Do You Have a Small Fortune Hidden Away in Your Attic?

It turns out those boxes of junk you’ve refused to throw out for years might be worth a lot of money to the right buyers online.

If you make the journey deep into your attic by braving the dust, spiders and Christmas decorations you could find a couple of retro hidden gems that are worth a tidy sum of money. Here’s some popular items to look for:

 

Pokemon cards

For most people in their twenties, the Pokemon international craze likely had you collecting cards and pestering your parents for booster packs – or maybe you were the parent being pestered!

Turns out, your cards could be worth thousands of pounds thanks to phenomenon making a comeback. Depending on the condition, a Charizard can fetch anything from £40 to £1,000, Blastoise from £30 to £1,000, and the complete base set from £100 to £2,000+. Here is a useful link to live Pokemon card prices.

 

Apple iPhone (First Generation)

The iPhone was originally released on June 29th 2007, but avid collectors are paying a premium to own a piece of smartphone history. Unboxed you can typically sell from anything between £100 to £500, but if you’re lucky enough to have a sealed version you can be getting £3,000+.

 

LEGO sculpture sets

We’ve all played with a LEGO set or two in our time, but enthusiasts are lining up to snap up rarer past releases, including the “sculpture exclusive” sets of popular architecture such as the Taj Mahal, Statue of Liberty and the Disney Castle. Some have been seen going for £1,000 a set.

 

Beanie Babies

The late 1990’s saw Beanie Babies emerge as a major fad with many seeing them as an “investment”, but the bubble eventually burst. However, collectors today are still interested in some of the rarer first edition Beanie Babies and are paying up to £1,000 for them. Here’s 5 of the most valuable:

  • Princess
  • Peanut (Royal Blue)
  • Brownie (Korean tag)
  • Patti (Magenta)
  • Pinchers

 

Star Wars memorabilia

Toys made in 1977 for the original Star Wars film have rocketed in price over the last few decades. The original character figurines can sell for a pretty penny if they’re in good condition. The R2D2 figure can sell for £300+, Han Solo for £600+, Leia for £600+ and the highly prized Darth Vader figure can sell for… over £8,000!

 

Broken electronics

You might have some old broken electronics taking up space, but you can still sell them for a tidy sum. Websites like eBay have thousands of broken electronics for sale that people use for replacement parts such as swapping batteries and screens around. A broken iPhone 6 for example can net you £80 to £100 and a broken PS4 can net you £50 to £100.

 

You could be sitting below a goldmine – so why not have a rummage through your old boxes and see what hidden gems you can find? We’ve also compiled a helpful guide on how to sell your unwanted items if you’re on a money saving mission.

University Graduate Survival Guide

University has come to and end and it’s finally time to face the real adult world. It is a scary prospect for all students. Sure, you’ve had a taste for adult life, paying your student rent and bills, studying and holding down a part-time job at the same time, but now for reality. The party lifestyle can continue for longer but you’ll have to do it whilst completely managing your own finances, possibly for the first time in your life. What do you need to do right now to ensure there is a smooth financial transition from your student life to life as a graduate?

There are a number of options open to you:

  • Stay on in Higher Education
  • Go Travelling before Returning to Find Work
  • Look for a Job Right Away
  • Seek Internships as a Way into a Career you Love
  • Move Back Home in the Short-Term to Save Money
  • Finding a New Place to Live
  • Absolutely No Clue What to do With Your Life! (It’s ok if you’re not sure what to do just yet, there are still processes you can put in place to help your financial journey)

No matter what you are choosing to do with your life immediately after graduating from University, there are a few financial matters and logistics to take care of.

 

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It can be a wrench to move out of your home for the last year of student life. Wave goodbye to the empty pizza boxes and the remains of all the parties you’ve had (we know not all student houses are like that!), clear your stuff up and then think about the cleaning. It is important to learn the responsibility of your tenancy once it comes to an end. Make sure that everything is cleaned, all appliances work and that there are no glaring anomalies so that your landlord will pay you back your deposit (it will be protected within a Government backed tenancy deposit scheme).

This is important as it can go toward your next home, and you should be prepared to make a clear inventory in your new property to protect your deposit there. Other than that it is vital that you tie up any loose ends in terms of utility bills, letting the companies know the dates you are moving out, providing meter readings on that day and sorting out any outstanding payments before leaving.

