6 Ways to Have a Wallet-Friendly Day at the Races

Image credit Henrique Fanti.

We’re the first to admit a day at the track can be a costly exercise when factoring in the deadly combination of the wedding-grade dress code and all-day drinking, bets and lunch. Jump on these cost savers with your crew and you might just wake up on Sunday with enough left in your bank account for a hangover cure brunch. 


1. Buy your tickets early

It may be a platitude but it’s true: The early bird catches the worm. Race clubs are known for doing early bird promotions (like this deal for Sydney Carnival) or sometimes even free entry for students. It’s always worth checking ahead to see if there’s a promo going down you can rinse.


3. Go fascinator (or tie) free

It’s a well loved tradition to get well and truly decked out for the races, but if we’re being real there’s no rule that says you must wear a hat or tie. For girls, hats and fascinators can be extortionate, especially considering you might only wear them a few times during the entire year. Do yourself a favour and get a friend to braid your hair for an expense-free work of art on your head. For guys, ties aren’t a requirement (unless you’re attending the Members Reserve), so you can save yourself some effort there as long as you’re well dressed and well groomed and adhere to the other rules. (As always it’s worth checking your local club’s policy to make sure you don’t slip up on anything here).


4. If you have to buy a new dress or suit, make it an investment

Spending more money to save money may sound like reverse logic, but it’s a far better call than throwing cash down the drain on something you’ll never set foot out the door in ever again. If you have absolutely nothing to wear to the track, buy something decent you will own (and love) for years. You’re always bound to have a wedding on the horizon or an upscale work function. With a well-cut classy number you’ll won’t need to put your hand in your pocket again anytime soon. For girls, black never goes out of fashion, and if you’re careful you can choose something that can be styled up or down through accessories and layering. For guys, navy or grey suits are timeless, and just like the girls you can use your accessories to mix it up for different occasions.


2. BYO lunch or snacks 

With a little pre-organisation you can save yourself some hard-earned by taking your own nibbles to the races. Pool in with friends and grab a pack of muesli bars, cheese wedges, apples, pretzels or cheese and bacon rolls – the ideas are endless. You can pack an entire picnic if you’re really on top of things. Just remember you can’t extend this to bringing your own booze though guys, but nice try.


5. Bet small

This is rather obvious, but if you don’t have a lot of money to throw around, don’t make the mistake of trying to triple it by putting it all on number 7. Small bets are the most fun anyway. We’re talking literally $2 or $5 for a place. (By the way, if you’re new to the whole betting thing at the race track these helpful tips will sort you out).


6. Share a bottle between friends

Splitting a bottle of Chandon between your crew is a good way to get more bang for buck on drink prices, and saves you spending more time queuing at the bar. #Winning.

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