7 Ways to Save When Your Family Goes to the State Fair

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With summer in full bloom, many states are ramping up their annual fairs. These family friendly events can be a wonderful way to enjoy the local culture, try out new rides, and of course, eat a ton of food. Before you head out to your state fair, try out some of these tips to save your family a bit of money.

  1. Be an Early Bird with Tickets: Buying at the gate usually means that you pay more, so skip the lines and get your tickets early. If your family is planning on meeting up with friends, see if you can buy your tickets together so you can get a bulk discount.
  2. Go on Event Days: You may be able to get a discount on your tickets if you visit during an event day. Some fairs offer deals for members of the military and seniors. For example, some have a donation night where you can get into the state fair by contributing something for the local food bank. It’s not a free ticket, per se, but you’ll get into the fair and be helping other families. It’s also an opportunity to talk to your kids about giving and charities. If they’re old enough you can sit down and discuss some local ones you volunteer at and/or contribute towards.
  3. Carpool: Check and see if your state fair has park and ride options. These can help you save money and get some stress off your shoulders since you don’t have to hunt for parking. Coming with friends? Try and car pool so you split the parking fees.
  4. Stop by the ATM: Before you set foot at the fair, stop by your bank or credit union and get some cash from the ATM. If you wait until you’re there, you may be hit with unnecessary fees. When you have cash, you may also be less tempted to go over your budget.
  5. Be Savvy with Drinks and Snacks: If you are bringing your car to the fair, take advantage and pack your cooler with drinks and snacks. You can come back and top off as you need. Constantly filling up on drinks at the state fair can drain your wallet quickly. Grab water bottles for everyone so no one is dehydrated. You can than use the money saved for special moments (for those going to the NC state fair later this year, please go and grab some ice cream – it’s awesome!).
  6. Enjoy the Free Shows and Exhibits: While you might be tempted to get tickets for the rides up front, it may be best to wait. Try to explore the fair and catch some of the free performances first. You may find that your family has plenty to catch without spending extra money (and wasting time in lines) for rides and other pricey attractions.
  7. Plan Your Day Ahead: Before you head out for the fair, take a peek at the event map to see where everything is laid out. You’ll get the most bang for your buck by having a thought out game plan of what rides you’d like to go on or shows you want to see.

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