How to Save Money at Festivals

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Attending a music festival can be a fantastic experience, but it can also become a bottomless pit of spending. Tickets, vendor meals, beer, tour merch, camping gear and travel costs all mount up over a weekend. According to the 2017 UK Festival Market Report, 22.4% of festival goers spent an average of between £100 and £150 at each festival, with just 36.2% of attendees setting a budget and sticking to it during their weekend away.

So, what’s the secret to making a festival fun and affordable? All it takes is some planning, and you can cut down your music festival spending substantially. Whether you’re looking to let loose at Leeds Fest or celebrate at Creamfields, here are some tips for festivals including 21 ways in which you can save money this summer!

21 Festival saving tips:

1. Sign up for newsletters and mailing lists

Wondering how to save money at festivals? Well, first things first, making sure you’re among the first to be notified when festival tickets go on sale is sure to save you some money. So keep an eye out for early bird or pre-sale opportunities. Find out advance tour dates by joining fan mailing lists - especially if you know that your favourite band are touring around the same time as the festival.

2. Enter competitions

During festival season, plenty of artists, radio stations and venues will host competitions to offer prize winners the chance to secure free entry to coveted festivals. There’s no harm in participating in these competitions if you stumble across them but be sure to check any charges associated with entering.

3. Go in a group

Some festivals offer group discounts which can allow you to get five tickets for the price of four. If you’re looking to attend a festival with friends, see if one of you can buy on behalf of everyone to take advantage of these deals. Going in a group also means you could split the cost of camping materials or food over the weekend.

If you’re wondering what you need for a festival, or what to bring to a festival, get together with friends to make a list of all the necessities. This way, you can avoid overspending on things you could easily share, and ensure there are no unnecessary duplicates. For instance, if you’re considering what food to take to festivals, you’ll probably find that sharing bulk items is much cheaper.

4. Volunteer

Many festivals run rep systems that offer you the opportunity to attend the festival for free, in exchange for services like helping to clean up on an evening, assisting at security barriers or encouraging others to attend the festival. Make sure you always check the festival site for any opportunities that may be being offered.

5. Spread the cost

Most festivals now offer payment plans which help attendees spread the cost of tickets over the months running up to the event. This can be useful if you can set aside a portion of your monthly salary to help pay off tickets, and can afford to pay a deposit upfront.

6. Book travel in advance

Book your journey to and from the festival in advance to save on fares. If the festival you’re planning on attending falls on the same day every year, you may even want to consider booking your train or bus up to a year in advance. If you’re planning to drive there, consider carpooling and splitting fuel costs to save money.

7. Check for discounts

Some festivals may offer discounts for students or concessions, so it’s worth checking before you book to see whether you fall in any of these categories. However, you’ll need to make sure that you meet the minimum age requirements of the festival you’re considering attending before enquiring.

8. Unplug appliances

One way to save at festivals that people may not think about is making sure that all appliances are turned off at home - especially if you’ll be away from your kettle, TV and internet for a few days. While this won’t mean major savings upfront, every little helps.

9. Leave expensive items at home

Wondering what to take to a festival when camping? Although festivals can place a heavy focus on how you look, one of the biggest expenses of the weekend can be replacing your entire wardrobe after it’s been ruined during the event. With limited security and reduced access to showers, it’s best to take items that you don’t mind losing or damaging.

10. Insure your valuables

Although it may seem counterproductive to spend money when trying to save it, insuring your valuables makes sure that you won’t be caught out if you misplace your wallet, phone or keys during the festival. You’ll want personal possessions insurance to cover anything you take, along with additional cover for electronic devices.

11. Only carry cash

Searching for more money tips for festivals? Well, a good way to save at festivals is to only carry cash - that way you resist the temptation to swipe your card for everything you fancy that falls outside of your predetermined budget. However, if you do this, it’s really important to keep it safe and make sure you have an emergency fund set aside.

12. Check festival restrictions

Most festivals will have restrictions on the amount of alcohol or food you’re allowed to bring in, so you should check these before stocking up on costly supplies that might only be taken away from you anyway.

13. Skip the hotel

Festivals are renowned for camping and while a hotel might be your travel go-to, rates can skyrocket during peak festival seasons. On-site camping can be the best way to enjoy the festival season on a budget, especially as the general admission camping rate is generally included in the ticket price.

14. Set a daily budget

One of the best money-saving tips for UK festivals is to set a budget. When you’re caught up in the buzz of a festival, it’s easy to get carried away and spend too much money on alcohol and food. Before you go, decide how much money you’d be happy spending across the whole festival and divide this across each day.

15. Keep your money safe

Festivals are notorious for being a hotspot for losing essential items, whether it’s car keys, IDs or cash. Tents are also very easy to break into, so it’s important to keep your money and valuables on you at all times wherever possible. Make sure you invest in a bumbag or similar suitable option.

16. Bring your phone charger

Still wondering what to bring to a festival? Well, your phone charger is a must. If your phone starts to run out of charge, you’ll often have to pay to charge it back up and could end up spending hours in a queue. Bring a large portable charger and avoid paying for items that you could otherwise access on your phone, such as overpriced festival programs.

17. Recycle plastic cups

As festivals strive to reduce their carbon footprint, more and more organisers are offering schemes where festival goers can earn money for collecting recyclable rubbish. Check to see if your festival offers a scheme like paying 10p per cup, as this could help pay towards your weekend.

18. Drink free water

If the venue allows you to bring in outside beverages, doing so can be one of the best ways to save money at festivals. Pack your own drinks and snacks to avoid paying overpriced vendor rates. You should also figure out whether the festival has a drinking water source, like a fountain, and bring your own plastic bottles to fill and refill for free water all weekend.

19. Don’t buy an expensive tent

There’s no point splurging on a luxurious tent as the British weather and festival culture means you’re likely just to abandon it before the end of the weekend anyway. Save at festivals by opting for a cheaper tent and make use of the items you’re already bringing, rather than buying unnecessary luxuries like pillows.

20. Bring your own food

When it comes to tips for festivals, bringing your own food is a great one. Vendors at festivals can be pricey, and you’ll need to scope them out early on to get a sense of their pricing and offerings. Lunch prices are often cheaper than dinner, so if you need one hot meal a day you should opt for lunchtime. Make sure to bring plenty of snacks to tide you over in your tent.

21. Don’t buy festival merch

Buying merchandise from your favourite band at a festival is often a mistake, as the prices are usually increased to meet the high demand. If your favourite artist is offering a bespoke hoodie to commemorate the festival, wait until the last day to buy it, as you’ll know exactly how much money you have left to spend.

How to get a short-term loan

You should never take out a loan to cover something like a festival, but if you are experiencing a shortage in funds due to an appliance breakdown or unexpected essential expense, you may be considering taking out a short-term loan. However, there’s a lot you should consider before deciding whether an instalment loan is right for you, as they’re not a solution to a long-term financial problem and can have expensive interest rates. You should only take out a loan if you need to and never borrow more than you need.

If you’re aged 18 or over, you’re in full or part-time employment and are looking for a flexible short-term loan, get in touch with the experienced team at Moneyboat.

If you enjoyed this guide, we’ve got plenty more money-saving tips over on our blog. You can read about 9 ways to have the ultimate cheap night out, as well as simple ways to save money today!

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