if you are going for somewhere like pizza hut (pricey but a nice treat) the family meal deals are more than enough for 2 adults and 3 kids and with unlimited drinks and icecream can work out cheaper than a pub meal etc.
    We are lucky to have access to free museums and parks in our local area and a I often do a picnic for a cheap day out (check out your councils web site for events).
    As for holidays abroad they are simply too expensive so we go camping in the uk....and love it !(and its very cheap!!)
    JAN GC- Ł155.77 out of Ł200 FEB GC Ł197.31 out of Ł180. MARCH GC - out of Ł200
  • foreversomeday
    • #4
    • 29th Jul 08, 4:35 PM
    • #4
    • 29th Jul 08, 4:35 PM
    This is sort of related...

    For people who already have 2 children and are expecting/thinking of having another, there is no need to buy a 7 seater car just yet! There is a loophole in the law which says if you have two child/infant/booster seats in the back of a car, the middle seat need not have one, as long as the oldest child sits there. This is because it is impossible to fit three child seats in the back of most standard 5 seater cars.

    The other way around it is to have the other parent sitting in the middle, and the third child seat in the front, but be careful of airbags and bear in mind an adult set of hips and shoulders is going to be more of a squeeze between two child or infant seats.

    From a safety/comfort point of view, it's best though to have a 3-point seatbelt fitted in the middle seat and to use a gadget which moves the seatbelt down off the child's neck and across their shoulder (it encourages them to wear the seatbelt correctly).
    I don't believe and I never did that two wrongs make a right
  • Broken hearted
    • #5
    • 29th Jul 08, 4:36 PM
    • #5
    • 29th Jul 08, 4:36 PM
    Our local authority is doing free sports taster sessions so no matter how many kids you have they can all go have a fun day and learn something new.
    Barclaycard 3800

    Nothing to do but hibernate till spring

    • mrcow
    • By mrcow 29th Jul 08, 5:23 PM
    • 14,427 Posts
    • 30,435 Thanks
    • #6
    • 29th Jul 08, 5:23 PM
    • #6
    • 29th Jul 08, 5:23 PM
    Well my third is still only just 1 1/2 years, so a lot of this is new to me.

    One way I've found of saving money on holidays is to go in a caravan instead as most hotel rooms won't "house" us all together. We've rented Siblu caravans in France for three holidays now and I've been delighted with all of them. They sleep eight and the parks have loads of facilities and so we're not paying loads more than a family of four would. I combined the last holiday with Tesco clubcard deals and it cost us £111 in total in the end for a week during the Easter holiday in a Paris park including Channel crossing. (Just ideal for Euro Disney and we had our own transport too so we saved money by being self catering).

    We've had to change the way that we eat out too. I often get two kids meals and an extra plate and split the options between everybody (and share my meal too).

    I've also started making lots of use of the free events that are on offer now. Kent Wildlife trust have loads of free family events as do our local libraries (especially during summer) and our church and we've even signed up for the free Kung-Fu lesson offers with McDonalds recently.

    Something else that happens is that I make it general knowledge that I often run out of clothes as they grow so fast and so I'm always being given bags of 2nd hand clothes from freinds which have hardly been worn. It's great as it saves me a fortune and it also means that my friends can get rid of their clothes clutter in a guilt -free way as they know it's all appreciated. Any stuff I don't use, I Ebay.

    Also, I've adopted the strategy of never buying anything new if Ebay will acceptably save me money. All my childrens' bike are 2nd hand and it's not made one jot of difference - I'll be selling them all when they've grown out of them.

    I love having a big family. Some things are more difficult and expensive, but my children are great company for each other and all get on really well.
    Last edited by mrcow; 29-07-2008 at 5:25 PM.
    "One day I realised that when you are lying in your grave, it's no good saying, "I was too shy, too frightened."
    Because by then you've blown your chances. That's it."
    • eadieb
    • By eadieb 29th Jul 08, 11:36 PM
    • 238 Posts
    • 158 Thanks
    • #7
    • 29th Jul 08, 11:36 PM
    • #7
    • 29th Jul 08, 11:36 PM
    We have 4 children and are increasingly finding we have to consider the costs of everything we spend our money on. We tend to go camping but have noticed a recent trend in our area for the prices of camp sites to have increased dramatically with some places having a standard price for a 2 person or 4 person tent but then charging on top for each additional child per night (even the baby). so I am now avoiding these and this year visiting the ever more basic camp sites (cheapest this year £6 for all of us for the night).

