Kansas City’s summer calendar is chock-full of festivals, but attending them can be a costly endeavor. These strategies will help you save on tickets, food and drinks, and even the occasional souvenir. All you need is some sunscreen and a budget.
Find Your Festival
First, figure out which festivals are really up your alley. If you spend all your summer cash at Old Shawnee Days, you might regret missing Fiesta Kansas City or Booms & Blooms at Powell Gardens. If you know other friends who are hitting the same festival, carpool and save on parking fees.
The week before an event, do a little research. Figure out what you’ll be able to take into the festival grounds. Some cultural gatherings, like the Ethnic Enrichment Festival or Bacon-Fest, are all about sampling the food. At others, taking a picnic lunch would make more sense. Don’t forget tailgating as an option, either.
We tend to gravitate to the free, family-focused events. I recommend taking your own snacks or having a filling breakfast or lunch before you go, so you don’t feel like you need to eat a full meal there.
Take your own (partially frozen) water bottles instead of forking out money for it in dehydrated desperation. If you can’t take water in, stick a few bottle caps in your pocket – some venues sell bottles without caps to keep you coming back.
Make Strategic Purchases
Forget the pricey programs and buy a shirt or hat instead. You could save money on apparel by waiting until later in the event, when some merchants start slashing prices.
Take a set amount of cash. When your family’s cash is gone, your spending is done. This is a great way to teach kids about budgeting. Our 5-year-old is old enough now to start making choices with a set amount he can spend.
Pack and Dress Accordingly
Have someone wear a backpack stocked with sunscreen, a first-aid kit and bug spray.
Don’t wear your best outfit or shoes to an outdoor festival, and consider taking just one phone. Mosquitoes can ruin your day. Losing pricey stuff will ruin it even faster.
No matter which KC festivals you choose to attend this summer, follow these tips and it’s sure to be an enjoyable, affordable time.
Kat's Money Corner is posted on Dollars & Sense every Tuesday. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, click http://twitter.com/savinmavens or visit http://communityamerica.com.