MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — If you spent the weekend at the Minnesota State Fair, you may have spent a decent amount of cash there too. For a family of four, two kids, two adults, it costs $61, just to park and get in the gate.

To save money at the fair, Nicole Middendorf, a financial advisor with Prosperwell Financial says there’s one thing you first need to do at home.

“Set a budget, so before you go say ‘okay we are going to the State Fair and we are going to spend ‘x’ and have that amount in cash and take it with you, nothing else,” Middendorf said. “You don’t have the opportunity to overspend.”

To get the most bang for your buck, Middendorf recommends buying the Blue Ribbon Bargain Book. It will cost you $5, but if you use two coupons from it you are going to get your money back.

To find those vendors with coupons, download the State Fair app and use the Food Finder tool. Parking can also be pricey, but there is a free option.

“The best thing is to park by Ridgedale Center bus lot or one of the many park and ride lots and take the bus in, that’s the least expensive,” she said.

The cost for parking onsite is $13. A Park & Ride lot is free or there is an Express Bus Service to the fairgrounds for $5 per person.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to bring your own snacks and food into the fairgrounds. “Gasp,” you say? It can save you a bundle and let you splurge on a few of your favorite fair foods.

If you missed the deadline to buy advanced discounted tickets, take note of these discounted days. Monday Aug. 31 is Senior and Kids Day, so that means seniors and kids get in for $8 instead of $11.

Tuesday Sep. 1 is Military Appreciation Day. Active members, spouses and kids can get in for $8, along with veterans and their spouses.

Wednesday Sep. 2 is Read and Ride Day. Public library cardholders who purchase a ticket at the gate and present a library card will save a few bucks on a ticket.

And Thursday Sep. 3 is another Senior’s Day.

Kim Johnson

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