With badges secured and hotels being booked there’s no better time to start thinking about creating a budget than now. I know this isn’t the funnest thing to do, but it is essential to keep you on track and prevent a trip to the poorhouse.
The goal is to have fun at the San Diego Comic-Con and not put yourself heavily in debt. Remember this is a vacation and a well-deserved one! You participated in the Hunger Games online badge release and the odds were in your favor! You have EARNED the right to treat yourself to “The Greatest Show on Earth” (IMHO) and experience sensory overload like no other. You want to worry about getting into Hall H, getting that exclusive or meeting that celebrity and not worry about money issues.
This is why starting a budget early is so important! The earlier you plan the more prepared you will be. We at The San Diego Comic-Con Unofficial Blog are here to help you get started! To get the ball rolling we have a simple budget spreadsheet template for you to crunch those numbers. Feel free to copy the spreadsheet and modify the fields to your needs.
SDCC Budget Spreadsheet
Here are also some budgeting tips to build a solid base:
Start Planning Early and Role-Play
This is the key! The earlier you plan the easier it is to start adjusting your budget. I advocate trying to role-play what you plan to do each day. By role-playing you can guesstimate what you need to spend. Then plug those preliminary numbers into the budget spreadsheet we provided to get a ballpark figure and determine if you need to start saving money for the next 4 months or modify any arrangements.
The more you know the better prepared you will be to make an educated decisions on what to budget for. A good start is to subscribe to our twitter list and ask any member questions you may have. Also find like-minded individuals and start building a network. Not only is their power in numbers but it makes planning for SDCC fun and economical, especially if you need a roommate or people to share a pedicab.
Set a Daily Spending Allowance
Think of a daily spending allowance that includes food, drink, shopping (not including exclusives) and other activities and set it for 25 to 30 percent more. This is the San Diego Comic-Con and prices will be inflated. Also there may be an unforeseen expense that will catch your eye so it is better to over budget.
Set-up an SDCC saving jar and start feeding it with pocket change that is left over from the day. Also figure out where you spend money on a weekly basis and start making occasional substitutions. For example going out to lunch or the movies can be replaced once in awhile with a sack lunch or a rental. Then remember to pay the difference to your savings jar. By SDCC you just might have enough for that exclusive or a nice dinner out in the Gaslamp!
Know The Exchange Rate
For people travelling from abroad it is important to know your exchange rate! See if the rate is better in San Diego or where you are from. It is usually better away from home at commercial exchange counters such as Travelex (there is a Travelex Currency Service in Horton Plaza which is walking distance from the convention center). Also don’t forget to inform your credit card companies that you are travelling abroad to prevent any problems.
Travelling by Car? Plan to Pay for Parking
Start looking at parking options if you plan on driving to SDCC. Hotel parking during SDCC will average $35 a day (24 hour period) on average. Parking lots in downtown will average $25 a day (most out by 1 am).
Budget for Tech
If you are a techie like me then this is a must do. A dead phone or lost internet connection could be fatal, so plan on researching power sources and mi-fi solutions to keep you up and running at SDCC. To give you an idea about power sources I wrote an article last year about keeping your phone charged for SDCC here.
Learn Downtown San Diego
Here is where you can save quite a bit. Knowing your surroundings can help you save money. Did you know there is a supermarket in the downtown area that is walking distance from the convention center? Or that metered parking is free after 6 pm till 8 am the next morning Monday through Saturday and free all day Sunday. There are many more hidden saving gems to discover about downtown San Diego so explore and inquire before SDCC!