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How to save money

Sad to say, the stellar expansion of the Festival over the last ten years has been echoed by ballooning ticket prices. Locals lament the days when a Fringe ticket came in at under a fiver - and venues, with their volunteer staffs, express increasing concern about whether those on a student budget will still be here in another ten years' time.

A visit to the Festival is never going to be cheap, but there's no need to panic if you're feeling the pinch. With a little cunning and flexibility, you can cut the daily cost of your trip without sacrificing any of the Edinburgh experience.

One of the best ways to save the pennies is to time your visit around the major free events which spatter the Festival calendar - FringeGuru's Plan Your Visit section has full details of when and where to find them. Whenever you're here, though, there are bargains to be found... if you know where to go to look for them.

Free shows

Pouring beer into a glass
Most free shows are held in pubs
Defying the claim that you never get something for nothing, a number of pubs and clubs in Edinburgh run completely free shows throughout the Festival period. Of course, the commercial logic behind this is that you'll spend your money at the bar, and most performers also run a voluntary collection at the end - so you're unlikely to escape from a "free" show with your bank balance completely unscathed. All the same, even a generous tip and indulgent approach to the booze will work out a lot cheaper than a trip to a paid-for show.

The Fringe on the cheap

Stack of coins
Save the pennies with Fringe deals
The crowded and fiercely competitive world of the Fringe sets up a market for some great ticket deals, with half-price or 2-for-1 offers available right through the Festival season. Some of these deals are promoted by the Fringe box office; others are more ad-hoc, driven by the performers themselves. In any case, offers change quickly and sell fast, so you'll need to do a bit of daily research if you want to stretch your budget to the limit.

Other tickets on the cheap

Though the bulk of cut-price action is on the Fringe, the other Festivals have occasional bargains to offer, too. You have to seek them out, though; and the options change from year to year, so here are our best tips for deal-hunters beyond the Fringe.

Shows on the street

If this is your first visit to the Edinburgh Festival, you may be surprised at how much there is to see simply on the street. If you want to, you can spend a good couple of hours a day sampling what's on offer, without ever seeing the same thing twice and without a penny leaving your pocket.


Edinburgh 2013

Coming to the Fringe this year?  We can help you make the most of your time.  Learn about Edinburgh's summer Festivals and plan your visit around the city's major events. 

Find out more >>