FinCon14 Expenses & Experience

Categories Budget, Travel
FinCon14 Expenses | Journey to Saving

Hi everyone! My regularly scheduled September budget review will go live on Thursday, but for now, I figured I would break down the costs of our trip to FinCon. I know a lot of you are thinking of going next year, and if I have any advice, it’s to start saving now. Our last-minute trip went pretty well, but I’m planning on trying to travel hack my way there next year, so I don’t have to drive or pay for parking!

Before I go on, I’d really appreciate it if you stopped over to Young Adult Money after reading this post. I’m guest posting there today on 4 ways to avoid being pressured to spend at work. Please go ahead and leave a comment or share if you liked it! Thanks!

FinCon14 Expenses

FinCon14 Expenses | Journey to SavingWe were able to keep food costs pretty low since FinCon provided us with breakfast and lunch. We stopped a few times in the car as well, and then R had to eat while I was at the conference. I have to admit, our dining out budget was totally a bust this month. I did not expect food in NOLA to be so expensive!

Gas was pretty much what I expected it to be. I love my Civic! We came under budget overall on gas this month, which I’m really happy about.

Parking was steep, but I had to weigh this against the cost of a plane ticket, and subsequent transportation. We still came out ahead with gas and parking combined. Plane tickets were around $400!

The parking fee includes two nights at the hotel ($70) and then a “private” lot ($20) where we parked the car on Saturday, since we checked out of the hotel at noon.

We chose to stop at a hotel overnight after leaving NOLA as we were both tired. After scouring Trip Advisor, I found a Wingate at Wyndham nearby. The clerk was nice and gave us a discount! The hotel was actually very nice too – a welcome surprise after our stay in NOLA. I had wanted to book it with my credit card points, but as we were on the road going there, I wasn’t sure if it would register in time. I can still redeem my points if I want to. They at least had free breakfast and wifi there, so I think it was worth the stop.

I purchased my FinCon ticket for $263 from someone that couldn’t attend. It was originally an early bird ticket.

What do I plan on doing differently next time?

I had told you guys I would give you my perspective on the conference. I’d like to preface this by saying it was awesome, and well worth the money! I have to admit, when I first saw the ticket prices, I thought they were super expensive. So if you have any hesitations next year, just know that you’ll come away from the experience not even thinking about the price.

That sounds crazy coming from me, considering I don’t like paying full price for anything, but I think it’s appropriate to say you really get out of the conference what you’re willing to put in.

The hotel

First of all, I’m planning on staying in the conference hotel next year. As some of you might recall, I got a free stay elsewhere courtesy of a friend, and it worked out really well since the Marriott special for FinCon had expired. Regardless, I believe it was $130/night, and free beats that price! However, I was less than impressed with the hotel we stayed at. R absolutely hated it. I don’t want to complain because it was free, so let’s leave it at that.

I do feel as though I missed out on some impromptu get-togethers in the lobby and the bar as I wasn’t staying there. I felt a little out of the loop. It also would have been easier to check up with R. Instead, our hotel was about a 15 minute walk away, so it made it a little difficult to coordinate.

Driving or flying?

I feel like driving worked out for us. The drive there went by much faster than the drive back home. I have no clue how that happened! We got to see some states we’ve never been in, and that was pretty neat. I can see us driving again next year if there is a better parking situation, and if it’s within a 5 hour drive.

I would still like to try and travel hack my way there with the flight, though. It would probably be more convenient!

Bringing family/spouses

I know there were a few of you asking about bringing your family along, or your spouse. For the most part, R was happy to walk around the city and take in the sights. He’s very easy going that way! He’s not into blogging whatsoever, so the conference would have had zero value for him. If your Hotel Room | Journey to Savingspouse is interested in the blogging scene, it might make sense for them to attend the conference with you. Be sure to took at the sessions ahead of time!

As for making a family trip out of it, I don’t see why not, as long as the destination caters to it, and your spouse is okay staying with the kids.