    Every year we go on one of the newspaper cheap caravan holidays. We tend to get a park within an hours drive away and have sometimes managed to combine a 4 night and a 3 night break together, to form a very cheap week's holiday.

    If we go on trips to cities or in winter, we tend to wedge all 6 of us in a Travelodge family room booked via their website on a special offer, and bring our own cereal and bowls etc with us for cheap breakfasts.

    We live in a tourist area with lots of adventure parks and kids farms and zoo etc. So each year we get an annual family membership card for one of the attractions, so we always have the option of going somewhere for a day out. We also live near lots of beaches and country walks which are free, but we make sure we take packed lunches, drinks, consider the petrol cost and cost of parking.

    If we go for lunch in a cafe, we now tend to just buy 3 or 4 kids meals or meal box's and then we (adults) have a hot drink and eat the leftovers. this has the added bonus of less moaning at the children about eating all their food. We used to try to get the kids to share meals but invariably an argument would ensue so we find this a better way. I always bring our own kids beakers full of juice/water everywhere we go.

    Since last year our aim is to buy approx. two thirds of all birthday and xmas pressies for the children, second hand or on ebay. last year we got a pair of Powerizer jumping stilts for my 12 year old on ebay and she loved them. But there is no way I could ever have bought them new. I try to build up a pot of money on my ebay paypal account by selling stuff whenever I can. I have now become so stingy that when recently choosing some new presents for my one year old, I took into account whether they would be good to resell and as we unrapped each present for him I was putting all the boxes into a bag for the loft, so that the items can be boxed when I sell them on.

    I try to get several pairs of shoes when sales are on but its difficult to guess what the weather will be like when they grow into the next size up. We have 3 girls and our 4th is a boy. All the girls clothes get handed down where possible but I do treat them all to new clothes as well (currently Sainsburys have loads of stuff at half price). I have been dressing my one year old boy in a purple girls coat for the last few months but he hasnt complained.

    Our school PTA run a second hand uniform stall where parents donate any clothes and it is all sold at £1 per item.

    Hope some of this might be of use! Sorry for rambling
    Last edited by Former MSE Andrea; 05-08-2008 at 12:45 PM.
    • Ancalime
    • By Ancalime 30th Jul 08, 1:32 AM
    • 82 Posts
    • 51 Thanks
    • #8
    • 30th Jul 08, 1:32 AM
    large broods
    • #8
    • 30th Jul 08, 1:32 AM
    I'm the eldest of ten siblings, the only place that we found a family ticket that was actually a whole family ticket was in southern Ireland. At that point there was seven kids and two adults and we were visiting a castle with one of those mock historic villages in it's grounds I've forgotten the name of it unfortunatly. But on the way in I remember a group of visiting nuns smiling at my parents assuming were were a good practising catholic family. lol

    Some of the things I've watch my mum do to keep the family entertained on a budget are take them swimming during the holidays when the free swims are available for the wee ones. We also take advantage of a lot of local community activities such as the school galas, open days and in Fife there are open door days when you don't have to pay the entrance fees to museums and attractions. They are also members of the kids film club at the odeon which gives them a discount.

    As for holidays we didn't go abroad my Dad hired a mini bus and we would stay in a holiday home, it usually took some hunting to find one big enough. Maybe not the most money saving way but it was always fun.

