Saving at the fair

It’s been really chilly around here the last few days. For me cooler weather equals state fair time! I’m a state fair junkie. I spent my teenage years living in West Springfield, Massachusetts, the home of The Big E. I’ve attended almost every year of my life, including almost everyday for the two weeks of the fair each year when I was in high school.

Over the years, the fair has gotten expensive but I’ve found some ways to save.

  • Buy advance tickets. Check your local grocery stores and the website for the fair for locations for discount tickets. AAA is also a great place to find discount tickets (they also sell discount movie tickets!). I saved $2 per ticket purchasing the tickets online. All I had to do was print them and present them at the door.
  • Look for food coupons and discounts. This year, The Big E offered discount food coupons on their website. I could get coupons for $10 worth of food for $8. There was no limit to the number of coupon books you could purchase and the coupons are in $1 increments. That’s a 20% savings.
  • Look for the refillable cup deal. Last year, my husband and I purchased a refillable cup for $8 and shared it. The cup was really big, like a giant water bottle. Each refill was just a few dollars ($3, I think). Small sodas at the fair were $4 and each refill was the size of three small sodas. Splitting one drink saved us a ton of money.
  • Eat before you go. Everything at the fair smells awesome. If you really want to save some money, have a small meal before you go.
  • Look for community organization “meals”. The Lion’s Club and a number of other service clubs have booths at The Big E. Some of them serve full meals for a great price. It’s a good way for you and your family to eat a meal at the fair for a reasonable price.
  • Don’t drink alcohol at the fair. Beer and wine are crazy expensive. Pick up a six pack on the way home and enjoy a drink when resting your feet on the couch.
  • Set a budget. Since we’ve already purchased our tickets and our food coupons, we don’t need much money for the fair. Set a budget for ride tickets, spending money and food. Only bring that much cash with you and leave your credit cards at home or in the trunk of your car.
  • Look for coupons in the program. If the program is inexpensive, ask if you can see a copy and look at the coupons inside. If you think they will save you more that you would save on the program, it’s a good deal. Just make sure the coupons are for things you were going to purchase anyways.
I’m always looking for new tips on saving at the fair. I’m hoping we will go tomorrow. Meal plan will be up late tomorrow!

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