Going to the carnival can be so much fun, but it can also be very expensive. Shortly after arriving with friends or family, you’ve spent over $100 and don’t have much to show for it! The good news is there are ways to save money. Whether you look for coupons or set a budget for games, you can have fun at the carnival or fair without spending a lot of money.
- Look for coupons – In some areas, you can find coupons or discounts for admission tickets. Grocery stores often sell tickets at a discounted price or provide coupons to permanent parks like Great America or Kings Island. This is a simple and easy way to buy tickets for less. Best of all, you won’t have to wait in line to buy tickets when you arrive. Just pick the tickets up when you do your weekly shopping and you’re ready to go.
- Buy ride tickets to match your family’s needs – If a carnival has a ticket system where you buy tickets for the rides, you want to think about how many tickets you’ll really need. For example, if you have small kids, the small kid rides are usually one or two tickets each, so buying individual tickets might be your best bet. However, if you have older kids, you’ll want to look for an unlimited rides ticket. These may seem high at first (usually around $20 each), but they can save you so much money in the long run and your kids will stay busy for hours.
- Give kids a set amount for games – One way to prevent lots of money going down the drain is to give each child a set amount for games. If they want to play more games, allow them to use their own money. Let kids know this is how it’s going to be done a few weeks before you go so they can earn their own money or save their allowance. This will greatly reduce the amount of money spent at the carnival and it will teach them a valuable lesson about budgeting.
- Split carnival foods – Let’s face it, carnival foods are super yummy. Unfortunately, they are also pretty pricey. That said, you usually get a large portion when you make your purchase. Instead of everyone getting the same thing and part of the food going to waste, have each person get something different and share. This allows everyone to try something different without having to spend a lot of money. If you are on a tighter budget, buy one or two items for everyone to share and call it the treat of the day.
- Opt for water and your own snacks – Not only can water be less expensive, but it’s truly the best option when out in the heat. Water will keep you better hydrated where sugary, caffeinated drinks can actually dehydrate you. If it’s allowed, bring your own water bottles with you to save even more money. The same goes for snacks. Pack a backpack with a few refillable water bottles and bags of snacks to save your family money or to have more to spread around to buying ride tickets or playing games.
These are just a few great ways to save money at the carnival, fair or theme park, but I’m sure there are more! What tips do you have? Let us all know!