Money Wellness
Illustration of people on the beach
category iconmoney saver
calendar icon03 Jul 2024

A budget beach day

There’s no better place to be on a hot summer’s day than by the sea. But if you’ve got to buy beach essentials, lunch for the whole family and toys for the kids, your wallet can take a hit.

So here’s our budget-friendly guide to a day at the beach.

Pack your own lunch

As tempting as it may be to treat yourself to fish & chips at the seaside, it’s much cheaper to prep your own picnic, making sure you bring enough snacks and drinks for the full day.

To satisfy those fishy cravings, make your own fish finger sandwiches at home and wrap them in foil to keep them secure.

Freeze water bottles

On a sunny day, drinks can get unpleasantly warm fast. To beat this, put water bottles in the freezer the night before you hit the beach. The ice will melt gradually throughout the day, keeping your water fresh so you’re not tempted to buy overpriced drinks from a nearby shop.

If you’ve got an ice cooler, pop your bottles in to keep them cold for even longer.

Don’t skip the sun cream

Avoiding nasty burns is crucial for your long-term health. Thankfully, chemists often sell discounted sun cream brands or have buy-one-get-one-free deals on at this time of year. If you spot a deal, best to stock up while it’s cheap with enough to last the family all summer.

Cheap brands are generally just as effective - what matters most is the level of protection. You should be all set with any bottle marked SPF 30 or 50. Make sure you follow the instructions on the bottle about how often you need to reapply.

Get second-hand stuff

Shelling out for beach chairs and parasols might seem a bit excessive if you’re only going to get to use them on the two days a year the sun deigns to show its face in the UK.

But there are plenty of websites where people sell nearly-new or barely-used stuff for a fraction of the original cost, like Gumtree, Facebook marketplace, and Ebay. Check what condition the item’s in and contact the vendor for more information if you have any doubts. You might even get lucky and find a free ice cooler someone’s offering for free, just to get rid of it.

Avoid paying anything upfront and agree to pay when you meet up with the vendor to collect. If you’re ordering items online, it’s best not to pay directly into a seller’s bank account - use a person-to-person payment site instead, like PayPal. You can report any suspected fraud to the police, but be aware that the shopping website might not refund you if you get scammed.

DIY games

Instead of buying a load of plastic sand rakes and buckets, try making your own games to keep the kids occupied.

Did you know you can make a kite out of a plastic bag, and a frisbee from paper plates? And you don’t have to limit yourself to building sandcastles. Let your kids’ imaginations run wild by challenging them to come up with something more original – all they need are some sticks to dig and an old bucket.

Keep an eye out for deals

If you’ve got a Tesco Clubcard, you can convert your points into vouchers on lots of seaside attractions.

For example, you can turn every 50p in vouchers into £1 towards tickets to Blackpool Pleasure Beach, and top-up the price difference with another payment method.

Discount codes

You might be able to find discount codes for seaside amusement parks and activities on websites like VoucherCodes and Widilo Cashback.

People often find good discounts through sites like these but it’s important to be weary of potential scams. Before you buy anything, it’s best to check how reliable the site is on a review website like Trustpilot.

Save on transport

If you’re travelling by car, parking a little further from the beach tends to be cheaper.

If you’re getting the train, check that all your railcards are up-to-date. You can get a Family & Friends Railcard for £30 a year to save a third on adult fares and 60% on kids’ fares throughout Great Britain.

Make sure you book your tickets in advance to get the best deals. Traveling during off-peak hours tends to be cheaper too, and lets you avoid rush-hour crowds.

Connie Enzler

Connie is a multimedia money-wellness-in-work expert, with a master's in multimedia journalism and over five years' experience as a digital writer and podcast creator. Connie is committed to making debt and personal finance information accessible to all.

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