Making the most of your budget on a holiday in Spain effectively means you can create more magical memories for less money. I remember a family holiday to Spain with my parents many years ago. We were joined by my Auntie Margaret and Uncle Cyril and my cousin Sean. There was tension sometimes as my parents were keen to spend whereas my aunt and uncle were keen to save as much money as  possible. So I thought I would suggest some ways you can save money on a holiday in Spain such as those available from Holiday Gems online.


If you go to Spain in the school holidays, you will pay more and you may find the resorts are annoyingly busy. As a home educator, we really can benefit from taking breaks outside of school holiday periods. That is not possible for everyone but if you can travel out of season, it is worth considering.


Firstly remember you probably don’t need designer luggage. Is it better to have that or to have money available for a special day out whilst you are away? Ensure you know the size and weight restrictions for your luggage set by the airline. Excess charges can really hurt your wallet. Bring your own plastic bags to take your liquids through security. Take items that you love with you such as salt, pepper, tea bags, washing powder, dishwasher tablets and bin bags.


In the olden days, my Dad used to do as much research in the library about our holiday destinations. Nowadays if we are savvy we can use the Internet well in advance not only to check out places we want to visit but also special discounts and deals. Yes, you might have to sign up to email newsletters but if it means saving some pennies and pounds it might just be worth it.

Food and drink

You can easily spend way too much money on food and drink. On days out you can make your own picnic rather than relying on food outlets. Not only will this save you money but you can tailor the picnic to your family’s food preferences and cater for any allergies and special diets. If you do go to a restaurant lunchtime eating tends to be cheaper and look out for the menu del día. As for drinks try the local wine and draught beer or cerveza de barril is cheaper than bottled beer. Ask for tap water rather than laying out for expensive mineral water. If you see servicio incluido on a bill, you do not need to leave a tip.

Getting around

Walking is free and often results in you finding hidden gems as you go off the beaten track including cheaper cafes, restaurants and bars.  If walking is too much for you or family members, ensure you look into travel passes. Check out any special provision for older people, younger people, disabled people and students.

Other places where savings can be made include car hire and fuel costs, banking and the use of technology. It’s back to doing that Internet research before you go. Finally ensure you take out travel insurance and get your free European Health Insurance Card.

Do you have any tips for making the most of your budget when on holiday in Spain?


My Random Musings

The PPI deadline is getting closer every day. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has set 29th August 2019 as the official date. But, what does this even mean? Why is this relevant?

As you are likely aware by now, PPI (Payment Protection Insurance) was widely mis-sold to customers during the 1990s and early 2000s. Mis-selling tactics included telling customers the insurance was compulsory with products such as credit cards, loans and mortgages.

For over a decade, customers have been making claims to their bank or lender for mis-sold PPI and receiving a refund. To date, the banks have paid over £30 billion back to consumers.

For years, the banks have been setting aside money to refund customers, but a deadline has now been put in place. The aim of the deadline is to encourage people to make a claim, rather than put it off. The FCA wants to draw a line under the mis-selling scandal and allow businesses and consumers to finally move on.

If you think you might have been mis-sold PPI, or if you’re not sure, you must contact the bank before 29th August 2019.

How to Make a PPI Claim

Making a PPI claim is a simple, but potentially lengthy, process. The most important thing is to start now, because a claim can take a number of months and the banks will likely get busier as we near the deadline.

There are three main components of a PPI claim:

  1.  Find old paperwork with evidence of mis-sold PPI

This can be the most challenging part for many people. If you can find your old financial paperwork with PPI listed then you have a case. At this point, you can contact a claims company to make a claim on your behalf or contact the bank yourself. If you can’t find any evidence or old paperwork, you can contact the relevant bank or lender to enquire. Alternatively, a PPI claims company will be able to check any old accounts for you.

  1. Make a claim to the bank

When contacting the bank, you will need to present the evidence of PPI (found on your paperwork) and explain how it was mis-sold to you. Do you remember being told it was compulsory or that it would increase your credit score?  You can now also complain about the level of commission on your PPI — we’ll look at this in a moment. There are a number of ways that the insurance was mis-sold to consumers.

  1. The outcome: receive a refund or send the case to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS)

The bank should provide a response to your claim within eight weeks of acknowledging your complaint. However, if you have more than one case, or if it’s a particularly old account, it can take longer. When you receive your refund, you’ll be sent a breakdown of how much you will get back and how the payment will be made.

