Festival season will soon be upon us, and if you haven’t already sorted your tickets it’s likely that you’ll be starting to do so soon. Wherever you live in Australia, chances are there’s a music festival that will be happening within a suitable travelling distance. While festivals are fun and provide incredible memories that can last a lifetime, they can also leave a short term financial legacy that leaves us feeling more than a little sheepish when we check our bank account or receive our credit card bill.
This doesn’t have to happen. Here are NOW FINANCE’s top tips that will help you tackle this year’s festival season like a financial champ.
Which Music Festival Will You Attend?
There’s a whole load of things that we’re going to get into that will save your wallet taking a pounding when you’re at a music festival this summer, but being a financial champ starts before you’ve even bought your ticket.
Take a look at what music festivals are near you, and how much they cost. Ticket prices tend to vary wildly. Some one-day festivals might be accessible for as little as $60, while some of the bigger, multi-day festivals will cost you in the region of $500 before you’ve even thought about camping fees or covering the cost of alternative accommodation.
Although you will want to factor in variables like specific acts you might want to see – $500 to see five of your favourite bands plus some others that you enjoy listening to isn’t that much of a bad deal – don’t blow your whole budget on simply getting to the festival.
If you’re really short on cash, then one option is look at which festivals are looking for volunteers, so you can sign up to volunteer and get free entry to the festival!
If You Need to Budget First, Do It
Many music festival attendees will buy their ticket and then start planning their budget. If money is going to be tight for you, it’s worth creating your festival budget first and including the cost of the ticket within this figure. Ultimately, this may mean you attend a smaller or cheaper festival, but you may find you enjoy yourself more if you’re not there spending the day worried about having little cash.
Setting Your Daily Festival Budget
A daily budget is key when attending music festivals. We’ve all got that one friend who goes to festivals or on vacation and blows their money in the first couple of days. Make sure that this year, you’re not the one!
When setting your budget, be cautious but not to the point where it’s going to impact on your enjoyment. When the time comes to go to the festival, take cash. Not only will this allow you to break up your budget day by day, you’ll be far more conscious of what you’re spending versus if you were using your card. With contactless cards in particular it’s ridiculously easy to spend a fortune without realising via several small transactions.
Budget, But Have an Emergency Fund
Just as we all have that friend who spends impulsively, we’ve also all got a friend who is great with money. While you’re (hopefully!) going to carefully plan your festival budget, even the best laid plans can easily go off the rails, so you need to ensure you have an emergency fund.
Your emergency fund can either be additional cash hidden away from plain view so you’re not tempted to spend it, or another option is to set a daily withdrawal limit on your bank card so that you’ve got a little extra emergency funding in there, but you cannot spend any more than that. Set the rules of what an emergency is before you go to the festival, too. Falling in love with a top at the merch stand doesn’t count!
Speaking of the Merchandise Stand….
Stay away from it.
As much as you might think the bar or the burger hut is likely to be the biggest drain on your budget, in truth an impulse purchase of a top you’ll never wear after the weekend is a far bigger budget thumper.
If you must buy merchandise, do yourself a favour and wait until the last day. Most festivals will reduce the cost so they don’t have too much to pack up, so turn into a bargain hunter rather than giving up $100 plus without thinking about it.
What are the Food and Drink Rules?
When it comes to taking your own food and drink, every festival will have different rules. Some will bag check and confiscate bottles and cans with no exceptions, while others may have a more relaxed stance. Check the rules before you even buy your ticket! If you’re going to a festival that allows you to take your own alcohol and has a fairly liberal limit you could save huge sums by shopping at the supermarket beforehand.
You might even be able to take your beers in using a cool box. It’ll be cheaper, not warm, and you won’t have to queue for ages to get a drink. What’s not to like?
Don’t just stock up on booze once you’ve checked the rules, either. The prices of bottled water are often ridiculously high at festivals, so take plenty of your own!
As far as taking your own food is concerned, unless you spend money on a stove – more on that shortly – you are likely to be limited to taking snacks and basic supplies. If you have room in your cool box for some simple sandwich fillings you can at least take a loaf of bread and ensure you’ll have something to eat if you don’t want to endure the inevitably long queuing times.
Scope Out the Food Stalls
Once you have sorted out your camping spot if staying longer than a day, scope out the food stalls.
What are you looking for?
By the end of day one, you should have discovered if any of them suddenly put their prices up in the evening. If they’re all doing this, as many will do, even if they’re serving the same food at lunchtime and dinner time, then have your main meal at lunchtime to save cash.
Look at what your fellow festival-goers are eating, too. Food at music festivals can seem expensive, but sometimes the price is high because you get an awful lot of food for your money. Could you save money by sharing meals with a friend?
Finally, when you do eat, look at things that are more likely to keep you fuller for longer. While carbs may be better for absorbing alcohol, they’ll also leave you feeling hungry again very quickly. Look to eat mainly proteins or find the veggie stall to ensure you eat well and don’t need to pay for an extra meal later when you’re feeling hungry again.
Don’t Buy New Kit or Wear Expensive Clothes
There’s no doubt it’s exciting to go out and buy a state of the art camping stove and a huge new tent, but the chances are they’re going to get damaged in some way. If your tent survives the weekend, you’ll soon regret letting the nice couple in the adjacent camping space use the stove when everyone else assumes you’re just going to say yes, too.
We would take a similar stance when it comes to your clothes, too. Although we all want to go to a festival and look great, if the weather stays great we’ll still probably end up with beer being thrown over us even if we’re not muddy! If you are going to buy new and expensive clothes before attending a festival this summer, factor this into your budget before you buy your ticket.
Look Out for Festival Freebies
There’ll probably be a mobile phone charging point that costs what seems a large sum for very little charge. Avoid this.
Instead, take a look around and find out if there are any freebies available. Modern festivals often have areas where you can cycle to generate your own power or where you can get something in return for recycling plastic cups or food trays. Look out for the freebies on offer and use them as much as you can!
Are You Ready for Festival Season?
You’re now all set to tackle festival season like a financial champ! Get in touch with us over on Facebook to share your own tips and how you used these tips to help you at whatever festival you attended.
Stay safe and have fun this festival season!
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