 

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Once you have moved to a new home, whether that is back home to your parents, or to a brand new home on your own, with friends or a partner, it is important to register on the electoral roll as soon as possible – which can be done online. If you don’t inform your local council of where you are living it can have a negative impact on your credit score and ability to secure a short-term loan or other credit.

 

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You’ll have had some practice with this as a student but now it’s time to get even more serious. Write down your outgoings in detail, and if you have a job or are looking for a job, work out how much you will need each month to cover the basics such as rent, electricity, groceries etc. If you have a car is it a necessity or could you get by on pubic transport? You’ll have to learn all about putting enough money aside to pay for council tax, shop around for energy prices and work out what changes will be made to your bank account now that it is no longer a student bank account.

 

It might seem a daunting prospect to head into adult life and leave your student days behind you, but whatever you choose in life make sure you are set up now to look after your finances. Learning how to budget, pay off debts, keeping your information accurate and up-to-date, and shopping around for good deals on rent, utilities and major life admin are all great skills to possess and will stand you in good stead for adulthood proper.

Free Things to Do During the School Summer Holidays

The summer holidays are finally here and if you have children it can be difficult to keep them occupied until school rolls back around in September. Not only that, but it can actually be quite expensive with the cost of childcare and trying to find suitable events and places to visit that aren’t going to break the bank.

Despite these worries there are a number of free things to do around the UK this summer holiday that won’t cost you a penny!

 

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Disney Fun Through Arts & Crafts

Throughout August, Disney Stores across the country are hosting free activities packed full of fun and games for children. The craft activities will take place each Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday and will include how to draw Mickey Mouse and your other favourite Disney characters, designing badges and bookmarks, creating key rings and specific events. You can find out more about your local Disney Store and events across the country by visiting the website.

 

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Add Some Culture through a Free Museum Visit

Your kids will want to run around and play games all summer, and that is great for much of the time of course! How about finding fun ways to add a bit of education and culture to their lives? There are a number of free museums in the UK, or free exhibitions that you can take your kids along and watch their eyes light up. The Natural History Museum in London offers world class artefacts and fun ways for kids to explore history, completely free of charge. The National Football Museum in Manchester offers unrivalled fun and learning about the nation’s favourite sport and there are countless other free museums nationwide, including interactive events at the Museum of Science and Industry that are well worth checking out with the little ones!

 

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Free Cinema Tickets

It is worth keeping an eye out for deals and free tickets for every cinema chain that is close to your home. Kids love a trip to the cinema and if you can cut the costs you can take them more often! You can check the Money Saving Expert cheap cinema forum to stay up-to-date with offers and voucher codes nationwide. For many cinema chains there is the offer of free tickets for advanced screenings on certain films, but these are always first come, first served so keep your eyes peeled.

 

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A Day Out in Nature

If you live in a city there are some wondrous city parks that offer beautiful sights, stunning boating lakes and palm houses, cafes and ice cream vans. Liverpool has Sefton Park for the kids to explore and have fun, in London there is Hyde Park and in Birmingham you’ll find Cannon Hill Park. If you are looking to entertain the kids out in the countryside there are countless beaches, hillside walks and nature of all types within the UK. From the mountains of Wales, Cornish beaches, the English Lakes and the Scottish Highlands. There is something for everyone.

 

It can be difficult as a parent to have a fun summer holiday plan that leaves your kids happy and doesn’t empty your wallet. We hope you can see that with just a few simple ideas there is plenty to look forward to this summer!

Should You Choose an Unarranged Overdraft or a Payday Loan?

For those in a tight financial spot in can be difficult to come to a decision on the best course of action.

If you’re unable to call on the assistance of close friends or family members in a time of a financial uncertainty, the most common options are going over your current account limit with your bank, incurring costs through an unarranged overdraft, or by taking out a payday loan.

When it comes to payday loans there has been quite a bit of scaremongering in the press over the last few years. There are, of course, a few bad apples within the lending industry, but a payday loan rather than an unarranged overdraft it might be a more suitable short term course of action to help pay the bills, or deal with an unforeseen emergency situation.