If your claim is rejected, but you believe that you have a strong case, you can refer your case to the Financial Ombudsman. Its role is to independently deal with rejected claims. However, the backlog of claims at the FOS is huge and it can take up to two years for a resolution.

What Is Plevin?

When researching PPI, you might have come across the term Plevin. Plevin refers to a PPI case made by Mrs Susan Plevin. Her precedent-setting PPI case changed the landscape for claims, meaning that thousands more people can make a case to their bank.

The Plevin ruling is all about the commission. Did your bank disclose to you how much commission was on the PPI sale? More than likely, the answer is no. Even if you knowingly bought PPI, for example, because you wanted it, you can still make a claim based on the commission if the following two conditions are met:

  1. The amount of commission was not disclosed to you during the sale
  2. The commission amount was over 50%.

During the case of Mrs Plevin, it was revealed that 71% of her PPI sale was a commission. This staggering amount means that people in similar situations can make a successful claim. At the height of the mis-selling scandal, it was common for banks to make 67% commission on the sale, meaning it’s likely you will have a case.

Even if your PPI claim is rejected, you can claim a second time based on the commission amount. However, if your first claim was successful, you won’t be able to make a Plevin claim.

Using a PPI Claims Company

PPI claims companies often attract negative press. From endless cold-calls to companies that have scammed people out of money without doing any work, it’s unsurprising that the industry has developed a poor reputation. But, for some, using a claims company isn’t always a bad option.

While you are able to contact the bank yourself and get your PPI refund, if you have no idea where to start with old financial products, or know you won’t get around to it before the August 2019 deadline, enlisting an honest claims company is the best solution.

Always find a no win, no fee claims company and check the amount they charge on successful claims. Thanks to a new government rule, PPI claims companies can no longer charge more than 20% + VAT (24% inclusive), but many companies charge less than this while still offering an excellent service.

Don’t delay starting your PPI claim. The PPI deadline will soon arrive and you don’t want to miss your opportunity to receive a refund.

The sun has the effect of making us want to go out and have some fun. This can be costly though, especially if you have children to pay for as well. However, it doesn’t have to be; if you plan carefully and take advantage of any special offers that some of the summer attractions have.


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Theme Parks

If you have two or three children, the cost of getting the whole family into a theme park can be enormous. It can cost you more than your weekly shop just to get in the gates before you do anything once you are inside. Theme parks are also the sorts of places that will have put discount codes on some websites though, or in some shops. They often related to a reduced price per person or a special discount if there are four or more of you. This can make a big difference to the cost of the entrance fees, so keep a watch out for the theme park voucher codes.

If you plan to go to a theme park and stay overnight, using Premier Inn voucher codes instead of staying onsite, can also work out cheaper when you have a large family to look after, so it’s always worth looking carefully at your options.

Not only that, but some of the supermarkets allow you to exchange your loyalty points for deals with the larger theme parks and that is worth checking out as well.


These days, museums are very child-friendly and often have an area dedicated just to the kids. But best of all most of them, are usually free. They can be the perfect antidote for the cries of boredom on a wet and rainy day.

Science museums are usually great fun for them as often there are experiments they can take part in.

Kids Love Picnics


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Take the kids to your local park, or the beach if you live near the coast and want a really cheap and cheerful day out. As long as they have a ball or something else to play with they can be happy for hours. Take a picnic with you, as children love to eat in this way. Also, pack plenty of fluids for them and then you might find that the most you have to spend is on an ice cream for everyone.

Use Your Back Garden

Why not invite a few friends, and let the children do the same and have a barbeque in your back garden. This need not cost much at all as most people now accept that they should bring food and drink with them. This is all just put together for everyone to help themselves. Some people love this idea as it lets them show off their cooking skills.

If you do not have a barbeque don’t let that stop you. Just have a table ready for everyone to put their contributions on and let them know any food should be cooked before they bring it.

This saves you standing over a hot stove, and lets you enjoy the get together along with everyone else.

A Bit Of Imagination


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A bit of imagination is all it needs to entertain your kids cheaply. Consider bike rides or the local swimming baths as well. These are both things you and they can enjoy without spending too much money. Have fun!


My Random Musings

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Coming up with ideas that are going boost your monetary situation is so important. The first place to start is by understanding what the modern money concerns are that we are all susceptible to facing, and what can be done to address them. You have to make sure you do as much as possible to come up with ideas that will help you get a better handle on your money. These are some of the biggest modern money concerns you’re going to need to deal with, and ideas to help you deal with them!