    With so many of us there was always someone around to keep you entertained even if that was a good
    New house, garden and kitten. oh my!
    Member 258# of Murphy the Cats no more pies club
    • Thefunkygibbons
    • By Thefunkygibbons 30th Jul 08, 6:31 AM
    • 1,362 Posts
    • 758 Thanks
    • #9
    • 30th Jul 08, 6:31 AM
    • #9
    • 30th Jul 08, 6:31 AM
    With five kids, I know this problem

    We are off camping this year and it is taking a lot of digging to find a campsite that charges by the unit rather than the number of people

    The worst sites are close to Ł40 a night for 7 people, whereas some digging can more than half this, although I would be happier if it was nearer Ł12
  • rag31
    It's so ridiculous that everything is geared towards families with two children. We have 4 children and it is rare to get a family ticket or a room that can fit us all in - hey! We are a family so should be included on a 'family ticket'. Anyway.

    We go camping and have found as said that campsites are tending to only include 2 adults and charge extra per child which is annoying.

    Most Youth Hostels do family rooms, we have been looking recently in SW England and the costs are from Ł77 for a family room sleeping 6 - sometimes this includes breakfast. And the hostels are in really picturesque places.

    Hilton hotels automatically do a second room half price for children, though it won't do it if searching online. You have to telephone them. We have found a few times that this is cheaper than nearby travellodges or premier inn's.

    We have found that it is cheaper to book cheap flights, and organise our own accommodation abroad most of the time. Campsites in the rest of Europe seem to be far superior to most of the equivilants here, and kids clubs etc are thrown in.

    We have also booked and stayed in 'hostal's in Spain which are not hostels like here, but small guest houses and with a bit of searching we have found really excellent accommodation on a really small budget (25 euros per night for family room sleeping 5 or 6) and they are very helpful.

    A really cool idea which we are going to try out next year is a house swap with another family. There are big reputable companies online, and a charity I belong to runs one for members. You get to swap with other families with children which means not only do you get to holiday in a large enough house with toys and baby equipment for free, you also get someone to look after your house/pets/toys too!

    With having 4 children we finally had to go for a people carrier, which annoys me no end as a lot of the time there are only 1 or 2 children and 1 adult in it so it's a waste of money as it consumes a lot of petrol. We have actually worked out the mpg and done all the sums and we are getting a small car to use the majority of the car with people carrier maybe once a week, and expect to save approximately Ł500 a year.

    For big families train fares and bus fares are ridiculous, even with family railcards etc. So, we rarely use them which is a shame but we can't afford to pay 2 or 3 times the cost of a journey by car for our environmental principles.

    We buy a lot from ebay, out of the paper, and from charity shops and are always on the look out for bargains in the shops.

    Hope that lot might be of use to someone somewhere....

  • aplegjnf
    Has English Heritage membership been mentioned? For £62 a year for joint adults, upto 12 children can go into an attraction for free. Each adult membership at English Heritage lets 6 under 19s in too. They don't have to be a part of the family, we have often taken our children's friends with us. Sometimes there are additional costs if a place is having a re-enactment, but usually just £5 -6 to include anyone on the family ticket.
    If you also read the small print, a 16 - 18 yo can use their parent's membership card to gain entry on their own.

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    Last edited by Former MSE Andrea; 05-08-2008 at 12:52 PM.
  • colin.t
    Not days out but a good saver for big families
    Hi this is my 1st post. My water company, Severn Trent, cap water reates at the regional average for families with 4 or more children. It is called the vulnerable household schems - which sounds a bit sad- but saves us considerable cash.
    They do not advertise this very well so you have to phone and enquire about the scheme.
    I do not know if other water companies do the same thing but it may be that it is an offwat requirement???
    Good luck money saving.
  • pickledegg
    With regards to TOO expensive hols abroad, yes they can be, but we found that were very cheap if you book well in advance. I took my three kids (8,15,17) last year to Majorca, self catering for 2 weeks in October for Ł500, for the four of us,inc flights and transfers and inc the October half term week. The tip we found was to put down as three adults and one free child place, brings the costs down. Hope this helps.
    • oramgepekoe
    • By oramgepekoe 30th Jul 08, 8:15 AM
    • 567 Posts
    • 276 Thanks
    Has English Heritage membership been mentioned? For Ł62 a year for joint adults, upto 12 children can go into an attraction for free. Each adult membership at English Heritage lets 6 under 19s in too. They don't have to be a part of the family, we have often taken our children's friends with us. Sometimes there are additional costs if a place is having a re-enactment, but usually just Ł5 -6 to include anyone on the family ticket.
    If you also read the small print, a 16 - 18 yo can use their parent's membership card to gain entry on their own.
    Originally posted by aplegjnf

