Festivals on a budget: How to chill out and enjoy the music without worrying about breaking the bank
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The UK festival season is well and truly underway, which means a summer of unforgettable experiences and a painfully neglected bank account. With many festivals increasing their ticket cost and the price of food and drink still eating away at your pocket, it can be difficult to budget for the full experience without breaking the bank.
However, there are plenty of tips and tricks to help you save money and avoid dipping into your savings. We’ve teamed up with the experts at money.co.uk savings to bring you the best ways to cut costs without sacrificing fun.
According to financial expert, Lucinda O’Brien, there are six things you should be doing to make your money go further this festival season.
How to budget for a music festival
It’s commonplace to book a festival ticket in advance but what about travel and accommodation?
Booking travel in advance, including train tickets will save you money; sometimes up to 80%. Train prices can hike massively if you’re looking to book last minute, so booking early will save you money which you could instead put towards your festival spending.
If you’re travelling in a group between three and nine, make sure to book your tickets together to qualify for group save, which can shave up to a third off of your costs. Similarly, booking accommodation at the last minute could lose you hundreds, as hotel prices soar the closer it gets to the festival weekend.
Set a daily budget
Before you attend a festival, you should work out how much you’re planning on spending whilst you’re there, then divide this by the number of days you’ll be there to work out your daily spending.
Most festivals are now cashless so you won’t have to worry about carrying cash and keeping it safe. You could also use a banking app such as Monzo or Starling, which allows you to set budgets and will notify you if you’re overspending.
Bring your own food & drink
While it can be a pain to carry the extra weight, costs of food and alcohol are sure to add up as vendors often hike their prices at such events. In most cases, you can’t leave the festival to buy more food and drink supplies, so it’s worth stocking up before you go.
Repurpose essential items
Repurposing clothes you already own is a great way to save money in the run-up to festival season. Many people splurge on outfits before festivals, which instead could be spent towards days at the festival, travel or accommodation.
Similarly, buying second-hand outfits is a great way to save money and help the planet. Sites such as Depop and Vinted allow you to search for specific items quickly and efficiently, so no need to browse charity shops aimlessly.
Other festival essentials such as tents or camping stoves can be found on sites like eBay and Facebook Marketplace for a fraction of the retail price.
Work hard, play hard
If money is an issue then there’s no bigger incentive to actually volunteer at a festival. Every year, the majority of UK festivals are on the lookout for volunteers to help with things such as cleaning up litter or handing out wristbands.
By coming on board as a volunteer, the cost of a ticket is eliminated in exchange for a few hours of work a day. The hours you don’t work, volunteers are free to enjoy the festival along with their friends, and sometimes with added perks such as an exclusive camping area or separate toilet access.
With no extra spending on accommodation, better showers, and food tokens - it’s a no brainer.
Go to better value or smaller festivals
Smaller, lesser-known festivals without the excessive price tag can help you to keep your budget down. Plus, If there’s a local festival where you live, more of your friends and family can come with you and it will cost you less to travel to.
Sometimes festivals offering more bang for your buck can be found abroad - usually in Europe. Use SkyScanner and Kayak to track flight prices, and AirBnB to find accommodation which can be split between a group.
If you can find a good deal on flights and accommodation it’s worth weighing up your options.