With most of us feeling the pinch at the moment, it’s important to hunt out bargains and reduce expenses wherever possible – here are our top tips to help cut costs.

Plan ahead

If you are planning on a day trip to a theme park or zoo this Easter, always buy your tickets online couple of days before you go. Many attractions offer substantial discounts if you book in advance.

For example, book an adult or family ticket online for Chessington World of Adventures for April 6 and you’ll save 30% on the on-the-day price, plus you’ll be guaranteed entry for your chosen day. You can buy a ticket for two adults and two under-12s for £75.60, saving you £32.40 on the on the door price.

Take a picnic!

Don’t buy food and drink while you are out and about, as this will really bump up your costs. Make sandwiches in advance and you will probably save at least £20 for a family of four compared to buying them at on-site cafes.

Make the most of childcare vouchers

If you have kids and can’t take time off work in the holidays, then childcare costs can be a real pain in your wallet. However, you can help reduce the financial burden by checking to see if your employer offers childcare vouchers.

These enable you to pay for childcare out of your income before tax is deducted. Basic rate taxpayers can receive up to £55 per week or £243 a month of vouchers, which are exempt from tax and National Insurance. You can use Childcare Vouchers for children up to the age of 15 as full or part payment for nursery, a childminder or holiday schemes.

Take advantage of last-minute holiday bargains

If you want to get away from it all this Easter without breaking the bank, then you may well be able to pick up a last minute bargain. Check out TravelSupermarket to find low cost deals. For example, we found a four-star seven-night hotel holiday available in Majorca for two adults and two children departing on March 31 for just £252 per person.

Cut insurance costs

Whether you are staying at in the UK or going abroad, if you are off on holiday, you should make sure you have comprehensive travel insurance in place. You can find low cost cover on MoneySupermarket.com – we found single trip cover for a family of four going to France for a week on April 6 for just £8.99, with £5millon medical expenses cover, £500 cancellation cover and £200 baggage cover, although this policy has an excess – the portion of any claim you must pay yourself - of £250.

Make use of vouchers and codes

Before heading off for a day out or restaurant meal this Easter, check to see if there are any vouchers or codes which help you cut costs. Moneysupermarket’s voucherschannel is packed full of offers on holidays and travel, eating out and family days out, so there’s bound to be a bargain to suit you.

Current deals include £114 for an overnight stay for two in a London hotel plus tickets to a choice of West End shows, kids go free at Amazonia and buy one ticket get one half price at Water World.

There are also some great offers on eating out, including two for one on tapas to share at La Tasca until April 5, a free starter or dessert at Chiquito until April 30 and a weekend special of three courses for £12.95 at Pizza Express until April 22.

Cash in loyalty points

Many of us have points on shop loyalty cards which we’ve never used. Check whether you could put yours towards a day out with the kids – or even some cut-price chocolate Easter Eggs. For example, at the moment, you can get a Thorntons 327g Continental Egg for £7.00 in Clubcard vouchers, which would normally cost £13.94 in cash.

Watch a cheap film

Check out the website FindAnyFilm.com to help you find a film online, on DVD, in the cinema or on TV for the cheapest price. Cinema offers include mid-week discounts and discounts for children. More than 33,000 different films are listed, so there’s bound to be one that will keep the kids occupied for a couple of hours.

Another option is to sign up to LoveFilm.com for £4.99 a month, which will give you unlimited access to more than 5,000 movies and TV episodes which you can watch instantly on your TV, PS3, Xbox 360, laptop or iPad.

Please note: Any rates or deals mentioned in this article were available at the time of writing. Click on a highlighted product and apply direct.