Let’s take a look at both sides and see which is better for your specific circumstances.

An agreement with a short term loan provider

A common concern regarding payday loan providers is that the interest applied to short term loans can be quite high. Payday loans are designed to be taken out and paid off in a short period of time, which is why those who don’t make their agreed payments can have their total to pay back increased, as interest is continuously added.

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PiggyBank’s interest is 0.80% per day (fixed).

Example: if you borrowed 265 over 11 days the interest would be £23.32, with the total to pay back £288.32.

When searching for the best UK payday loan providers you can find those offering reasonable repayment terms, costing you less than the costs associated with going over your overdraft limit with your bank.

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Current account overdraft limits

With the current account you hold with your high street bank you’ll have an agreement in place that allows you to either enter a specific amount in your overdraft, or you won’t be entitled to go over your limit at all.

Sometimes if you are in need of a short-term borrowing facility you might just use the overdraft facility without prior agreement with your bank. This will cost you more than just the cash you’ve used. When compared with the lowest payday loan providers above, taking out £100 from an unarranged overdraft for a month can incur a cost as high as £90 with some high street banks.

Banks place high charges on informal overdraft usage, as it should always be a last resort for their customers. The ranges for bank charges from a Which? Survey in 2016 highlighted the range of charges for the amount and repayment time we’ve discussed as being between £20-£90.

Always be aware of the charges you could face if you enter an unarranged overdraft with your high street bank.

PiggyBank offer responsible payday loans from £100 to £1,000 for new customers and £1,500 for returning customers. Our flexible short term loans can be taken for up to 5 months to cover unforeseen expenses such as an unexpected bill or a problem with a car. For more information visit our how it works page or you can apply for a loan today.

Understanding Credit Reports and Who Looks at Them

Have you ever wondered how a lender decides whether to give you credit? A credit report is an important tool for determining your credit history and assessing the risk of lending to you.

What your credit report shows:

    • Your current credit accounts – this includes your bank and credit card accounts and other current arrangements such as outstanding loan agreements or utility company debts. If you’ve previously made late or missed payments these will be recorded and stay on your credit report for at least 6 years.
    • Relevant details of people who are financially connected to you if you’ve taken out joint credit.
    • Any public record information such as County Court Judgements (CCJ’s), bankruptcies, house repossessions and Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVA’s). These will also stay on your credit report for at least 6 years.
    • Whether you’re on the electoral register.
    • Your full name and date of birth.
    • Your current and any previously recorded addresses.
    • If you’ve previously committed fraud.

What your credit report doesn’t show:

    • Your salary.
    • Your religion.
    • Your criminal record.

Who looks at my credit report?

When you apply for any type of credit, this will usually involve giving the provider permission to check your credit report to assess your credit history. This can include banks, credit card companies, direct loan lenders but also mobile phone providers, employers and landlords. 

These companies can choose not to lend to you if you haven’t previously managed your credit well. In some cases, the credit provider (such as credit card companies) may offer your alternative options, such as smaller amounts of credit or a higher rate of interest. In these cases, many people have been tempted by “no credit check loans“.

In cases where you’ve been unable to keep to the terms of a credit arrangement and set up a payment plan, this will show on your credit report. However, a payment plan can show that you have taken a positive action towards your account which will clear your outstanding balance quicker and in turn help your overall creditworthiness.

How do I check my credit report?

There are a number of free providers such as ClearScore or Experian.

What if there’s an error on my credit report?

If you spot any errors on your credit report, you should contact the lender directly and explain the situation. Always remember to provide as much evidence as possible to ensure a quick resolution.

How do I improve my credit score?

If your credit score isn’t in the best shape, there are a number of ways you can improve it.

Your first step should be to ensure that there are no errors on your credit report (above).

You can then:

    • Pay your bills on time to show you manage your finances effectively.
    • Avoid CCJ’s – if you’re having debt problems you can seek free advice.
    • Reduce your existing debts by paying off credit cards and overdrafts.

For more information, take a look at our 5 Ways to Build Your Credit Score guide.

How to Get the Best Exchange Rate for Your Holiday Cash

As summer approaches some of us will be packing our sunglasses, sun cream and swimwear and heading for sunnier destinations abroad. You’ve got to be prepared though, and how do you guarantee that you’re getting the most holiday cash for your money? Here we take a look at a few tips on how to get the best exchange rates for your holiday cash.