    You can buy English Heritage annual membership using Tesco clubcard deals which makes it even cheaper.
  • ang8888
    First time so hope this works
    I have 7 kids and the best money saving item I have found this summer is with Scot Rail when you buy an adult ticket you get 2 kids free so I bought 2 Adult tickets and got 4 kids free and my other 3 kids are under 5 so I dont pay for them anyway!! We had a great and very cheap day out
    • HalfPint
    • By HalfPint 30th Jul 08, 8:18 AM
    • 634 Posts
    • 766 Thanks
    I know exactly this problem. We have 4 children ranging from 11 to 2. There are not enough places to go that cater for 2+4 family tickets. Days out are usually limited to free places and making our own free entertainment. We've found a few places that do 2+3 tickets, but next year (and even now with some places) we have to buy an extra ticket for our 2 year old!

    Holidays - we, like others on here, took up camping but are finding it increasingly difficult to find sites that don't charge per person or again they accomodate the 2+2 family and we have to pay extra for the other children, or the larger tent.

    Last year and this year we've taken holidays with "in laws" for a week in the summer, so the kids can see family and we do beaches and parks etc, and taken another week either early in the year or in late October. Just a few days ago we managed to grab a bagain luxury caravan in cornwall for the October half term for just Ł200 (and the dog comes free too!) We did this by a lot of searching on line and booking direct with the owner - as opposed to booking through the park. a lot of people complain about the weather in october but we never let rain stop us doing stuff, we just get wet lol.

    We don't do holidays abroad yet but are looking at budget ways of achieving this - any tips are more than welcome! (I like the house swap idea tho we all live in a 2 bed flat!)

    The in laws are always sending us the vouchers from tesco for free days out and of course the latest Kellogs free swim, so we make the most of these offers.

    This year I've taken advantage of a local club, run by the church for a week, for ks1 & ks2 kids. It's free, they get to do lots of activities and even go on a day trip, and Im not having to worry about childcare for this week.

    Childcare is another holiday expense where we save money. We still have to sort out the little one but we are very lucky as we both have jobs where we can be fleixble (and an understanding boss), The kids stay with me at work (with things like drawing & stuff to do) for a couple of hours in the morning, they are then collected by my other half, a local postie, and they go out on his round, walking with him and getting play in the play park which is halfway round. This usually only happens on a couple of days a week due to rotating days off for my oh and cause I only work 3 days a week.

    We try and educate the kids that you don't always need to go to a theme park, zoo or other attraction to have fun. Walking and exploring the local area and beaches can be great fun (as long as you dont mind getting dirty and/or wet)

    We have to have a people carrier but try to save on it by walking where we can and making sure its serviced regularly so that is remains as economical as a pc can be. We've looked at getting 2 smaller cars but dont think that we'll be any better off.

    I take any hand me downs i get from friends and family. I use the school's end of year "lost property table" to get their branded items, and search the second hand stores too. The kids do get new stuff but very rarely a "branded" or "designer" item. Asda and Tesco do a great range of budget clothing for kids.

    Eating out - at the moment I never pay for the littlest. I ask for an extra plate and he gets some food from each of us. We take sandwiches and a couple of bottles of squash with us whenever we go out for the day. When we do go for lunch or meals we try to take advantage of any offers that may be on.

    Anyway rambled on enuff, I think we should start a MSE campaign to get places to make family tickets at least 2+4 and raise the age at which we have to pay for toddlers. a 2 or 3 year old very rarely gets the same out of a theme trip/national trust visit as a kid aged 5 upwards. (I know there are exceptions to this which is fair enuff)

    I hope this helps and I'm gonna keep on reading to pick up more tips from the rest of you.

    PS: the website we found the caravan on was,

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    Last edited by Former MSE Natasha; 05-08-2008 at 11:05 AM. Reason: added information.
    DEBT FREE DATE: 05/02/2015!

