My family and I went to the annual County Fair last week. The Fair, while fun, can cost as much money as an actual vacation! So, is there a way to enjoy the Fair, but not waste an entire paycheck on it?
- Have a Good Attitude
- Go in thinking you’re going to have fun regardless of how much money you have. Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t do.
- Have a Firm Budget
- Before you go, decide how much you’re going to spend. Divide your budget into categories such as: Admission, Parking, Rides and Attractions, Food, and Souvenirs. Don’t stray from the budget.
- Plan Ahead and Look for Deals Before Going
- One local grocery store sold discounted admission tickets as well as discounted unlimited ride wristbands.
- Costco sold a package that included 4 admissions, Parking, a ride ticket book and 4 sodas for $54. This was a great deal, considering a single admission at the gate was $13, and the ride ticket book was $20 inside the gate. By purchasing this pack at Costco, you could have saved over $45 what you would have spent inside the gates.
- Plan Your Visit Around the Fair Schedule
- On different days of the week, there were certain promotions going on. One day of the week was Free Kid’s Admission, another day was unlimited ride wrisbands for a set price, and another day was “Taste the Fair” day, offering discounts of food all over the fairgrounds.
- Steer Clear of the Games!
- Most games charge $1 per try, with the medium prizes (think stuffed toys from the Dollar Store) needing at least 4 successful tries. Stay away from the games, or you’ll get stuck with a flimsy pink stuffed bear your daughter has affectionately named “Morris”, whom you begrudgingly ended up paying $8 for, because you couldn’t pop that dumb balloon with the dull dart the first four times you played. Trust me on this.
- Eat Before You Go and After You Leave. Bring Snacks.
- Fair Food is expensive. Try to grab breakfast or lunch before you go, and only pick up a few necessary snacks (ie. Icees, Roasted Corn, and Funnel Cakes). Most Fairs allow you to bring in your own snacks.
- Realize That Spending Time Together is More Important Than “Stuff”
- There are plenty of things at the Fair that don’t require any money. Walk through the Arts and Crafts rooms, admire the Gem Display (we got a free “gem” rock there),
smelllook at the Farm Animals, or listen to the free Bands that play throughout the Fairgrounds. You won’t remember that $12 foam lizard on the leash as much as you’ll remember the time together.