7 Ways to Stick to Budget at the Royal Shows (Did Someone Say Bertie Beetle?)

Contributed by Rebecca Maher, The Fiscal Mum

The Sydney Royal Easter Show, the Royal Melbourne Show and the Royal Queensland Show affectionately nicknamed ‘The Ekka’ – pose a pretty big draw card for a great family day out.

The big colourful pavilions, the attractions and the showbags means there’s usually something for all the family to enjoy; but showing up without a plan for spending those hard-earned dollars means you could be leaving with a much lighter wallet!

Here are some quick tips to help you attend without burning a hole in your pocket:

1. Work out a budget for the show

Whenever you’re heading to one of these types of shows it is a good idea to decide on a spending budget upfront. Not only is there the price of admission and for many of the things you may want to see and do when you’re there, there’s also the cost involved in getting to and from the show as well as food, drinks and incidentals. It’s easy to blow the budget if you’re not prepared. Work out a total spend that you’re comfortable with and then use the following tips to help craft a visit that fits the bill.

2. Decide when you want to go

The time of day and day of the week you visit can impact the overall cost. Some shows have twilight passes for evening entry times that are heavily discounted. For example, the Ekka 2018 Show has a twilight pass for $20 with their EkkaNites program featuring monster trucks, FMX riders and a Wild Colonial Wagon Chase and an extended evening fireworks display for entry after 6pm.

3. Check for eligible discounts on ticket prices

Look for pre-sale, early bird and online-only discounts as well as offers on ticket prices. Look for sponsors or partners of the show who may also be offering special member-only discounts. For example, RACV is offering 30% off ticket prices at the Royal Melbourne Show for 2018 as an Early Bird Offer for their members.  Check your service providers or a simple Google search will bring up any current special ticket pricing.


4. Work out how you’ll get there

Public transport is likely to be the cheapest option for getting to and from these kinds of shows, but if you’ve got little kids and will be lugging prams around this is likely to be extremely unappealing. In that case, check for deals on parking. For example, Secure parking offers 10% off Ekka ticket prices when you pre-book your parking with them. Just ensure you factor the cost of parking into the total spending budget.

5. Decide on showbags beforehand

They might seem cheap at $5 – $15 a pop – but boy can they add up quickly! Jump onto the show’s website and check them out beforehand. Decide on a number and then get the kids to decide up front which bags they want. Then, when you’re at the show, grab the ones you’ve already picked – this should reduce the dramas and tears, and prevent blowing the budget on impulse spends.

6. Work out what to see

Take a peak on the show’s website to get an understanding of what there is to see and do. There are plenty of FREE attractions and activities that you can plan into your day at the show. If the kids want to jump on the rides – look at the pricing options ahead of time. If you plan to spend a lot of time on rides, it’s probably worth looking at a rides pass rather than paying per ride. If not, work out the cost per ride, agree on a number of rides that fit your budget and buy just enough tickets (no more).

7. Pack your own food and drink

Food and drinks at the shows can be very expensive and could easily add another $50 plus dollars to your overall spend. Packing your own lunch and snacks means you’ve got a healthier budget for seeing and doing everything else on the day, you avoid the cues at the food trucks and know exactly what you’re eating.


About Rebecca Maher

Rebecca is a Sydney-based financial adviser, coach and the founder of The Fiscal Mum, a boutique financial advisory business helping mums and their families to save more money, achieve their goals and enjoy a comfortable lifestyle! She is a mum of two girls and her passion is to help other mums make managing money easy again.

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