How to survive the Spring Racing Carnival season

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Extravagance and the Spring Racing Carnival often go hand-in-hand. In fact it’s likely you’ll spend hundreds, on an outfit and a ticket, before you even step foot on the field.

There’s a lot of pressure to make a fashion statement at the races, with many events and competitions being held, but this shouldn’t be a reason to overspend.

Here are some tips I’ve picked up along the way, to ensure you look the part and still have a flutter – without the financial hangover.

How many events should you attend?
Spring racing events take place from Wednesday to Sunday every week in October. Naturally, attending them all is impossible but it’s easy to say yes, one too many times, then realise afterwards how much money you’ve spent on clothing, refreshments and entry.

Some events cost less than others; it’s pretty obviously that the Melbourne Cup will be the most expensive but it also depends on what kind of ticket you buy.

There are plenty of packages available for marquees which include food and alcohol for the day, but it will cost you anywhere from $50-$200.

If you’re looking for a more cost-effective day out, consider attending a racing event on a Thursday or Friday or buying a general admission ticket.

Go second hand
Looking great is half the fun of attending the races, but a new dress or suit could set you back big bucks.

You don’t need to buy an expensive outfit in order to look the part. Facebook groups like DressSwapAU or Clothing Exchange, allow you to swap or buy an item from another seller at a heavily reduced price.

I’ve bought some good quality gowns, in the past, from speciality vintage stores – so this could be an option to consider too. Op shops are often a haven for costume jewellery or speciality pieces, so even if you decide to buy a new dress think about accessorising second-hand.

BYO food & set a drinks budget
While the races can be a great day out, and an excuse to let loose with friends or family, it can also end up costing huge amounts if you end up drinking and eating all day without a budget.

Before you set out, decide how much you want to spend on food and drinks and make sure you don’t go over.

Many people also bring picnics to the races now, so you can create your own feast at home, avoid long lines and save money!

Decide on daily betting budget and stick to it!
If you enjoy placing a bet, make sure you decide what your budget is before you leave home in the morning – and stick to it!

Do your homework first and have fun researching and picking the races and the horses you are going to bet on.

Regardless of whether you win big or loose, being vigilant about what you spend will see you saving dollars.

Go home
After a day of eating and drinking at the races, it can be extremely tempting to continue the festivities and kick-on into the night. But – beware this is the biggest money trap of all.

The added cost of a night out could include dinner and drinks, taxis or transport and club or bar entry fees –which could blow your budget way out of proportion.

Consider calling it a day, at the end of the event, or bring the party back to your house!

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