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Money Saving Tips for Fairs and Carnivals


There is nothing quite like the summer season. I love the sun and everything summer represents. The summer season is the season of fairs and carnivals, and this weekend I decided to take the kids to our local carnival as a means of getting outdoors on the weekend. We ended up having a lot of fun and to be honest, nothing sounds better than a fun day at the local fair, building lasting memories with your children, that is until you realize how much the whole thing will cost you. There are lots of great things to see and do at your local fair or carnival and luckily several ways to save. Today I want to share with you all the ways that you can enjoy your carnival without breaking the bank.


Shop around. When looking at events to visit, check to see what is local and what each will cost. If you have a rather large family like I do, you're going to want to find the best value for your family so that you can all have a great time.

Look for a discount before you go. Many fairs and carnivals have discounted tickets available at your local supermarket. Sometimes you may even be able to get a discount by making a donation to your local food bank, enrolling your kids in a reading rewards programs, and you may even get a discount for going on opening day when everything is cleaner.


Eat before you go. Have a large meal before attending the fair or carnival to reduce the amount of money you spend on food during your visit. While most carnivals may allow you to bring a bag in with your own snacks, you can almost always bring in your own bottles of water, fairs, however, including the state fairs may restrict that, so be sure to check the rules on what you can bring.

Set a budget and bring cash. By setting a budget and making a plan to stay within that budget, you can prevent yourself from going over budget. Giving your children their portion will teach them money management, giving your child a real life lesson in financial responsibility.


Get the best deal on rides. Wristbands are a great way to save on rides for older kids that will be riding a lot of rides. If you want to skip the wristbands, check the price of bulk ride tickets. Usually the more you buy, the more of a discount you will get.

Set limits on games for the entire family. The cost of carnival games can really kill a budget. Give each person a limit and strictly cut him or her off once they have reached that limit. If you have young kids that just love playing games, you can always choose the cheaper games and let them play each game once.


Look for free offerings. Visit the exhibits, see the animals, and browse the projects from local groups like the 4H. Many people forget these are even at the fair, which is sad because they are a great opportunity to learn something new. It also affords you the chance to get away from the bulk of the crowd and lines.

Let's discuss: Are there other ways you can save at fairs and carnivals? 

Annmarie John
28 Comments
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28 comments:

  1. Love the idea of giving each kid their own money and letting them budget for themselves. My kids could go through our money so fast on games trying to win stuffed animals.

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    1. Oh my kids do the same thing too. We end up spending a lot of money on games but we do invest in the wristbands.

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  2. This is smart! When you plan ahead, there are usually deals and coupons for admission. I never see them in time!
    Also definitely eat before you go or you're at the mercy of $10 cotton candy for dinner!

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    1. Oh please don't mention the prices of the food. They are more expensive than at the movies. :)

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  3. We give our kids their own set money for everything we do. It works BEAUTIFULLY! They know when it is done they do not get any more - so they don't ask.

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    1. That's like one of the best thing ever. I do the same but sometimes I end up giving a bit more. I need to stop.

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  4. My kids just see dollar signs when we go to fairs and carnivals. It's insane the prices of these family friendly events! Thank you for the tips!

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    1. Oh yes it's crazy the prices you spend for their food especially. Totally ridiculous!

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  5. Thank you for these tips! These places really seem to suck money out of you so it's good to knwo a few ways to save.

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    1. Oh yes they sure do and they do it very well.

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  6. you know, I never really liked going to fairs because they were so expensive. But the kids love them, so these are great tips.

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    1. I can do without them but my kids love them too so I always try and make it.

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  7. These are definitely great tips. I love the idea of setting a budget with just the cash that you have on hand. People tend to spend more when they don't have a set limit.

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    1. That's really true. When you're just pulling out your card, you never really notice how much you're spending until you get the bill.

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  8. Eat before you go is the best money saving tip! LOL! I spend so much on fair food, it's just my favorite! LOL!

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    1. Oh the food is so expensive there too that eating before you go is certainly the way to go.

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  9. This is great! I usually go with the setting a budget route. I'd allocate how much I'd spend that day, including for souvenirs, then stick to it. I'm pretty good at it, but we would still have some extra for just in case.

    | yvonnesowell.com |

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    1. That's me. I always have some extra just in case. :)

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  10. Setting the budget is key. It used to work that we would take out a bit of cash and only use that, but now that they have ATM's at the fair (crazy, right?!) we tend to get a little more out when the kids want something else. Bad habits...

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    1. Oh yes that happens, having that ATM at the fair is no coincidence. They know you're going to need more after going over your budget.

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  11. I think you covered it girl! Carnivals and fairs always sound cheap at first but boy can it add up! Especially if you're a foodie like me! The food gets me every time! I have to try it all lol....

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    1. Oh that's us too. The food is what we spend most of our money on. You might have to eat before you go too!

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  12. I think sometimes bringing your own drinks can save you a lot of money. I've noticed that beverages are grossly overpriced at these events and they are the things you spend the most money on.

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    1. Oh yes they most certainly are. The kids wanted something to drink and a bottle of water was $3 which was the cheapest thing on their menu. Are you kidding me?

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  13. With 3 kids, we definitely spend more than our fair share at carnivals. These are great tips! I try to bring our own drinks too.

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    1. Bringing your own drinks is a great idea. I tend to freeze our water in a water bottle and walk with them.

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  14. These tips are great! Sadly, these tips still wouldn't save us money because my husband loves to play all of the game at the fair. If he loses he will play until he wins LOL!

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    1. Your husband sounds very much like my own. He's one of those who just HAS to win!

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[name=AnnMarie John] [img=https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-X9gUeVik-ZY/WJjwNTOobII/AAAAAAABTJ4/qEhU0n62_AIo-j6-6LA2OFOr44lKCHASwCLcB/s100/AnnMarie%2BJohn%2BHeadshot.JPG] [description=AnnMarie John is a lifestyle blogger, mom of 4, retired army veteran and a huge Disney lover. Formerly from the beautiful island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean and now living in colorful Colorado, she loves sharing her opinions on everything, crafting and food.] (facebook=http://www.facebook.com/theannmariejohn) (instagram=http://www.instagram.com/theannmariejohn) (twitter=http://www.twitter.com/theannmariejohn) (pinterest=http://www.pinterest.com/theannmariejohn) (email=mailto:annmarie@annmariejohn.com)

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