 

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Understand the Jargon – There are a few key phrases that you might just not understand, confusing you into costly currency conversions. ‘Sell rate’ refers to what you get when you exchange sterling, ‘buy rate’ refers to what you get when you exchange any leftover foreign currency, and ‘interbank’ or ‘bank-to-bank rate’ refers to the wholesale exchange rate that the banks use. If you choose to search for a good currency exchange on the high street, ask explicitly how much it will cost for a certain amount in Sterling to be converted. That way you’ll know what the transaction fees, delivery and commission is before you commit.

 

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Research Your Currency – There are different rules for currency exchange depending on where you are going. In Cuba for instance, there is one currency for tourists and one for locals. In some countries you are not allowed to take the currency with you when you leave, or can only exchange your Sterling when you arrive. For some non-EU countries you might have to order your currency well in advance of your summer holiday, so be sure to conduct thorough research.

 

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Know the Situation – Use a site like xe.com to keep an eye on the currency fluctuations, be aware of any potential news stories at your destination or at home that could impact on the currency exchange. It can pay to start looking at the situation around a month before your holiday and to order money when the rate is climbing and the pound is strong.

 

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Shop Around for Currency – Always shop around for your currency, as you’ll see different exchange rates and prices at different vendors. It’s about finding the right deal for you at the right time. In some countries, such as Cyprus and Estonia, you can find some excellent currency deals to change your Sterling notes for Euros when you arrive. One strong tip for a good exchange rate is to order your currency in advance from a big airport bureau de change, and pick up when you arrive at the airport. Travelex and similar can provide this service, or a postal delivery service, at a much better exchange rate than that you’ll find at the airport itself.

 

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Use a Flexible Credit Card Abroad – If you want to use a credit card on your summer holiday it is prudent to choose a card that doesn’t charge you for using it abroad. Until August 2018 a Barclaycard Platinum Visa has no non-Sterling transaction fees on foreign spends attached to it, as well as no charges or interest when you withdraw money from a cash machine abroad (as long as it is paid off in full each month). Be aware that when you are paying with a credit card abroad you will be asked if you would like to pay in Sterling. This will automatically charge you 5% over the correct rate if you agree.

 

These are just a few tips on how to get the best exchange rate for your holiday cash. Be thorough with your research, shop around for the best exchange rates for currency and also use the best credit cards that don’t charge for use abroad.

Amazon Prime Day: What to Expect and Top Tips

Christmas – some may say that it’s too early to think about it now, but it’s important to prepare for the most wonderful expensive time of the year!

If you’re looking to spread the cost of your Christmas, our same day loans can help. With PiggyBank you can borrow up to £1000 and repay over 7 days to 5 months – whatever suits your budget. Though short term loans are a great way to cover the cost of this festive season, we want to share with you where you can save on gifts, decorations and other Christmas essentials without having to wait until Black Friday. Amazon Prime Day (celebrated on the 15-16th July 2019) can help with your bargain hunting!

The 48-hour Amazon Prime Day sale will include over 100,000 cost reductions on products across all categories such as TVs, smartphones, books, laptops and Amazon’s flagship products such as Echo, the Fire tablet or the Fire TV stick.

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With over 100,000 discounts across such a short period of time it can be a bit overwhelming, so here’s our guide on the event along with some top tips to make the most of it:

What is it? Amazon Prime Day is a one-day online shopping event with discounts across a wide range of products – similar to how Black Friday works. This will be the third time the event has been run.

When is it? This year’s Amazon Prime Day begins on Monday 15th July. The deals will be live for 48 hours.

How do I access it? Amazon Prime Day is only available to Amazon customers who have an Amazon Prime subscription. You can create a 30 day free trial and cancel your membership before the trial ends otherwise the cost is £7.99 per month or £79 a year afterwards.

The deals will be displayed on the main Amazon.co.uk homepage once the sale starts.

