Recently I got asked for advice on how to attend cons when you don’t have a whole lot of money to throw around the spending budget. As a broke college student trying to pay for tuition on a part time job paycheck, spending money is scarce. I gave a few tips in my post on “10 Do’s of Conventions“, but realized there was so much more I could talk about. So here we are with my ultimate comic con budget guide on how to attend cons without breaking the bank. Hope this is helpful!
1. Look for local cons
Big cons are fun. NYCC was a fun and truly magical experience, but big cons like that are so expensive I can really only do one of those a year. Thankfully there are plenty of local cons near me. Not only can you save on hotel rooms, tickets tend to be way cheaper. Local cons are so much fun and a lot of times you will see the same people at all the local cons so it’s a great way to make friends!
2. Buy tickets early
Most cons have an early bird discount. So always check out the con’s website for dates and deadlines.
3. Sometimes it pays to wait
Yeah I know this is a huge contradiction, but Wizard World usually gives its featured cosplayers a discount code a few weeks before the con. So figure out what cosplay guests are attending and check out their social media for a discount. Also Wizard World will sometimes release discount codes for Fridays and Sundays because those are their less attended days.
4. Check Groupon for discounted tickets
It’s not often, but occasionally I’ll stumble upon a Groupon for discounted tickets.
5. Car pool!
Not only does this help out good ol mother nature but it’ll save you some gas money and parking fees. Very rarely do I attend cons by myself. Carpooling is also just more fun. Who doesn’t love busting out their mad sing along skills?
6. Consider flying
This year it was actually cheaper for me to fly than to drive to NYCC. I never would have thought that flying would’ve been cheaper but hey, I won’t complain.
7. Don’t go all weekend
This hurts me a little. But I almost never go to a con all weekend. Especially if it’s an out of town con. I usually just go one day to pay for a single day ticket and if it’s out of town, one night at a hotel. I know it’s fun to stay all weekend and get the full con experience, but the only way I’m able to attend so many cons is because I usually just go one day. Maybe 2 or three times a year I’ll go for multiple days.
8. “And they were roommates”
“Oh my god they were roommates”. If you need to spend the night for a con, try and find some roommates. This may be hard if your friends aren’t willing to go to cons with you. I usually drag my dad or my sister along to cons with me. If this isn’t an option for you, ask some of your con friends if they need roommates. Also check out rentals and air b&b’s in the area.
9. Pack your own food
Con food is outrageously expensive. If you can pack a meal or two or even just bring your own drinks you can save loads of money.
10. Sharing is caring
Buying and splitting a pizza with a group of your friends can be a lot cheaper than buying your own meal!
11. Set your spending budget in advance
I know I know, there’s so many cool con exclusives. So many things you didn’t know you needed until you saw it on the vendor floor. But plan your budget ahead and don’t go over it no matter the temptation.
12. Prioritize spending
It’s easy for me to go to so many cons because I don’t really attend other kinds of events. Cons and cosplay are my hobby so that’s what I’ve prioritized in my life to get a majority of my spending money. It used to be gaming and concerts. But I couldn’t afford to keep up all those hobbies. Now I think I spend more time making cosplays of video game characters than actually playing the game. I used to go to so many concerts. But a concert ticket can cost the same as a con ticket so I had to choose which meant more to me. So if you really want to attend more cons but don’t have the funds, you may have to cut out some other areas in your budget.
Do you have any tips or tricks on attending cons on a budget? Please share them in the comments! I hope this comic con budget guide was helpful. Life can be really expensive and it can be hard to make things you love affordable. Thanks for reading!!