Today we ventured to the Perth Royal Show. I hadn’t been for years and probably haven’t enjoyed it so much since I was a teenager. I think it is one of those outings that seems a lot more fun once you have children to share the experience with.
It can get expensive though. I marvelled that show bags can cost up to $22 each. That rides ranged from $6-$10 per person, even for the little kids rides! Add in entry fees, food, drinks and sideshow alley games and it can be a very expensive outing for a family.
I think the key to enjoying the experience as a family both on the day and as you add up what you’ve spent afterwards, is making a plan, thinking about your budget and putting limits in place before you go.
Here are a six tips used by my family as I was growing up (on one income, with four kids) which still worked well for us today…
1. We caught the train to and from the show so that we did not have to waste money on exorbitant parking fees.
2. Research whether discount pre-purchase tickets are available or discount tickets combining entrance fees and public transport costs.
3. We spent lots of time looking at the free exhibits and displays. Immy was as enamoured by time at the petting farm and watching the show jumping as she was by the activities requiring a fee. There are all sorts of exhibits – farm animals, cats, fresh produce, fashion, craft, cake decorating, and displays of everything from tractors to trampolines, all of which are fascinating to children and many of which are interactive, Immy didn’t want to get off the trampoline!
4. Take your own food and drinks. By packing sandwiches and snacks, you avoid the queues at lunchtime and you are not buying food at over-inflated prices.
5. Set a limit for each family member for rides and sideshow alley games. Whether it be a dollar limit or a set number of rides and games, make sure the children (and adults) are clear about the limits before you get caught up in the fun.
6. Similarly, set a limit for showbags. As children, we were allowed to choose one novelty bag and one chocolate bag. Again, limits can be a monetary value or number of items. Setting these types of limits from a young age teaches children to choose wisely and to be responsible managers of money.
Of course, surviving this type of outing with a family in tow takes planning and organisation. Check out my previous tips for outings;