    Those things in life that we find the hardest to do, are the things we are the most thankful we did.
    • kimnhol
    • By kimnhol 30th Jul 08, 8:37 AM
    • 61 Posts
    • 152 Thanks
    I have 4 children and find my children dont miss out they just have to be a bit more patient :rolleyes: I cant afford to buy ice ceams at an ice cream van but we always stop of at a supermarket on the way home and buy a pack normally bogof and they are more than happy as it seems an extra treat at the end of the day.
    We shall be using the cereal vouchers to take them swimming for free, walkers brit vouchers to visit stately homes (complete with picnic). Tesco vouchers to do a theme park and zoo. Ive also done them all a comic subscription with tesco vouchers so i dont feel bad keep saying no in the shops.
    I shop at asda as I found this cheapest but collect tesco points by having my gas and electric with the company conected to tesco and use the extra points vouchers when the come through the door. Car boot sales for clothes and toys although my children would never admit to there school friends this is the case :rolleyes:.
    Caravan holidays and lots of forward planning .
    2013 the year to be more organised
  • ajbajb
    Holidays for larger families
    With three children of our own this a problem we know only too well! So much so, we set up a website to help families find holidays as we found that trying to book a hotel room for five was becoming a big problem - in some countries it is not permitted by law (depending on the type of room) and in other countries they will try to have you believe it's illegal (when it isn't).

    We would love to hear from you if you have recommendations on where to stay, what to do etc. if you have two or more children. Please visit the site and use the 'contact us' page to email us.

    A tip for anybody flying from Heathrow - book direct with the Renaissance, where you can park really cheaply, it's next door to the airport and they have plenty of interconnecting rooms - often at 2-for-1 rates!

    Note: the website carries affiliate links - I have to make it pay for itself somehow! MSE Admin, please let me know if this message is inappropriate.
  • SmellyOldSock
    We visited Colchester Zoo yesterday thanks to Tesco Club Card deals. I have 3 of my own and 3 step children ages from 21 months to 15 years.

    We're lucky enough to live 3 miles from the beach, so each morning I pack some drinks and biscuits up and go there till lunch time, I find this is long enough. Then home for play/meeting with friends.

    I have a plan of action for rainy days, thanks to News Of the World, and an extra treat 50% off Pizza hut.

    I also find it annoying about the age/pricing. At 15 my eldest step daughter is not legally an adult but is expected at some places to pay adult price!

    I look forward to any other ideas people have for days out etc.

    Also the library are doing there summer read challenge, the children read 6 books and get stickers and stuff through the summer hols, my love it, if only for the stickers!

    best wishes
    Toughest form of moutain climbing is climbing out of a rut
    I WILL be debt free!
    I WILL be happy!
    red pen member 4
  • burgers3
    Hi we have 5 kids , 1 lives in a wheelchair so we find it vey hard to do holidays but when the last 2 came along (yes twins) , we had to make some very big changes so we started camping which we have been doing for the last 5 years now and have found this is the best way to go, for us we tend to only use the sites that we can put as many tents up as we have but only pay for the amount of people and so far this has worked well but we also need disabled amenaties so we strugle to find good sites. There are plenty of web sites to get started in camping, we got our main tent a 12 berth with a Hydrostatic Head: 3000 for Ł175 and we just wait until there is a sale on if we need to upgrade. (if you need/want any advice just give me a shout) Make sure you get the right tent for you! English Heritage membership is a great way for us to save as we usualy have my kid brother wife and the 2 boys come for a couple of days so we go up to a 11 family wich is very expensive. Food is a problem (we have to feed the kids ) but we will go to any suppermarket that sell cooked chicken and get some bread rolls we can feed the lot of us for less than Ł10 and we do this once or twice a week, aldi/lidel they are good places as well. We are going for 3 weeks this year for Ł600 for the 7 of us and the site is great nothing for miles but great walks and just sitting and talking the kids range from 15 yrs down to 6yrs. Have a good summer.

    Last edited by burgers3; 30-07-2008 at 10:22 AM.
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