State Fair fun

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It’s a mini-vacay, but mama is on a debt pay off journey. So how do we do this cheaply and still get to enjoy some delicious fair food? (Ok, maybe greasy, not normal fair food is a better description.)

By the time this publishes, we will have returned from our trip, but I wanted you all to know how I planned it.

Lodging first

The first thing I did was book the hotel rooms. Lodging is always the biggest expense when we travel as a family, and I knew we would need two rooms. (We’ve always squished into one room, but with the addition of my fiance and a few friends, I am glad I shopped around and booked early.) I will not be able to use points for this visit, but should early a good number toward future travel. There are 8 of us going – three of my kids, three of their friends and my fiance and I.

Now that I knew what that was going to cost me, I could build a budget for the trip and figure out where I had to spend money and where I could save.

Fair food is a must

Anyone who has been to the fair knows it’s all about the food…funnel cakes, fried oreos, random fried things on a stick and even meat on a stick. It’s yummy, completely unhealthy, but delicious! And it is so freaking expensive! But with so many of us and so many teenage boys, the $$$$ were adding up.

Thankfully, our hotel offers a free breakfast. And all the kids have a job. But I know all of them have expenses too and the ones in college are on a pretty tight budget. So while I did warn them all that they would need to cover their own “fair” money, I have budgeted to give each a set amount at the fair and it must cover food. (We are typically there long enough to need at least one meal.)

So with two meals covered per day, I needed one more per day covered. We are gone for 10 meals…including travel time. And going out to eat with 8 people…no, thank you! We went to the grocery store and bought a bunch of easy grab and go meal food – crackers and cheese and butter, sandwich makings, a multi-pack of chips and a case of water.

Buy early, buy cheap

We have gone to the fair for many, many years. It’s been an annual family affair since Princess and Gymnast were born. My dad used to take us every year from the time they were babies.

I learned then to start looking for tickets early. In Virginia, we could buy them at the local grocery store for a discount. Here in small town Georgia, that hasn’t been an option. So when I saw them offer a two day sale on the daily tickets, I jumped on it and bought enough for all of us. Saved a couple of hundred dollars in doing just that.

Making memories, getting fat and having fun as a family

In the end, I am still spending more for this mini-vacay then I want too. But I know I will not regret it when I look back at the memories we will make, remember this time together that is becoming more and more fleeting as the kids age and of course, enjoy the diabetic, heart-attack inducing fried, sweet food for a couple of days. And all the kids are super excited to go as a family! Truly! And if anyone else has a bunch of teenagers and young adults, you know that getting them all excited about a family event can be a challenge!

 

 

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