Living on Much More Than a Prayer: Saving for Festival Season

Festivals can be deceptively expensive. Where you may think that once you’ve paid for your ticket the rest of the weekend will be cheap, after all sleeping in a tent and enjoying all the music in the great outdoors shouldn’t cost you a bundle. You even had the best of intentions, bringing all your own food and booze with you, but beware. When you wake up hungover, that smell wafting over from the bacon sandwich stand is probably going to entice you a lot more than that squashed packet of crisps or cup-a-soup you made last Tuesday.

Once you step through those festival gates, you’re pretty much trapped and can’t really avoid paying exorbitant prices and things are going to work out a lot more expensive than you first hoped. So, while the thought of jumping up and down in a crowd with the sun shining and a cider in hand seems a long way off right now, it’s time to set some savings goals so you can enjoy yourself fully once you get there.

Think of a goal

If you’re going to start hoarding your money then you need to think about how much you actually want to save. Try and think about all the things you’re going to need to pay for: food, alcohol, a tent, transport and whatever else you think you’ll have to pay for. Plan to bring just a little bit extra with you, for the unexpected, like having to fork out for a new pair of wellies because someone thought it’d be funny to pinch one of yours from outside your tent or enough to buy some extra alcohol because you drank your weekend supply in one evening.

Beer – increasing concert costs since forever.

Put aside your money

Once you’ve set a goal, it’s time to think about putting some money aside to reach it. One method is to set up a separate savings account online. Make a promise to yourself to put in a set amount each pay day and if you don’t trust yourself to remember, set up a direct debit, so that way you won’t even miss it. Another great way to put aside some money is to get a money jar. Every time you have some loose change in your pocket or just lying around, put it in your money jar. You’ll be surprised how quickly your money builds up.

Sell stuff online

Now’s the time to rifle through your clothes and get rid of all those items of clothing that’ve been gathering dust at the back of the wardrobe. You’ll earn yourself a bit of extra cash that you can save or even put towards updating your festival wardrobe. You never know, you might even find a gem in your drawer that you totally forgot about or find something that you never dared put on and could probably only get away with wearing within the parameters of the festival gates.

Book transport early

Once you’ve bought your ticket, think about how you’re going to get there and don’t leave it till the last minute. If you need to get a train, book in advance and if you want to save even more money, look at booking a coach. Even better, find out if you can hitch a ride with a friend in the car or check the festival website for people offering to car share. If you choose to festival further afield, make sure you book your flights early and take the time to research what your cheapest option is. It may involve arriving at an airport in a different country to the one you’re planning on going to and taking several trains and coaches afterwards but you’ll get the chance to see a little bit more whilst you’re away than just the festival site. Booking in advance with 1-2 months can be a life saver.

Save the partying for the festival

If you’re planning on heading to a festival this season, then the chances are you’re probably the type who likes to party on a regular basis. But why not save some of that party spirit and some of that precious cash for the festival. When you do go out, only bring what you’re willing to spend as the chances are, once you’re out having a good time and the drinks are flowing, you’re going to spend whatever you have on you. Bearing that in mind, try to avoid bringing any cards out with you.


Volunteering to work at a festival is a great way to save yourself a lot of money. By offering to work for a charity or around the festival site you’ll be given your ticket for free, as well as a place to pitch your tent away from the other festival revellers and their smelly toilets. You may even be offered free food and sometimes even free transport. Yes you actually have to do some work, but you’ll only be given a few shifts for the duration of the festival, giving you plenty of time (and extra money) to enjoy the rest of your few days there. Be careful though – your experience can vary significantly, so it’s best if you could look it up in advance, and maybe talk to some people who volunteered in previous years, see how it panned out.

Spread the cost

The thought of paying hundreds of pounds for a festival ticket months before the event – before you’ve even had time to think about saving – may leave you thinking that you just can’t afford to go this year. Well luckily, many festivals now offer a deposit scheme, meaning you only pay a small amount now and pay the rest back in installments at a later date giving you plenty of time to save up.

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