Would I bring R with me next time? As much as we hate being apart (yeah, we’re that couple), probably not, unless we elect to drive. It’s ultimately up to him, and I’m very thankful he’s been so supportive, but sad he wasn’t able to take part in the fun.

All in all, I don’t have many regrets. It was the first conference that I’ve invested in, and it was a learning opportunity. I’ll be preparing in advance for next year by using Cat’s awesome advice: to hustle like crazy while you’re there to make back your FinCon investment. That is definitely my plan for next year! I’ve already purchased my ticket. And hey, if you’d like to help me make back my investment, feel free to check out my freelance writing and virtual assistant services.

How are you planning on doing FinCon15? If you attended FinCon14, what’s one thing you wish you did differently, or one thing you got right?

Erin is a total goofball who sucks at writing about herself (though she finds referring to herself in the third person amusing). When she's not editing videos, she can be found messing around in Photoshop, laughing at her cats, watching YouTube videos, playing video games, chair dancing, sipping coffee, or any random combination of the above.

56 thoughts on “FinCon14 Expenses & Experience

  1. Love your recap! I already bought my ticket for next year, but I’m not 100% sure I can go. It all depends on the date because I have some things going on next September already.

    Great tips! I definitely want to stay at the FinCon hotel next year.

    1. I hope the dates work out for you! As it was, I missed my dad’s birthday, and I was really bummed about it since I was still in NY last year and missed it then as well. September is a bit of a hectic month for me.

      It would be really nice if it was somehow in a pet-friendly place! =)

  2. Sounds like parking rivaled your fuel cost! Gotta love a Civic! An old neighbor of mine owned a Ferrari and a Civic and I really think he adored the Civic more.

    I toyed with the idea of biking to this FinCon from Nebraska (almost exactly 1,000 miles and flying home). Thought it would make a bang in the frugal community. The only thing that got me was taking that much extra time off work. I really couldn’t justify spending 9 extra days just to bike – that’d be a lot of opportunity cost $$$$ lost.

    1. Ha! That’s an interesting combination. I am rather attached to my car. I think you would have had everyone’s respect had you biked there! We can’t even bike around here without getting nervous about being run off the road.

  3. Wonderful recap, thanks for sharing!
    I didn’t attend this year, but plan on going next year and as much as I hate to go alone, I think it’s the best option.

  4. Sounds like a very inspirational weekend!

    Quick Q…. is a Fincon15 website up yet? I can’t seem to find it and always end up on Fincon14.

    Where will it be held next year? I’m definitely interested in attending.

    1. I don’t think so, Maria. It’s still very much in the beginning stages! We should be hearing more in the coming months – before December, hopefully. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. I wish I had stayed up later. I wish I had done more research on restaurants ahead of time. I didn’t have great experiences at 3/4 of my dinner meals and planning would have helped with that. Also I overpacked, but I guess that’s better than not packing enough and having to buy stuff in NOLA.

    1. Oh no! I’m sorry to hear that. I wish I had done more research on restaurants beforehand as well, though, to at least have an idea of the prices and locations near our hotel.

      I totally overpacked, too – I have a bad habit of preparing for everything. Thanks for stopping by! =)

  6. Glad you talked about the spouse part, I mentioned this to my wife and I was thinking where she would hang out, etc. Maybe if she can convince a friend to come with her to enjoy the time?

    1. I know a few people brought their spouses along to at least hang out outside of the actual conference. My boyfriend is pretty shy so he did his own thing, but I’m pretty sure your wife could go to all the extra events happening if she wanted to socialize.

  7. Good to know about the spouses. If it were just my hubby and I, he would love going off in a big city to take pictures. When I ran a marathon in NO a while back, that’s what he was off doing all the time :-) but I don’t know what we’d do with the girls – perhaps bring them along and have a family member join us for the days I’m in the conference… Not sure. Plan to be there next year and I hope to meet you in person :-)

    1. That was the plan, and then R forgot the camera! He had fun exploring, though. It is tricky when you have kids. Hopefully the location works out in terms of being kid friendly. This way, a vacation is more possible!