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Top tips

    • Create a budget – and stick to it. It sounds simple, but you should always resist buying on impulse. You have 30 hours to make a decision, so take it slow and steady!
    • Check out the lightning deals section for an opportunity to grab some early bargains.
    • Do your research! Use price comparison websites such as camelcamelcamel to see just how good the deal is. If the deal isn’t that much better than the average price, it might be worth waiting for a future sale to get an even better deal.
    • If you miss a deal due to the item going out of stock don’t worry. You can click the “Join Waitlist” button on the product page which will send you a notification when it’s back in stock.
    • When purchasing a product you can choose “no rush delivery” which will deliver your item in 3-5 days (instead of the next day guaranteed delivery) but give you promotional rewards which you can redeem on things like eBooks and Amazon Video.
  • Always check the reviews – Amazon has a great customer review system! A good tip is to take a look at the 1-star reviews of your chosen product to see if there are any common issues, to help you make a more informed decision.

Goodbye Estimated Energy Bills, Hello Smart Meters!

It’s no secret that estimated energy bills can cause you to end up paying more for your energy – and leave your wallet much lighter at the end of the month.

That’s why the Smart Meter Bill announced in the Queen’s Speech will help put you in control of your energy use, and know exactly what you’ll be paying!

What is the Smart Meter Bill?

The Smart Meter Bill is designed to help consumers better understand their energy consumption by bringing an end to estimated energy bills. The initiative was first announced in 2009 by the Department for Energy and Climate Change and smart meters have already been installed in 7 million homes. The Smart Meter Bill guarantees that smart meters will be offered to all UK homes and businesses by 2020.

What are Smart Meters and how do they work?

Smart meters are the next generation of gas and electricity meters. They come with an in-house display screen that will tell you exactly how much energy you’re using (in pounds and pence) in real time. The meter will send accurate readings automatically back to your energy supplier, which means that you’ll no longer have to a) manually send readings to your energy supplier and b) no longer receive estimated bills.

How will it save me money?

As a smart meter shows you real-time electricity and gas usage, you’ll be able to adapt your monthly energy usage to ensure you’re not using too much. If turning on the heating or air conditioning is causing your consumption to skyrocket, you’ll be able to see this is real time, rather than getting a shock when your bill comes at the end of the month. Unexpected high gas and electricity bills are one of the more common reasons why people turn to convenient online loans, but by keeping an eye on what appliances cause the pennies to rise you can ensure your bill fits within your budget. We’ve also compiled a list of tips for saving on your energy costs that can cut your bills further.

As energy usage is sent automatically to your energy supplier, you’ll no longer receive estimated bills. You’ll only pay for what you use. The government claims that the roll-out will provide the UK with annual savings of £300 million in 2020, rising to £1.2 billion by 2030.

How much do they cost?

Smart meters and their installation are completely free of charge!

How do I get one?

Most energy suppliers are currently offering installation of smart meters – you can find a list of suppliers and their contact details here. If your current energy supplier doesn’t currently offer smart meters, why not switch to one that does? You can also save money in other areas too!

How to BBQ on a Budget This Summer

When the sun is out it is always nice to invite a small group of friends and family round for a BBQ. There is nothing better than being surrounded by love and laughter with an ice old beer in one hand and a burger (veggie or meat) in the other. Cooking at home doesn’t need to break the bank – here’s how you can have a cracking summer BBQ on a budget:

 

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Use Cheap Cuts of Meat – You don’t have to go all out and buy the most expensive cuts of meat for a budget BBQ. The sheer fact that it’s being grilled will enhance the flavour in any meat. Shop around for the best discounts and you can save on your final bill. If you want to cook some steak on your barbecue it doesn’t matter at all if you choose to use the cheaper cuts of meat. With chicken, the cheaper legs and thighs are actually tastier than the breast, as you are cooking on the bone.

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Don’t Use Too Much Fuel – For any BBQ on a budget you’ll be aware of the cost of fuel. One of the easy mistakes to make when cooking on a BBQ is to pile up the charcoal when there really isn’t any need. Three pounds of charcoal is more than enough to cook for around 6 people. For gas BBQs you only need to cook on the highest level for the first 5 minutes of the food cooking. After that you can cook your meats on the lower setting and boost the flavour!

