I don’t know if you’ve heard but the first ever Personal Finance Blog Conference is being help this week and I’m going!! I’m so excited about this because not only is it very niche specific, just about every personal finance blogger I’ve met online throughout the years will be there. I’m looking forward to getting to know all these great bloggers even better and am excited to visit Chicago, where the conference is being held.
Some people attend conferences on a regular basis but I made a goal and limit to attend one, and only one conference this year. They are expensive to attend, far beyond the cost of admission and I simply can’t afford to fly all around the country attending these things even if I wanted to. That being said, there are some things you can do to cut down on the cost of attending conferences and events like this. Here are some things I did that you should try to do or try to avoid.
Get in early
When I heard about the conference, I knew this was one I simply couldn’t miss. All the experts, bloggers and companies that have anything to do with personal finance in one place? That doesn’t happen every day. So I bought my ticket within the first 15 minutes they were available. By being one of the early early birds, I was able to score my ticket at nearly a third of what the tickets cost the week before the event. I saved myself over one hundred dollars right then and there, plus I made sure I got a ticket before they got sold out.
Shop Around For Travel But Not Too Much
I always shop around, that just comes with the territory around here. So when it came time to look at flights, the cost of driving to Chicago, the cost of hotels and everything else involved, I started early. I checked out deal sites and watched them constantly for a month. The problem is I got started too early and the prices were so all over the place, I wasn’t able to make a decision and got burnt out.
When I realized I hadn’t purchased my flight or finalized my plans yet, time had slipped away from me and the conference was just over a month away. I started to scramble. I don’t fly often, but the general feel is that there is a sweet spot when you should start looking for your tickets, not too early and not too late. I may have just missed that sweet spot but by using the following tip, I was still able to get a sweet deal.
Search For Discount Codes And Group Rates
When I got serious about booking my flight again, I started to search forums and coupon sites for deals. I was able to find a 15% coupon for the airline I was planning on using which saved me almost $100 total cost (2 tickets). Then I checked all the great material published by the conference organizer and found out there was an awesome group rate for the hotel so I jumped on that, saving another $80 or so.
Avoid Unnecessary Costs
Here is where I probably should have quit while I was ahead but instead, I decided to purchase some sort of small netbook or tablet that I could take with me to the conference. I thought something like this would be convenient for note taking and staying online without being a huge burden. So I set up an automatic Craigslist notification in AdRavage for netbooks and tablets. I got a bunch of hits but didn’t want to spend much. Then I found a Lenovo netbook for $100. That seemed perfect so I bought it. I’m actually typing this post on it right now and while I do like some things about this netbook, it is very specific. I can’t do any actual work on it because of how small the screen is. I can write posts in a text editor, but publishing them on WordPress is a pain. I can’t do much serious browsing, again because the screen size is so small and resolution isn’t high enough to see much of a webpage at once.
I did get a smoking hot deal on this netbook though and intend to sell it right after the conference, possibly for a profit depending on how patient I am.
This will be my first ever conference but hopefully the first of many, and I intend to get better and better at saving money while attending events like this.
Do you have any tricks for saving money on travel or business expenses like this?