  8. Fantastic job on keeping FinCon frugal. I’ve already purchased my ticket for next year, as well. It was my first year and now I have an entire year to think about hacking / hustling my way there. Fingers crossed that it’ll be in Nashville, though :)

  9. I would like to attend but there is no way I’m going to commit this early. Too much can happen, even if I do save. But yes I’d like to. I agree about staying in the hotel and feeling connected. I know for me I had to take a lot of quickie naps when I went so I was happy I just had to go upstairs.

    1. The only reason I purchased this early was because a refund was offered in case we couldn’t make it, so I felt a little safe with that. I just regret waiting so long to consider it an option.

      Power naps would have been nice!

  10. I didn’t go this year, but when I went last year, I think staying in the conference hotel helped me to be more outgoing. I’m not terribly social, so if I’d been offsite, I might have just went to my room more instead of hanging out in the lobby. I also would not take my family because I feel too guilty that I’m leaving them to fend for themselves. They don’t mind, but I’d still feel bad.

    1. So true, Kim! I went back to my hotel on Friday when everything outside of the conference was happening, and I do regret that a little. I need any push I can get to be more social! I think it depends on your family. I felt guilty at times, too, but I’m thankful that my boyfriend is independent and enjoyed the sights on his own. I know that if the situation were reversed, I wouldn’t bother going, as I’m not the wander around type.

  11. Nice job at being frugal! I loved staying in the hotel. I had so many random, impromptu conversations because of it. It’s totally worth the cost, IMO. Also, I thought about bringing my bf, but so glad he didn’t come. I would have zero time for him, or I’d feel guilty. You can hang out with me — you won’t be alone!

    1. Good to hear staying in the hotel helped! I know you appreciated those rare opportunities to nap, too. =) I’m leaving it completely up to R for next year; if he wants to visit wherever the conference is being held, that’s fine, but I think he knows not to expect much interaction while there! We are definitely hanging out again, and you’ll have to recreate your karaoke night!

  12. Nice frugal trip to FinCon, Erin! Thank you for the costs break-down.

    How about we have FinCon in Brussels next year, so I can just bike there? I’d have to sell a kidney to be able to attend in the US. :)

    1. Haha, I know! I wish there was an easier way for us to all get together. The flights seemed to be expensive for anyone traveling without points, so I can only imagine what it would have cost you.

  13. I agree that FinCon is totally worth the money. I also agree you would probably have an even better experience if you stay in the hotel next time. There are plenty of opportunities to meet more people and connect late at night or in passing. So nice to meet you, Erin!

  14. That recap is so detailed and very informative. Good job for being frugal. It feels like I was there at FinCon. I am planning to go next year. I hope the date suits my schedule because I really want to, I want to experience what you just have. ;)

    1. I’d love it if you could make it next year! Considering the conference seems to be held in larger cities, I’m sure there will be something for families to do on the side.

  15. Haha, I remember thinking the food was super cheap in NOLA- though I usually did pretty well about finding spots further removed from the big touristy areas.

    As for not staying at the hotel, I found that being elsewhere forced me to be in the loop more because I couldn’t just go back and lie down for a bit. (I was further away, which I think helped)

    1. I don’t really go out to eat all that often because of price, so when I do, I try to find good deals. If I had researched restaurants beforehand, it probably wouldn’t have been hard to find cheaper places!

      That’s another way to look at it! I didn’t bother going back to my hotel most days because by the time I would get there, I’d have to turn around and walk back for the next session.

  16. Wow tickets are on sale for Fin Con 2015 already…they already have a location/dates? Anyway, thanks for the recap and advice. You make a good point about staying at the hotel of the conference…I once went to a wedding at a hotel and contemplated staying at a nearby hotel which would have been cheaper. But who wants to have to walk to a nearby hotel in the summer in dress clothes…and yea, you get to hang out with others in the same hotel. As for bringing the family…I’d like to do that. Was there downtime or was the schedule pretty packed?

