October 4, 2007

Frugality at the Fair

The Georgia National Fair is in town once again! When you're at the fair, it can be hard to resist the full fair experience, which seems to be emptying out your wallet for the week in a few hours. While there are ways to save money on admissions and rides, I have found that concessions are the fastest way to lose my money. Here are a few tips that you already know, but might have forgotten in your excitement to go to the fair.

1. Don't buy fair food – I know, it's part of the experience, but is a corn dog REALLY worth $3? The fair allows you to bring in your own food and drinks, so you can bring your own food right inside the fairgrounds. Or if you prefer, pack a cooler, get your hand stamped, and picnic by your car for your meal.

2. If the above option is too cruel, just picnic for your main meal. You can save some room for dessert and buy a dessert at the fair.

3. Bring your own drink – if you're like me and you can't resist the fair food, at least bring your own drinks. Soda is soda pretty much wherever you buy it. Currently, the cheapest drink at the fair is a 20oz for $2. Swing by WalMart on your way to the fair, and get an ice-cold 20oz from the outside vending machines for $1. Better yet, buy your drinks in bulk, refrigerate ahead of time, and pack in your cooler.

4. Don't buy what can easily be had outside the fair. A slice of pizza at the fair for $3? The pizza's not that good, and pizza is not that hard to come buy. If you're going to buy fair food, buy real fair food. Funnel cakes, cotton candy, apple dumplings, roasted corn on the cob, and smoked turkey legs are just a few of the options. Yes, they are outrageously priced at $5-$7 each. But how often do you get the chance to eat this type of food? If you want the full fair experience of buying your food there, make sure it's something special. A word of caution: the Italian sausage dogs are disgusting!

5. Share your food – Americans portion out food much larger than other countries, and fairs are no exception. Splitting your food in half (except for roasted corn, which would be awkward) is a good way to get more variety for less money.


  1. I just spent the day at a local amusement park and broke the bank.

    Ice cream (Dippin' Dots) - $5
    Slice of pizza - $4
    Bottle of water - $3
    DVD of me on a ride - $15


  2. I decided to boycott the fair this year. My money and I decided to spend some quality time together.


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