person smiling and dancing with a red background

Fit for the fest: How to do festivals on a budget

Discovering new artists is what festivals are all about, but what you don’t want to discover is that you’ve drained your bank account before the gates even open. With festival season coming in red hot, now is the perfect time to start mapping out your event calendar and your budget.

We all know how pricey festival tickets can be, but that’s just one piece of the puzzle. Then there’s the cost of getting there, accommodation, food, and of course, what you’ll be wearing.

So, if you’re looking to tackle your next festival on a budget – we’ve got some clever tips to help keep your spending in check while still having an epic time.

Shop smarter for your festival ‘fit

A crucial element of attending any festival is the outfit. Planning your look can be a huge undertaking, especially if you’re heading to a multi-day event. It can also come with significant costs if you’re buying everything new.

A few extra minutes scanning the web for promo codes could save you a chunk of money. Keep an eye out for sales and offers from your favourite brands in the lead-up, or if you bank with Virgin Money, you can earn bonus Virgin Money Points1 when you make a purchase with retailers like THE ICONIC, General Pants, and Wrangler. Keep an eye on our partner offers in the Virgin Money app.

Remember, you can resell your pre-loved outfits after the festival to recoup some of your costs if they're still in decent condition. It's a win for your bank account and a win for the planet.

You might even want to consider pre-loved items for yourself. Get your gear from a sustainable fashion platform such as Depop or Marketplace, or head down to your local Op-Shop. When you’re wading through a muddy paddock, you’ll be glad you didn’t break the bank on your outfit.

Figure out the food situation

The rules around what you can and can’t bring into a festival vary – BYO drinks are generally out of the question, but you might be able to save a few bucks by bringing your own food. If you’re camping overnight, you might be able to bring in an esky to keep you going for the weekend. And for single-day festivals, a few sneaky sandwiches in your backpack can save you from splashing out on an overpriced kebab – and wasting precious time lining up.

If you can, bring your own empty water bottle to fill up once you’re inside. You’ll avoid paying a premium for a bottle of water at the bar, reduce the number of plastic bottles going to landfill, and keep yourself hydrated while you sweat it out in the mosh pit. Triple win!

Resist the urge to over-splurge

Worried you’re going to max out your credit card on merch and overpriced vodka sodas? You might want to consider leaving your wallet at home and stick with your digital wallet. Load your account up with an amount you’re comfortable spending for the day and move the rest to a separate savings account you know you won’t touch.

You can still earn points, track spending, and use round ups2 with your digital wallet too, so all your savvy saving habits can continue while you have the time of your life.

Put your points to work

Got some Virgin Money Rewards points laying around? Why not use them to slash your festival costs? There are tonnes of ways you can Pay with points3 for necessities like camping gear, or hotels if you prefer a more lavish experience.

And don’t forget to pay it forward to future you! If you do need to fork out for travel, accommodation, and other expenses, see if you can earn some Virgin Money Rewards points with our partners, or earn points booking hotels through the Virgin Money app while you’re at it.

Trade your time for tix

If you’re desperate to catch a festival but can’t spare the cash, look for volunteering opportunities that offer free tickets in exchange for a few hours of work. Check the festival website for volunteering gigs – it might be handing out flyers in the run up to the festival or helping at the lost-and-found tent on the day. It’s a small price to pay to see your favourite bands free of charge!

Whether you’re into heavy metal, hip-hop or psychobilly trance, stay safe and spend smart this festival season.

Ready to bank to your own beat? Try a Virgin Money Go account today!

Open a Go account


[1] The Rewards Program is subject to Virgin Money Rewards Terms and Conditions. The goods and services offered by affiliated merchants within the Virgin Money Rewards Hub are subject to separate Merchants’ terms and conditions.

[2] Round-ups are transfers that you can elect to activate on your Go Accounts. By enabling this feature on your Go Account, funds are transferred from the selected Go Account to your nominated savings account each time you make a debit card transaction. The amount of the transfer will be up to the nearest $1 of the amount that the transaction takes place. Round-up transactions will not take place if by making the transaction your account would be Overdrawn. You can disable the round-up feature through the Mobile app at any time.

[3] Pay with points is available for eligible transactions made within the last 90 days. The full list of eligible transactions can be found in the Virgin Money Rewards Terms and Conditions. You must have sufficient points to be able to redeem the total value of the purchase through Pay with points. If you redeem your points, we will credit a cash amount equal to the selected transaction into your Virgin Money Go Account. Once the funds have been credited to an account, they cannot be reversed to points.