There is no doubt you’re going to be facing a lot of bills at some point in your life. This is a fact of life that none of us can get around. In fact, it’s a good bet that a fair amount of your expenses on a monthly basis are taken up with bills. You have to remember that there is a lot to think about in this regard, and doing what you can to trim your bills is so important. Consider switching your energy provider, changing your TV package, and going a little more eco-friendly.

Rising Debt

So many people face the costs of rising debt these days, and this can be crippling. You need to make sure you figure out what you can do to deal with the costs related to this. There are so many things that can affect your debt, and one of the biggest is to kerb your spending. The average Brit has debt of around £8,000, so this is a real concern for a lot of people moving forward. Speaking with a debt management company, and trying to pay off your credit cards as fast as possible is a good approach to take.



Mortgage Payments

Mortgage payments are one of the big necessities in life if you are serious about keeping the house. There are so many expenses we could do without, but, if you are a homeowner, it is crucial to make sure you keep up with mortgage payments as much as possible. This is something you need to make sure you focus on wherever possible and make sure you cut costs in other areas so you can make your mortgage payments each month. You might even consider lowering your payments temporarily until you are in a more comfortable financial position.

Being off Work

Sometimes things happen, and we wind up being off work. Now, this could be due to ill health or some kind of workplace accident that resulted in injury. The fact remains, if you are off work for long enough this can start to adversely affect your finances. So, you need to make sure you take action to deal with this. You should consider filing for compensation for your personal injury. Now, you might be wondering, is there a catch with no win no fee? In some cases, yes, but there are a lot of reputable companies out there where this isn’t an issue, and you are no worse off if your claim is unsuccessful.

Running a Car

A car is seen as a necessity for many, and a luxury for some, but either way it is an expense that can mount up. There are some pretty hefty running costs involved in owning and maintaining a car, and this is something to keep in mind. You will need to think about the costs of fuel, as well as road tax, insurance, maintenance, and MOT. There is a lot to pay for when you own a car, and one of the best ways around this might well be to stop using your car, or at the very least cut down on your usage.

Living Costs

You have to understand that there are going to be living costs as well, and these are unavoidable. This is the cost of things like food, parking, and just everyday things that are a part of life. Now, these are costs that can’t be avoided, but they can certainly be reduced. Try your hand at something like couponing, and do as much as you can to save costs on a daily basis. The more you can do to reduce spending the more money you will be saving, and the more disposable income you will be left with.



Trying to Save

Come up with as many ideas as you can to help you save more money. Trying to save is a big concern for a lot of people, and it can be very difficult to achieve. So, you have to come up with ideas that will help you make more savings and free up more cash. There are a lot of options you can use here, and it is important to think about where you can trim costs, and how you can earn more money on a monthly basis, allowing you to free up more cash.

Taking Holidays

Though they aren’t an essential part of life, holidays are pretty important. You work hard, and there is a lot of stress in modern life, and that means you need to get away once in a while. Holidays are great for detoxing and relaxing, but the problem is that they cost money. So, the thing to do is to come up with ideas that will help you to enjoy a less expensive holiday. You could look for special offers, fly last minute, or travel off-peak if you want to be sure you’re going to get the best possible deal.

Having Kids

Having kids is the dream of a lot of people, but it is easy to overlook how expensive this can be as a venture. So many people have children and fail to recognize how much this is going to affect their finances. Kids cost money, and raising kids can put a strain on the family budget, so this is something to remember. There are a few ways around this, and you might want to think about things like hand-me-downs in order to save you some money.

Insurance Costs

Insurance is a big thing to consider in daily life, and there are a lot of different areas in which insurance is a big deal. This is something that you have to consider in order to protect you and your family in the future. Now, insurance is going to cost money, but you need to make sure you look at how to reduce your insurance costs. There are a lot of premiums that you can get at reduced costs, and this is something to consider. Insurance costs are, in some ways, a necessary evil, so you have to think about the best way of doing this.


Let’s be honest, emergencies happen, and we often can’t legislate for these. But this is why it is important to keep some money aside in order to cover the expenses that emergencies can cause. Whether it is the car breaking down, the roof leaking, or an emergency hospital appointment, you need to make sure you are prepared. Setting aside some money every month or so to help you account for emergencies is actually really important. This is something you need to consider moving forward, and you have to consider how best to do this.


