We're so lucky that there's two parents in the Lovelygrey family bringing in decent wages. But we're careful that the money that we’ve worked hard for isn’t frittered away because of unwise spending decisions. So, we don't have a myriad of expensive subscriptions, phone for take aways or eat out on a weekly basis, drive gas guzzling cars or pay interest on borrowings. That means that we have plenty over to save, give away and spend on what is important to us. And our biggest indulgence is trips away!
Yesterday I had an Internet splurge and did some holiday spending. A new summer wardrobe for our impending French trip maybe, a bundle of specialist toiletries or perhaps a big pile of books to take away? No, this type of blow out would definitely fall into the 'unnecessary' category as far as I concerned. I'll make do with what's already in my wardrobe, bathroom cabinet and book pile. Instead I spent wisely and booked a ski trip for the 2012 February half term.
'Are you mad?!' I hear the cries from afar. This week is a notoriously expensive time to hurtle downhill with a couple of planks strapped to the feet. I'm afraid though, that January's trip to Montana meant that Mr Lovelygrey and I re-kindled our love of downhill skiing and Louis caught the bug too. But our mammoth US trip cannot be repeated every year. We had to dig deep and I'm uncomfortable about taking Louis out of school on a regular basis so I've had to be creative and look for an alternative closer to home in a traditional holiday period.
Now you might think that a package is going to be the cheapest solution. After all, don't the tour operators get the best deals from the hotels that they use? Well, they might, but it doesn't necessarily mean that they pass this saving on to the people that buy their holidays. They are trying to make a profit after all and cutting supply costs is one way of doing this. Additionally there's reps and a backroom admin team to pay. This can't come cheap and their salaries are part of the hidden costs incurred when booking this type of getaway.
With this in mind, I've arranged our own flights to Barcelona from Bristol Airport and half board accommodation through the Alpharooms website at the Euroski hotel in El Tarter, Andorra. I reckoned booking early might give us better flight prices and choice than if I'd left it until later in the year. So what are the savings? Well, I haven't sorted out car hire or worked out fuel costs to get from the airport to the resort yet. I can't be ultra precise but once our transfer costs are factored into the equation, it looks like £1,000 has been shaved off the cost of the equivalent package offered by a ski company to the same hotel. And the savings won't stop there, I'll be looking for discounts on lift passes and ski hire later on!