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Homemade Marinades and Rubs – Whether you’re looking to make BBQ style chicken, or marinaded steak, utilise your kitchen and make them at home to reduce the cost significantly. Tips to improve your BBQ include making all of your rubs and marinades in advance, leaving your meats to soak everything up and to be succulent when cooked on the grill the day of the BBQ. You can make your rubs a few days prior and coat your meats just before placing on the grill. When marinating chicken and other BBQ meats you can do so the night before your summer BBQ.

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Added Extras – It’s easy to spruce up a sausage or burger with some simple, and cheap toppings. Add some grilled mushrooms and onions to any bap or bun and your guests will go crazy. Another way to boost your BBQ flavours is to make homemade burgers. This opens up a whole world of possibilities, you can stuff the meat with blue cheese or bacon, leaving an oozing-melty-meaty dream of a burger!

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Cook with Leftovers in Mind – Plan carefully for your summer BBQ extravaganza and don’t let your guests go hungry. Always plan to cook enough so that there will be leftovers. In terms of cooking on a budget this is brilliant as it ensures that you are being fuel-efficient for your meals over the coming days. Your cooked meats will stay good for a day or two and are easy to reheat – just sprinkle with water, wrap in foil and cook in the oven for 5 minutes.

 

PiggyBank knows how to throw a good summer BBQ on a budget and to really enjoy the good weather when it arrives in the UK. You can see that you don’t have to splash out for a successful summer budget BBQ!

Camping on a Budget in the UK – Where to Go on Holiday this Summer

Summer is around the corner and we’ve been lucky enough in the UK to have some hot weather so far already this year. With the holidays approaching you really don’t need to spend loads of money on an expensive holiday abroad. There are plenty of enticing and cost effective camping spots across the UK for you to sink your teeth into, relax and enjoy a British holiday. If you’re planning on camping on a budget in the UK this year we have some prime locations, and some tips to cut your costs, without cutting your enjoyment!

First thing’s first, let’s take a look at some of the best camping sites the UK has to offer, with a variety of locations spread across the entire country:

Newgale, Pembrokeshire – The Pembrokeshire coastline is a sight to behold at any time of year but during the summer months there are few places worth stopping over more than camping at Newgale. With sandy beaches and extraordinary views you can get your watersports on with surfing and windsurfing a huge attraction.

Robin Hood’s Bay, North Yorkshire – If you’re looking for stunning views to relax with during sunset, there are a number of campsites in the Robin Hood’s Bay area. It is the perfect location to start (or finish) the coast-to-coast walk between the east coast and the Cumbrian coastline.

St Agnes, Isles of Scilly – St Agnes is tiny, but has some of the finest beaches you’ll find anywhere in the UK. For an extreme remote location, you’ll find yourself in a completely other world with a trip to the Isles of Scilly.

Kinlocehlevn, Argyle – A stunning Scottish campsite that combines all of what you’d expect from the wild north. On the banks of Loch Leven, this campsite provides a spectacular setting with mountains all around and an icy blue loch by your side.

St Levan, Penzance, Cornwall – With the cliffs to the edge of your campsite, you’ll have amazing views of the sea in a secluded location that provides you with wonderful long walks to enjoy.

Once you have chosen your perfect UK camping destination you can then work out exactly what you need to take with you for the holiday. We have a few money saving tips for you to cut the costs of your camping trip, without it dampening your enthusiasm for the holiday.

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Share Camping Equipment – The first way to save money on camping holidays is to share equipment with your friends. If you are lucky enough to have friends and family who love to go camping in the UK you can share sleeping bags and cooking equipment etc. It really does lead to cost effective camping.

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Stock up in the Sales – In the weeks and months leading up to your UK camping holiday keep an eye out for the essentials that you’ll need. From fleeces for the night-time, to sensible footwear, sleeping bags, and foodstuffs, look for discounts and bulk-buy well in advance so you’re not left short when on holiday

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Invest in a Quality Tent – It’s easy to think that a good way to save money camping is to buy a tent for as low a price as possible. This is folly. It is worth paying that little bit more for a tent that is quality and will not only endure the poor weather you’re bound to encounter at some point on a British camping trip, but that will also last for many years, saving you money in the long-term.

Now you’ve got a fair idea about where to go in the UK and how to go on a cost-effective UK camping holiday. Camping on a budget is possible and we’re sure if you take our tips on board you and the family will have a fantastic experience this summer.