2014 Tip of the Day #17: Budgeting for Comic-Con


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With Comic-Con only 17 days away, hopefully you have already begun working through various details for the show. For some of you, one of the most stressful parts of this week will be trying to plan your budget- especially if you have never been before. Unless you live in Star Trek’s moneyless society, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and let the anxiety over money affect your enjoyment during the week. Between the cost of your badge, hotel, travel, and more, this trip can really add up. Well, the good news is that once you are finally at the show, you can really make it through relatively affordably. But before we talk about how to stretch your dollars, let me just start with this important thought.

coinstarStory-jarGoing to Comic-Con is kinda like entering the Christmas season. I would encourage you to embrace this mindset while planning your budget. Like Christmas, December is not going to be the time to save money- and once you accept this fact, spending is not as painful. Set aside a certain amount of money and then enjoy it, I mean really enjoy it. Don’t burden yourself with the mental calculations of how much money you are spending and how it could be used in a more sensible manners. Obsessing over the cost of Comic-Con will only rob you of the best Exclusive money can’t buy- happiness. Couples are especially vulnerable to this and fighting over money can ruin a trip fast. So for all of you that are planning every last cent, be generous with yourself, decide on a budget, and make this the best 4 days of the year. You’ve worked hard, waited forever, survived the Comic-Con gauntlet, and totally deserve to splurge on yourself.

So in regards to some Comic-Con financial tips and making a budget, I want to open it to you all. Many of you have come up with great cost-cutting techniques to save a few dollars each day at the show. Whether it’s using an ‘envelop system’ or a certain budgeting App, there are a lot of ways to lighten your financial stress. By leaving a comment, you can provide some helpful ways to survive the week- especially for first timers. For example, here is mine:

  • A few years ago, while staying at the San Diego Marriott Gaslamp Quarter, I would make a daily visit to the Subway across the street at K/6th (open 124 hrs). I’d buy a breakfast sandwich and a turkey sandwich for under $10 and pack them to eat later. I was set for the day. It’s easy to get in trouble when you haven’t planned ahead.

CClinesMy last and most important thought on this post is for us all to embrace a spirit of generosity. Some of you have much more resources to work with during the week. By picking up a the tab at a restaurant for your group or by buying someone an Exclusive, you can really make an attendee’s day. Even by surprising your line mates with a well needed cup of coffee, you can really make a difficult day a little better. I believe our Comic-Con community is the best and you can express it through your generosity.

I look forward to reading your creative money saving tactics. Even after all these years of going to the Con, I always learn so much from our Comic-Con community. Submit and share your financial wisdom!

12 thoughts on “2014 Tip of the Day #17: Budgeting for Comic-Con

  1. If you’re carrying credit cards and not a lot of large amounts of cash during the con, before heading out to SDCC, setup a withdrawal alert in your online banking and set a “SDCC” cap. If you get close to that cap or go over it, you’ll get an automated text message so you know to stop spending. Some online banking will let you setup multiple alerts for different types of withdrawals/caps too. I know you can do this with some phone budget apps, but you don’t have to automatically keep typing in what you’ve spent when you do it directly through online banking. This will definitely help you when you’re eyeballing those 15 exclusives in the exhibit hall and you get a text alert to “slow your roll” after buying those 20 other ones.

    • Oh, what an interesting idea. I don’t think a lot of people would have known this. Thanks for sharing such a great tip!

  2. Best to bring your own food and drinks. Go to the bank and get your budget, then separate the cash and put them in separate envelopes for spending money/ gas/ food/ shipping/ parking etc. that way u are not tempted . Do not use the ATM at the con. Do not use the credit card unless it is a emergency or if the vendor insisted on it, Sunday is a great day to shop graphic novels and figures. If you have a 4 day pass, shop around the booths. One booth may be lower price then the other. Remember first thing is to get the exclusives FirsT then see what u have left over.

    • Great advice! I am a high fan of the envelope system. Your right, Sunday is the best day to shop. Thanks for your comment!

  3. Same as the other posters, I love to use envelopes to separate the money that is destined to pay the hotel, food and any other expenses -shopping!-.

    The Subway tip you mentioned we did that last year! 😀 We’re probably doing that again this year, specially for when we’re doing HALL H! It’s also a good tip to bring your own food like snacks from your house! (granolas, chips, almonds).

    It’s also a good idea to make a wishlist of the things you’d like to buy, so you can have an estimate of how much money you’ll be spending and be prepared.
    🙂

  4. Cliff bars are fabulous, beef jerky, uncrustables, and a daily allowance of guilty con foods if you really need it. (Mine’s nachos…)

    Try to do coffee from your hotel if possible, or get straight black coffee from the plain coffee stand by Starbucks in front of the Hilton Bayfront. <That's also budgeting time since everyone wants specialty items, just black coffee is about a 2-3 minute wait in a line.

    Make an excel sheet of the exclusives you want, and determine what you REALLY want. Categorize, cross off, and relook your list. Look for that one bar that says 1 free beer for having a badge. Last year was the Gamespot bar
    ^Personal experience on that- We donated blood Thursday and kinda forgot with all the fun and hype, on saturday we had 2 beers (one was free) and got pretty happy. I’m in no way suggesting this, but after donating blood alcohol does affect you harder. So BE CAREFUL.

    Bring your own poster tube, comic covers, use a laptop backpack to stick comics in to keep them safe if need be.

    See some art you really want? Give it the day test. Come back the next day and see if its something you really want that badly. Chances are you’re over it by the next day and thought about your wall space.

    those are mine.

  5. Whatever you do, DO NOT walk over to the combat light saber table, no matter how pretty the lights. Just stay away. They will suck you in, and you will leave with one. You’ll see it happen to others again and again. I suppose you could always budget for it first though! Check them out online.

  6. I live and die by the Ralph’s in Gaslamp! Stock up on water, trail mix, fruit snacks, bread, and pb&j. Save SO much money

  7. I’m a man of simplicity. I park at Qualcomm and ride the light rail into Comicon. I believe it’s $10 to park a few bucks to ride the train. It drops you off directly in front of the convention center. Two things I love about the train – It is the BEGINNING of the line. It gets full after only 2-3 stops in. It is so crowded that the people who stay in Hotel Circle cannot board anymore and this is at 8:30 am! Second, I LOVE the passion and enthusiasm of everyone who boards the train. It’s like nerd-ville heaven. 🙂

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