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You only need one type of hangover this festival season, and it’s not going to be financial.

The lineups are being announced. Weather is heating up. Gyms are slowly becoming more packed. Festival season is well and truly upon us.

Whether you’re looking to awaken your inner love child at Secret Garden, road trip up to Byron for Falls Festival or get your shirt off at Stereo, it’s time to start scrimping your spare change together for the essentials. By our calculations, you’ll need a fair amount of change to get through the season ahead.

Summer Festival Guide to Money

Your festival budget

It’s the same every year. You manage to get your funds together for a ticket and then overspend at the festival because you didn’t budget. To save you from crawling around in the grass looking for dropped coins, we’ve put together a rough guide to how much your favourite festival is likely to cost:

  • The ticket. For one-day festivals, prices range between about $120 to $200 depending on how early you buy. For multi-day festivals, prices can range from $200 to $500 depending on how many days you attend and whether you camp.
  • The transport. This is mainly an issue for camping festivals, although it can also be costly for one-day festivals if you’re travelling far. Driving from Sydney to Byron will cost you around $120 in petrol plus a $15 parking charge. If you’re travelling in-style with a campervan you could be set back $141 for three days of parking (but also save on accommodation).
  • Accommodation. Travelling a longer distance might require you to spend a night or two in a hotel, motel, hostel, tent or your car. Budget between $50 to $300 for accommodation per night depending on how much you’re planning on roughing it. If you want to save on accommodation costs, drive a campervan to the festival.
  • Food and booze. Cash is king at festivals, and based on prices, you’ll need a lot of it. This is especially true for some camping festivals that work on a no-ATM or coupon basis, so make sure to come prepared. You can expect to spend about $6-$15 per alcoholic beverage and around the same price for meals. While these prices are less of an issue for a one-day event, buying drinks and food for multi-day festivals can see your budget blown and dripping in kebab sauce regret very quickly.
  • The outfit. Don’t even begin to lie to yourself and say that this doesn’t put a dent in your savings. What to wear, what to wear. You can spend between $10 and $200 on fancy new clothes to impress festival peeps, so make sure this is factored into your budget.

Ways to save on those summer days

Seeing all the costs laid out like this can be daunting. With ticket prices, food, accommodation and transport you could easily be looking at $2,000 for three days of festival fun. You can lower the costs by following these festival hacks:

  • Get in for free. Most festivals give volunteer workers free or discounted tickets to the event. It doesn't always involve picking up rubbish for hours on end, you could work at the bar, cloak room or at the ticket gates.
  • Score a free ticket. Build up your rewards points balance and purchase your ticket, festival accommodation or transport with it. There are a few rewards cards that are low fee or come with a low interest rate, so compare your options and find a cheaper way to get to your festival.
  • Get your ticket early. Festivals tickets are released in batches: early bird, general release, first release and second release. The later the batch, the more expensive the ticket. It's called scarcity, people. The quicker the festival sells out the less the organiser will have to spend on marketing as well. Still, the tickets are still cheaper for you, so it's a win-win.
  • Festivals are about sharing. If you’re driving far you can consider car sharing – most multi-day festivals help you find others travelling there, whether it’s through third-party services or on the festival's site. If you can bring in your own food and non-alcoholic beverages, do it, and buy in bulk. You’ll cut your costs and stick to your budget better because you’ll have bought everything beforehand.
  • Bring out your inner indie. This is not referring to buying an expensive camera to improve your Instagram game – this refers to your fashion. Instead of heading to General Pants and dropping $200 on your outfit, head to an op-shop or vintage store to score some cheap threads. If you insist on General Pants, save by shopping online with coupon codes.
  • Preparation is key. There's at least one item you forgot every year, and if you're unorganised, there might be more than one. Be prepared and pack everything you will and might need. If you’re a festival newbie, have a look through some festival forums and see what people suggest bringing. If you’re a seasoned attendee, remember what items you always forget.

Can’t stretch your budget? Here are some ways to finance your adventure

If you don't have the money for your ticket or you haven’t budgeted enough for the festivals you want to go to, you can consider putting your festivals on credit. It’s important to put as much thought into budgeting for this option as you would paying upfront – will you be able to afford the ongoing repayments? Here are some options you have to fund your next festival:

  • Personal loans. Festivals, especially camping festivals, are essentially holidays. Personal loans are commonly used to finance holidays, so you can consider taking one out to pay for your ticket, accommodation and anything else you need help paying for.
  • Credit cards. There are several low-cost cards you can consider applying for to help you fund your festival purchases. If you already have a credit card you can consider charging your festival expenses to your card and then balance transferring your debt to save on interest while you pay it off. If you’re looking for a new credit card, a low fee or low interest rate card could be one to consider.
Festivals, for some, are the life-blood of summer. While the music and the experiences might run through your veins, we hope this guide has shown you they don’t have to send you into debt.

Shop the festival look

Now that you've got your finances in check, why not check out the tickets that will get your summer heating up.

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