Stampede is easily the highlight of July in Calgary, but it can be difficult to enjoy yourself listening to the resounding tune of “ka-ching, ka-ching” as your bank account slowly (or actually quite quickly) drains over the course of a mere 10 days. Here are a few money saving tips and tricks to keep beer in your belly, a smile on your face and change in your pocket this Stampede.
Everyone’s Favourite Four-Letter Word
Free! There are tons of free events going on throughout Stampede week so why not take advantage? Watch the parade on Friday morning, hit up a pancake breakfast or two, enjoy the Midway Circus (Can you say Celebrity Pig Racing? Who wouldn’t want to watch that!), take in the nightly fireworks show on or off the grounds, catch a concert at the Coke Stage, say hello to local livestock at the Agrium Barns, or cool off in the Big Four and cheer on the Superdogs. We could go on, but you get the idea.
Brown Bag It
Go old school and pack a lunch. If you’re going to be down at the grounds all day, save your waist and your wallet by bringing snacks from home. And don’t forget a water bottle – they’re definitely not giving those out for free and staying hydrated is key to lasting the day at the grounds!
Wheelin’ & Dealin’
The Calgary Stampede deals page is a great place to go to learn how to save on park admissions, midway rides and games. Costco bucks, a trip to Mac’s and even buying a case of coke will have you one step closer to saving your pennies.
Take the Train
It’s not exactly everyone’s favourite time of the year to resort to transit – the train cars are hot, stuffy and full to capacity – but the cost of a $3 train ticket is a whole lot easier to swallow than $60 a day for parking. Unless you’re Scrooge McDuck that is.
Put the ‘You’ in Value
Every year the Stampede offers discounted (and even free) park entry to specific demographics, on designated days. Pay $9 for entry on Sneak-a-peek (5 p.m.-12 a.m.) or head in for free on Family Day (from 6 a.m.-9 a.m.), Western Heritage Day (all day – if you’re over 65 that is) and Kid’s Day (from 7 a.m.-9 a.m. – IF you have a small child in tow). Check out details online for more about Stampede’s 2015 Value Days.
Drink your own beer. Simple, yet effective. Grab your favourite six-pack from the local Liquor Barn and enjoy a cold one in the comfort of your home to get a head start on your Stampede buzz. This probably won’t totally eliminate the need to buy booze on the grounds, but at least you won’t be starting from scratch when you hit the beer gardens. And if all else fails, you can always make use of the wiggle room in your cowboy boots as storage for something small and flask-shaped.
If there’s a show or concert you’re dying to see and you’re feeling lucky, keep an eye on the @Stmpdr social media feeds for ticket giveaways all week long. We’ve got some good ones coming up so stay tuned!
Happy (cost-conscious) Stampeding!