    1. They had a special offer for FinCon14 attendees; I don’t think tickets will be available to the public until next year. Nothing has been announced yet! I’m just saying, in general, it’s best to think about ahead of time. =)

      Very true for weddings also. Both my cousins got married upstate, and we all stayed in the same hotel for convenience.

      I thought the schedule was fairly packed, but there could be a time where none of the sessions interest you, so you can cut out for a bit. It’s really all about what you want to take away from the conference. I felt guilty leaving because that meant missing out on possible networking opportunities, so I tried to stick around as much as possible. Friday sessions ended early and people were free to do as they pleased from 3pm on, though.

  17. I also bought the special ticket offer for the same reason you did, the refundable part once they announce where it’s being held. Thanks for your recap. Debs had asked me my opinion on bringing your spouse and I answered pretty much what you outlined. I hope we see each other again next year because it was great spending some time with you!

  18. My hubby was supposed to go with me but then had a big meeting come up that he couldn’t miss and I have to say that I am happy he didn’t make it. I really spent my entire trip networking and trying to meet as many new people to help grow my businesses and I would have felt bad that I was neglecting my guy. I am definitely in for FinCon15 and can’t wait to see you there!

    1. You were definitely a busy bee! It really depends on your spouse and if they’re okay with doing their own thing while you do yours, but I suppose it does make it easier not having to worry about them in the back of your mind.

  19. I think part of me fears FinCon because 1) I have never been and 2) I’m not the kind of person who just goes up to people and start talking. I feel like I know enough people, though, that if I am intentional about meeting up (hopefully) the social interactions and everything will come naturally and before I know it I’ll have met and recognize a bunch of people. Is that a strange thing to say in response to this post? haha. But I do plan on going unless it coincides with our work forecast, in which case I really couldn’t miss work unless I was hit by a bus. But I plan on going and I will take the same approach with you. If Victoria wants to go, I’ll bring her with. I think she’d be perfectly fine staying in the hotel and going to see things on her own. I think I’ll buy my FinCon ticket in advance next time (as early as possible) to force myself to commit. Oh and yes to staying in the hotel where the conference is at!

    1. Not strange at all, those are very valid fears – and ones I had! I’m definitely not comfortable with going up to someone and introducing myself on a normal basis, but everyone was very friendly, and that helped me get comfortable. I was pretty nervous the first night before the reception, but very relieved when I found fellow bloggers I “knew”! You’ll have no problems at all considering you’ve been blogging longer. =)

  20. I love your recap, too! I was waiting for it, so yay!! I am so glad you mentioned staying in the hotel where the conference is next time – all the conferences I’ve been to, I’ve always been happy I stayed in the same hotel. You do miss some impromptu things! Hey, maybe you and me could room next year! :)

    1. Yes to being roomies, as long as everything works out! You already have experience networking as an introvert, so I’ll have a great example to follow. =) I didn’t realize how crazy everyone would be with partying, so I didn’t even think about all the random meetings I could have been missing out on. No regrets, though – by the time I was ready to book, the special has ended, and it was about $250 a night!

  21. My wife and I went in 2012 & 2013, but couldn’t swing it this year. We really missed seeing everyone and even more than that, missed the motivation kick that come from the conference.

    We haven’t yet had the chance to stay onsite but we are definitely shooting for that in 2015!

  22. I love reading about everyone’s FinCon experiences. It’s true, the experience was so worth it I didn’t even think about the ticket price afterwards. Sorry we didn’t get to chat (I remember seeing you there but didn’t get a chance to say hi). Hopefully see you there next year!

    1. I can only imagine it was a little pricier coming from Canada! Yes, I thought I saw you, but I couldn’t see your tag, and I didn’t want to be a creeper, haha. Next year it is!

  23. Great recap Erin. :-D The more I think about it I think I would be better off to leave my husband at home so I can take full advantage of the conference. Otherwise I would feel guilty leaving him. Dunno, might depend where it is too!

    1. I did feel guilty at times, but I know R is perfectly fine with walking around doing his own thing. We had actually bought a game console along so he could play in the hotel room if he got bored. That passes time quickly!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *