Carnival is ADDICTIVE. Once you get a taste, you will be back for more. As carnival enthusiasts, we plan out our 2-3 carnival trips for the year while many people are still wondering how we’re able to pull this off and live.
Keep in mind everyone’s circumstances are different, some have discretionary funds, others stay with family to save on lodging etc. As usual, I am here to provide some tips.
TRIM THE FAT (CUT DOWN SPENDING).
Having money to save, means you need to have money to spend. Take a hard look at your current spending habits to see if you can afford a carnival trip. Start with your small luxuries. Do you buy lattes at Starbucks daily? Do you shop a lot? Do you eat out daily or go to happy hour? Re-allocate that money toward your carnival budget. I LOVE herbal tea..Guess who makes their tea at home? ME! That extra $5 per day is put into my Vacation account.
There is a reason this quote exists: the early bird gets the worm; and this applies to Carnival also. Part of being early, is planning to show up. You played with the idea of going to Grenada (SpiceMas) for Carnival for months. Get your funds in order so you end up paying less. Buying your flight to Grenada once they post could be $600usd vs $1200usd if you purchase it late.
The same applies to fetes — early bird tickets post, you buy them. This also spares you the stress of paying the markup on fetes when people re-sell them to you. Imagine paying $300usd for a ticket that released at $140usd. You snooze, you lose.
Loving a band? Take advantage of their low-cost costume deposit. That could be $150usd while they are promoting vs. $300usd when you miss the cut off.
You get the point
GET A CREW.
Two heads are better than one. Costs will always be less when it’s shared amongst a group. A group of four is the perfect number to offset hotel and transportation costs. If you plan to travel with 10 plus people, some carnival bands offer group rates, ask them if they offer any discounts, that $10 off can really add up.
PAY AS YOU GO
Paying off your costume early not only saves you time during distribution but it also eases the burden of spending $500 all at once. If possible, spend some money paying down your costume every paycheck. Whether it’s $25 or $100 per check, every bit helps.
UTILIZE MONEY SAVING APPS
If you are based in the USA and own a smart phone, there are apps that allow you to save mindlessly. I use Qapital [use code xw2ds8bm to get $25 once you sign up] and the app rounds up my purchases and puts this extra change in my piggy bank. which rolls over my purchases to the next dollar and saves it for me. For example if I spend $3.40, it will put 60 cents in my Qapital account. This really adds up! I bought a flight for $900 from this same piggy bank last year. I didn’t miss the money.
CHECK YOUR MILEAGE ACCOUNT
I travel a lot. For work and for carnival, that said, I have a mileage account set up with my favorite airlines. This is more of a tip for the veterans but using miles to purchase your flights can be a lifesaver. Perfect example, this year, flights to Jamaica went up to $600 from the NYC area to Kingston. I paid $49.00usd (just for the taxes) for my flight because miles took care of the rest. Granted, you need a good 30K miles for a flight to the islands but every bit helps so make sure you create a mileage account and try to use the same airline consistently.
You do not need to attend every party, opt out of one or two events, this tactic can really save you money. Two events these days could easily be $300USD, spend some time exploring the island or chilling on the beach.
Carnivalists based in the Caribbean, what are some of your carnival saving tips?
Yours in Mas,