The Definitive Food Guide to Financially Surviving Any Festival

Festivals and conferences are where your bank account goes to die for the sake of learning and leisure. This is something we’re generally fine with, considering the outcome of these series of events tends to be good times with good friends and good food and drink.

When you can splurge, splurge. But what about the times you want to make the most of your experience without feeling wallet pains? There are tricks of the festival-fan trade that can give you the biggest bang for your buck. But how?! Ah, worry not, we’ve got you covered.

It’s easy to set a plan prior to an event when it comes to a budget and general game plan, but it’s even easier to break that plan when you see all of the boozy concoctions and carefully crafted delicacies.

When prices are fixed, there are still ways to maneuver around those fixed numbers within a budget, it’s just about knowing what your resources are, and how to allocate your time and money towards them.

1. Utilize the Freebies

At every festival, there are mad amounts of giveaways and company swag to be had, and it’s on your best interest to find the representatives, and STAT. Whether it’s free water, fans, food samples, or taste-testers of your new favorite sparkling beverage; there’s a rep for that.

These reps are generally quite generous with what they’re giving out, so don’t feel the need to be stingy, here! If they’re willing to fill your backpack up with snacks galore and other goodies, take them up for it!

When you’re stuck in the middle of a massive crowd and the hanger begins to take over, you’ll thank yourself.

2. Make Use of Drink Tickets

Blinerie food truck. Mapic Awards, Cannes, France. November '16 #logo #blinerie #branding #foodtruck #citroentypeh

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Drink tickets are the sweet savior of festivals and conferences alike. If you find yourself with handfuls of drink tickets, be smart with how you’re spending them at the bar.

Since you’re at a large event, mixed drinks tend to be more mixer than the liquor themselves, whereas beer and wine remain the same.

Splurge on the mixed drinks here and there, but utilize the free-ness of said drinks to their fullest potential by ordering smart—drink beer and wine. Oh, and don’t forget to stay hydrated!

3. Compare and Contrast

Lunches with @theaaronross and @chelts_m get pretty cheesy. #whymygrilledcheesesohot

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This is exponentially important when it comes to food. Sure, that funnel cake looks promising and delicious, but is it going to leave you fulfilled 25 minutes from now, or with a sugar-infused headache? Check out all of the food options, even those outside of the food court itself (food trucks, we’re talkin’ about food trucks).

Keep in mind you’re at a festival, meaning the prices of whatever it is your little heart decides on will be higher than usual. But you don’t have to spend $15 on one slice of pizza when you can spend the same for a basket of chicken wings, fries, and a bottle of water.

Look at your options, and get whatever gets you the most bang for your buck. You’ve got a long day ahead of you, best be ready in every way you can.

Read More: The Only 5 Tips You Need to Get Through SXSW Like a Professional