June 23, 2008

Convention Report

Posted in Finances, life tagged , at 11:14 pm by otherdeb

In keeping with the main theme of this blog, I’m not going to go into too many details about the convention I ran security for this past weekend. It was a great con with a minimum of drama, very few problems, and a lot of good stuff.

I made some hard decisions about the direction my life will be taking, and one of them had to do with dropping toxic relationships.

More importantly, I set myself a budget and some rules for doing this convention, and I stuck to them. I took care of myself in terms of food and sleep. I didn’t try to do too much. I took care of my security team. When I needed help, I asked for it and received it.

I set myself a budget of $50/day for the convention, including food and the dealers’ room.

I spent $40 on food for the two days, making sure I had a good breakfast each day. I got treated to dinner Saturday night by some friends, which helped, and was unexpected but welcome. Had I not been treated, I would have eaten dinner in the Consuite, which would have been okay, too. My only indulgence in the dealers’ room was a handpainted silk scarf (reasonably priced, well within the budget I had set, and a one-of-a-kind souvenir), made by one of our guests of honor. I did participate in the Interfilk auction, but stopped when the bidding went over my budget.

Since my train trip to the convention was not during rush hour, I paid about $5 less than my ticket would have cost if I had travelled during the afternoon rush hour.

I got a lift from the train station to the convention (thanks, Marc), which saved me about $30, and I got a ride from the convention to my front door (again, thanks Marc), which saved time as well as money.

So, in terms of both making some decisions, and in terms of sticking to my plans for budgeting and self-care, it was a successful convention.

(Note for these who were there: The gas attack on Sunday happened after the con was officially over, so I am not considering it part of the convention. Further, I do know what caused it, and it was not a lack of caring for myself, but a thing that arises without warning due to some screwed up surgery last year.)



  1. Peter Alway said,

    My strategy for saving money at a convention is to pack a cooler full of cheese, sandwich meats, and applesauce thingies, and a grocery bag with bread, cerial, and snacks. Essentially enough real food so that I can supplement it with the consuite, and not have to use the hotel restaurant for the whole weekend. Besides, when you need some substantial food during the open filk, noplace is open anyway.

  2. otherdeb said,

    @ Peter Alway: That is a great strategy, and one I use when travelling to a con by car.

    Sadly, it really wasn’t feasible to do this time, because I was travelling directly from my job to the convention by public transit, and had more than enough to carry with just the computer and the things I forgot to toss into the backpack I had sent ahead with Marc.

    Also, I know that for me, so long as I have a really good breakfast, and limit my caffeine intake, I will be good. More importantly, I made sure I got the sleep I often avoid getting for the duration. (I tend not to sleep during conventions, unless pretty much forced to at gunpoint.)

    I have no problem using the hotel restaurant for a breakfast buffet, although I generally don’t do dinner at them. The restaurant this time had a pretty good breakfast buffet, with a ton of healthy choices as well as the usual stuff, so I was very happy to indulge.

  3. Marion said,

    I’ve occasionally done as Peter does, but keeping stuff cool (even in a cool box) for a weekend in a (usually overheated) hotel room is a problem. What I frequently do is to take several packs of instant noodles – the sort that you simply reconstitute with boiling water – and/or instant soups. Mind you, all UK hotel rooms (these days, in the sort of hotels we usually use, at least!) come with a kettle for boiling water, so it’s pretty easy. I think the hotels we stayed in for FKO last year just had coffeemakers, so the little in-cup stick boiler I took was very useful, and I know Dave W. has a small travel kettle.

    With the addition of a really good breakfast, since that is usually included in the price of the room in the UK, and some of my own chocolate, biscuits, crisps/snacks and the like, I can usually manage for food. I do often treat myself to a Sunday evening meal out with friends.

    When I’m employed, I can afford to eat at the hotel’s lunch buffet a couple of times, too; however, unless I get a job by next February, I’ll be back on the Pot Noodles!

    I also set myself a budget for spending at conventions for other stuff, and have been pretty good in the past at sticking to it.

  4. otherdeb said,

    @Marion: Thank you! I will ask Dave where he got his travel kettle, since that sounds useful. I could probably tuck a few ramen packets into my backpack, and I usually have a few of them around the house (for when I don’t feel up to cooking), so it won’t even take much effort to do so.

    As for setting a budget for con spending, this is pretty much the first time I have ever done so (at least consciously). Frankly, I usually just avoid the dealers’ tables, since I can get books from the library for free, and since I don’t buy much else in them (mostly because the jewellery is either not made well enough for my tastes or is too expensive for them). The scarf was very much an exception. OTOH, I came home with more money in hand than I had expected to, and even have enough to get through until payday with, which is a very good feeling, indeed.

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