Investments are great for providing financial security in the future, and this is something that is important to keep in mind. There are loads of great investment opportunities these days, so you need to decide what you would like to invest in. This is an important decision to make for the future, and you need to understand that this is going to cost you money. Investment is crucial for the future, and you will need to pay out now in order to make sure you benefit from it later down the line. Think about the sort of investments you would like to make, and how much money you’re going to set aside for them on a monthly basis.

Getting Married

If you are in a loving and committed relationship the odds are you’re going to want to tie the knot at some point in your life. This is so important in terms of lifelong commitment, but you have to understand that weddings are an expense. Having said that, there is no obligation to have a lavish, expensive wedding. You can have a budget ceremony and get married as cheaply as possible, and this is a great way of helping you save money and cut costs.




Modern money concerns plague us all sometimes, and we need to come up with ideas that help us address these and deal with them. It is so important to come up with ideas that will help you to improve your personal finances and sort out these money concerns once and for all.

Confessions of a New Mummy

Saving money is something that is usually on at least one person’s mind in wedding season. It may be the bride and groom who are concerned that costs are getting out of control. If parents are paying, they want to appear generous but also have limited funds and are looking for ways to save wedding budget without looking tight. So many couples have children already either from their current or previous relationships and don’t want to put all their financial resource into just one day even if it is their Big Day. Every item on the budget can be considered as an area where savings can be made and wedding favours is one of them. You can spend a small fortune or check out wedding favour ideas for under £1 online.

History of wedding favours

Wedding favours certainly were given to wedding guests as far back as the 16th century often simple love knots made from lace and ribbon. European aristocrats gave fancy bonbonnieres containing sweet treats.  There is a tradition around giving five almonds representing fertility, longevity, health, wealth and happiness. Most of us will probably have received coloured almonds or bon-bons in tulle at a wedding  at some point. It is a pretty little memento of a lovely day.

My wedding favours

I have to confess I did not give wedding favours at my wedding. I wanted our day to be very individual and it did not include many of the traditional elements such as a first dance for example. I had always fancied having an outdoor picnic as my reception but as my parents were elderly by the time I tied the knot, I ruled that idea out in favour of a small sit-down dinner. My flowers were simple along with the cake. I did buy 6 wedding dresses which was not how to save wedding budget but that’s a whole other story! Anyway I guess I am saying do your day your way and if one item does not bother you, why invest money in it in the first place?

Home-made wedding favours

Of course, maybe I should have given my guests something to take home with them. I was not trying to be ungenerous. I simply put the focus on giving them a lovely day rather than something to take away with them. There are so many ways to save money on wedding favours with a little creative thought. My first suggestion is that you should not fall for the fancy marketing ploys seen in wedding magazines and at wedding shows. Wedding favours do not need to be pricey. You could consider giving a really personal touch by making something yourself for your guests to take home with them after your wedding. If you are a great baker, why not produce some yummy cookies which are bound to be welcome and a talking point too. It really is the thought that counts so a home-made treat made with love matters so much more than something pre-bought. If baking is not your thing, perhaps you could use your crafting skills in some way to create a memento of your day.

Shop around

Of course brides and grooms are very busy in the run-up to the wedding so perhaps you lack the time or inclination to go down the home-made route for wedding favours. If that is the case, do shop around to see what is available out there both on and offline. Look out for voucher codes, discounts and sales as you would for any other purchase.

Be inspired by ideas from around the world

If you want your wedding favours to stand out, why not take inspiration from other countries. In Spain, gentlemen guests are sometimes presented with a cigar. In Russia, you might get a tiny picture, a trinket or a candle. Mini wedding bells are given quite often in Ireland as favours whilst in India, you may be given a hand-crafted elephant. Perhaps your wedding favours could reflect the location of the wedding in some way or the place that you and your other half fell in love. Use your imagination and have fun with deciding on the perfect wedding favours for your Big Day.

So what will you decide? Will you take a bold decision like myself and do without wedding favours entirely or is that too harsh on your guests? Will you get creative and use your existing talents to make something very personal for your wedding favours? Or will time constraints lead you to look for affordable solutions online?

On reflection, I probably would give my wedding guests favours if I ever remarried. I did remember it was important to send thank-you letters and I did have party bags for the child guests so perhaps I did not do too badly really.

What is your favourite type of wedding favour?


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