Summer is almost here! Yes I know it’s still March, but who can blame me, it’s been a LONG Winter! One of my family’s favorite things to do as it starts to get warmer is to hit up the local amusement parks. Doing so can be pretty expensive, but there are a multitude of ways I have found to save money and allow us to go more than once a year. Here are my tips for saving money without dipping into the best high yield savings account you’ve sacrificed to build up on a day at the amusement park.
Bring your own food. Many amusement parks have no rules regarding bringing in your own food. I have even seen parks that have cooking facilities in the park! Some allow you to bring in snacks but not full meals. Some allow you to leave and come back so this means you could leave your food in a cooler and leave to eat it and come back in. I have done all of these to save money and it really does!
Look for ways to buy your tickets in advance. Many theme parks have ways you can buy your tickets pre-season at a discount and online you may be able to buy them from a private seller. Just make sure if you buy from a private seller that the tickets are authentic. Also, inquire if you can get discounts on group rates or if you are a member of AAA or AARP.
Get Social. Check on social media pages for special fan only deals the park is running. Not only will you get savings on ticket prices, food and entertainment in the park, but you might be lucky enough to win some free vouchers as well!
Try to go during the off season. Go before tourist season starts or right after it. This means you may be able to get good deals in May and September on into October. Additionally, my family and I have gone during “twilight” hours where we go after 4 or 5 pm and get almost half off admission. The park stays open until 10 pm so this gives us 5-6 hours in the park and really, that is plenty of time. Plus, by that point, you only have one meal to pay for!
Bring a backpack. Many theme parks want you to get a locker when you come in. Avoid paying for one by bringing along a backpack instead of a purse or shoulder bag. Be prepared to have it searched, though, for safety precautions.
Make a budget and stick to it. One of the largest expenses in theme parks, besides the food is the souvenirs and if you have kids with you, they will want a lot of them. Discuss the max each child gets before you go to the park so they are aware. This doesn’t mean you won’t have to remind your kids when the “want monster” seeps in, but it will allow you to know what you will be spending beforehand.
Ask about specials on drinks. One park we go to has a yearly re-useable cup that you can buy and get refills for 99 cents in all season long. It’s great because not only can we bring it back in every time we go and not shell out $5 for a soda; we have souvenirs as well. One way we “cheat” the system is to bring it in already full so at least our first fill-up is free.
Look for special savings if you are local. If the parks you want to visit are local to you, you may get special deals on season passes as well as deals just for showing proof of being a local resident, especially if you bring in out of towners. All you have to do is ask! For season passes, the earlier you buy, the better!
This post was contributed by Christine who writes Saved by Grace. She writes about Family, Frugality, Faith and so much more. Here is what she says about her blog: “I was a stay at home wife and just wanted to find something to occupy my time. I felt kind of useless. I am so glad I did, because more than 2 years later, I am still here, plugging away and this blog has been an absolute joy and miracle in my life. It is amazing what undercover talents and abilities we have we when believe in ourselves and stick with things!”
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