The Fringe and the Edinburgh International Festival are already in full swing and veterans of thrifty festivaling will have already been busy seeing shows and filling up diaries.
Maybe you already visited our free festival shows page: you had half price tickets to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo preview show on Thursday, free tickets to the Edinburgh International Festival official opening show Deep Time last night, you inveigled complementary tickets to preview Fringe shows on the Royal Mile these opening days of the Fringe, or pre-booked free seats for upcoming BBC Fringe broadcasts, from its new base at George Heriot's school.
No? Well, if you've yet to put plans in motion, and your budget is tight, you still have options.
You have to move quickly though for some deals. Starting today (Monday 8th August) and tomorrow, many Fringe shows have "two for one" ticket deals. We have a few ideas in our 2016 Fringe reviews, such as Alice Unhinged (pictured above).
These programmed offers peter out quickly though, and are followed on Wednesday 10th August by the opening of the Virgin Money Half Price Hut. Watch the website, the Fringe app, or head to the hut itself, for daily half price offers.
It's still relatively early in the Fringe and production companies are highly motivated to get bums on seats, even if it means sacrificing a little bit of box office revenue. These early shows are crucial for creating festival buzz, through word-of-mouth and media reviews. So they may turn out to be good value. Or not. You take a risk, but that's what the Fringe is all about.
Of course, the "free festivals" (there is more than one outfit championing cheapskatedom) also offer a low-risk alternative to budget Fringeing. Peter Buckley Hill's free Fringe venues and the Laughing Horse's Free Festival have an array of venues which use a donation model. If you like the show be sure to put something in the bucket at the end.
Don't forget about the BBC shows at George Heriot's, where it's free to be part of the studio audience. Tickets may still be available, even if they are marked as sold-out on the website, on a first come first served basis.
Beyond the Fringe
Sometimes it seems Edinburgh's streets are teeming with talent and it's worth remembering that there's other festivals in town that have free events and shows. The Edinburgh Art Festival is an obvious example. Many exhibitions are free.
Less obvious might be the Edinburgh Book Festival's Unbound series of free evening events or Edinburgh Festival of Politics (18-20 August) events at the Scottish Parliament with hands-on, drop-in activities for kids involving LEGO, Minecraft-themed building with the BBC and a tech toybox workshop where kids invent gadgets using synth kits and 3-D printers.
Just some ideas... more here.