Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Entertainment minus the Credit Card

Free Entertainment: The Mendicant Punk Monks

The whole point of project Goodbye Magpie is to get my spending under control.  So, how was I going to fare spending time at the Edinburgh Festival with all it's temptations of food stalls and pre-show/post-show drinkies?

Even with the help of some fab free tickets, thanks to the guys at ticketing website Clicket (dedicated all things Edinburgh, 365 days of the year!), I still knew I was in for a militant few weeks if I wasn't going to blow my budget.

Well the verdict is in and it's: Could Do Better.

 I slipped up on a couple of areas.  Not bringing enough food for JW when he was coming to meet me for a show after work.  This resulted in me buying him a pie (£1.50: bargain), him still being hungry and buying a burger (£5.50, hmmm), then having a few pre-show drinks (almost £10 for two drinks, ouch) and then getting a pizza and chips on the way home, because JW is actually still starving (£10, oh dear).  Neither frugal nor healthy!  But typical behaviour I'm sure.

I also ended up having a couple of sneaky coffees while meeting up with friends, which is against the rules (not the meeting friends bit, the coffees bit).  Although I have to say that the Toffee Cake from the Hula Juice Bar is AMAZING and worth every penny!

We did try a show at the Free Fringe.  Thinking that this would be cheaper than stumping up for more tickets. But, the show was in a pretty yucky nightclub, with sticky floors; you know the type.  And although the comedian was funny, the venue's drinks prices were extortionate. So by the time we had bought a round and put some money in the comedians bucket, we were no better off and would have been as well paying to go to a decent place.

Edinburgh International Book Fest
But when I did get it right it worked really well.  For instance the Unbound Programme at the Edinburgh International Book Festival is all free and really good quality.  No-one hassles you with a bucket at the end.  So it genuinely is free! The drinks are reasonably priced (the G&T is very, very good!) and the atmosphere is really quirky.  No sticky floors here thank you very much. 

I went to see Literary Death Match, which was fast past entertainment with four writers battling it out to become the Literary Death Match Champion.  And I even got a £5 book voucher for the festival book shop for my troubles, sweet!

The Art Fest Telescope
I also scored with the Edinburgh Art Festival which had a highly entertaining opening night with free wine, a live installation complete with working artist (Kevin Harman), and a telescope that looked at painted views, which was kind of cool.

And slopping down The Royal Mile is always fun, you never know what you will come across.  Like the Mendicant Punk Monks (pic at top of page, chanting "Let's Do It Like They Do On The Discovery Channel").

Sticking with the positives, another way I have saved on cost is to bring my lunch along with me and my refillable water bottle.  So on balance, it could have been a whole lot worse!
But it isn't over yet, so I still need to watch my pennies for the next couple of weeks!


  1. ha ha! Great post. I think you've done pretty well - good luck with last few days ;o)

    1. Thanking you Marianne! It could always be worse couldn't it :O) And thanks for the RT, much appreciated :)

  2. Edinburgh seems amazing! My sister and a friend went and loved it- unfortunately I've never been and would like to soon. I wonder if you might be interested in doing a Guest Post about somewhere you've travelled, particularly if you've done it on the cheap: Life of a Vegetarian Girl - want some posts for when I first start travelling and I'm finding my feet!


    1. Thanks Zoe :) You should definitely visit when you can, I think you'd love it! And yes, I sure can zip you up a post about travelling. I'll try and message you via Facebook to swap e-mails. Thanks for thinking of me :)

  3. BBC shows are another freebie and there's a decently priced cafe in the BBC Village. I saw Mark Lawson interview Ian McEwan, which was excellent, very insightful. I've also won tickets for a few things via Twitter. Also I've read at a few poetry events and got to listen to other poets for free! I went to Unbound several times last year but not this year for some reason. But you're right about how it can all add up when you buy drinks etc