Saturday 20th April 2024

Must-know money: How to have a fun summer for free

Here are our favourite money stories this week to help you get your head around your personal finances

How to have a fun summer for free

From record savings withdrawals to the stubbornly high cost of petrol, and how to have a fun-packed summer for free – here are our favourite must know money stories this week to help you get your head around your personal finances. 

Record savings withdrawals in May 

Customers dipped into bank and savings accounts to withdraw record levels of cash this May due to the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, reports Kevin Peachey for BBC News.  

The Bank of England said £4.6bn more withdrawn than paid into bank and building society accounts – the highest level seen since comparable records began 26 years ago. 

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The rising costs of living, including grocery bills, mortgage payments, and rent, is putting household finances under strain. There is also an added pressure on some households that have shifted into higher tax brackets recently.  

Richard Lane, director of external affairs at debt charity StepChange said: “Cost pressures are everywhere and eroding people’s financial headroom, leaving them more vulnerable to harmful borrowing and problem debt.” 

Banks have been accused of offering “measly” interest rates to savers, and failing to adequately pass on the Bank of England’s rate rises. Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has urged banks to provide fair rates and said that it was ”taking too long” to pass on increases in interest rates to savers. 

How to have a fun summer for free  

From enjoying music festivals, to food, to art, and nature for free, you don’t need to miss out if your money is tight, writes Harriet Meyer for The Guardian. Ideas include: 

  • Volunteer at a festival: Organisers often rely on volunteers willing to put in a shift before or after the festival, in exchange for a free ticket. Some recruitment companies that provide staff for events and festivals are WaterAid, Oxfam, DC Site Services and Seed Staff. 
  • Make use of social media: Use the events platform of social media such as Facebook to look for free activities around you. There’s a range from music to sport to craft and gardening. Sites including Eventbrite also allow you to filter by area or such preferences to suit your needs. 
  • Join the audience (for free): If you’re a fan of a particular movie, or TV show, join the mailing list for BBC shows to receive alerts for any free tickets coming up. You can also check Applause store (for popular live shows), Standing Room Only (for current shows), or Chortle (for comedy shows).  
  • Stay local: There’s events in most local areas including workshops, screenings and concerts. Local communities on social media, or local community centres, libraries, and universities often post notices for such free summer events.  
  • Walking tours and hikes: Take advantage of the warm summer to explore your local parks, hiking trails, and beaches. There are tons you can do outdoors from picnic and birdwatching to outdoor yoga. ‘Meetup’ is a platform that’ll connect you with others with similar interests.   

Supermarkets using motorists as ‘cash cows’  

Supermarkets have been accused of using motorists as “cash cows” charging drivers 6p per litre more than necessary, reports Hannah Boland, Dominic Penna, and Matt Oliver for The Telegraph.  

This increase more than completely offsets a 5p cut to fuel duty introduced by the Treasury in 2022, costing taxpayers £2.4bn a year.  

Asda, Morrisons, Tesco and Sainsbury’s overcharged drivers by £900m in 2022 alone, according to the competition watchdog, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), in the latest salvo against grocers as they battle accusations of profiteering. 

The CMA blamed weaker competition between supermarkets for the higher prices.  However, supermarket chiefs claimed that the CMA failed to take into account rising costs of payroll and rents. 

Grant Shapps, the Energy Secretary, said: “Some fuel retailers have been using motorists as cash cows – they jacked up their prices when fuel costs rocketed but failed to pass on savings now costs have fallen.” 

The Government, already battling stubbornly high inflation, intends to force grocers to publish their prices online in an attempt to improve transparency and protect consumers. 

Photo Credits: Pexels

Richa Ved

Richa is a young Indian graduate from Warwick Business School, aspiring to find her niche in the media industry. She has a passion for writing and a keen interest in financial affairs. If you don’t find her working, she’s probably having a pizza (her favourite!) and a pint of beer somewhere.

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