In September we (all 3 of us!) attended the financial bloggers conference known as FinCon for the first time, which took place over 4 days at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina.
I’ve been wanting to attend ever since I won a Plutus Award at last year’s FinCon for Best International Personal Finance Blog (yeah!) Thanks Plutus Awards!
Although I’ve been blogging for awhile, I wasn’t completely sure what to expect. What exactly is a bloggers conference? I’ll try to convey our experience as first time attendees.
And naturally, attending a conference about fiscal responsibility requires a bit of fiscal responsibility, so I’ll share our actual costs. Hopefully this helps with planning if you want to attend in the future.
Welcome to San Diego
The 3 of us flew into San Diego from San Francisco after a nice breakfast and Uber ride to SFO. The free Sheraton shuttle dropped us off right outside the marina where our Airbnb houseboat awaited.
We didn’t stay in the conference hotel, because houseboat! We had full use of a kitchen, two neighborhood sea lions, and an epic rooftop for sunset wine and cheese.
And… “Want to come back to the house boat for a drink?” is way more appealing than inviting somebody back to your room. This is doubly true when you invite 50 of your favorite bloggers back for an after party.
Even better: the houseboat was nearly half the price of the conference hotel.
Would you believe every session I attended at FinCon had free drinks?!
It’s true. But that is only because I attended the happy hours and dinner parties. Since all sessions are recorded (available to all), I knew I would hear about the good ones and could watch them later at 3x speed. (This rap video from the Plutus Awards ceremony is especially fun, NSFW/Adult language.)
I’m not a big fan of spending waking hours away from the family, so I focused and used my limited time on connecting with business partners and my favorite bloggers (total fanboy here!) It is really cool to meet people face to face after you’ve been reading their stuff for years, and a lot of those conversations will lead to an improved Go Curry Cracker. (Thanks for the tips and opportunities, y’all.)
Similarly, I made special effort to find everybody who had reached out via email or Twitter. It is always a bit humbling (but also very cool!) to find that many people are big fans of this site. (If you are ever in the neighborhood, we are always up for a coffee.)
I wrote down a few of my favorite fan comments:
“OMG, you are Go Curry Cracker!” **HUG**
“Look, Go Curry Cracker is in my cell phones auto-correct!”
“People ask me why I named my dog Winnie, and I’m like, there is this blogger family who retired early and travels the world…Have you heard of them?”
3 full days went by quickly… by day exploring the zoo and the waterfront, by night meeting with bloggers and partners over refreshing beverages.
How much did it cost for 4 days of fun and sun in San Diego? $820
|FinCon 2016||Total Expense||Comment|
|FinCon Ticket||$0||Free friend ticket|
|Housing||$444||Houseboat with Millennial Boss & Fiery Millennials|
|Transport||$287||Arrival airfare: $118
Departure train: $112
Dining out: $89
|Alcohol||$71||After party: ~$40|
|Entertainment||$108||Zoo tickets: $90
(found 10% off coupon)
(not tax deductible)
Lyft to/from zoo: $13
Carseat storage: $5
|Total||$1,078||Pre-tax. ~$820 after-tax.|
Since this was business travel, it didn’t make sense to use points for free flights or nights. This $1,078 expense will reduce our tax bill by ~$258, for an effective cost of ~$820.
We shared a houseboat in the Sheraton marina, so we were right in the heart of the event but also had our own crash pad. Our portion was only ~$111/night, whereas the Sheraton was $190.46/night.
— The Roamer (@TravelingWallet) August 17, 2016
I was able to get a free ticket, thanks to the free friend tickets handed out at FinCon15. Thanks to The Roamer for helping round one up, and thanks to Valerie Rind for your generosity! We only needed the one ticket since Winnie and Jr didn’t technically attend the conference, although they were major contributors to several business discussions.
We did get a ~$50 discount thanks to a Lyft $5 off 10 rides promotion. A Lyft Line ride (carpool) to Trader Joe’s was basically free.
I used credit cards for all expenses. The rewards points from this trip will provide ~$20 towards future non-tax deductible travel.
Free drinks, rap videos, awards ceremonies, and fun times with people who make fiscal fitness fun…. what is not to like?
I’ve already started implementing some back end changes on this site that were inspired by conversations at FinCon, and generated a long To Do list of posts and improvements that I’ll work on over the next year. There will also be a few guest posts and podcasts coming thanks to chance encounters. Yes, our first FinCon was a definite success.
$820 is a fairly reasonable price for 4 days in beautiful San Diego. I definitely won’t be able to repeat that since I’ll need to buy tickets to attend in the future. Speaking of which, tickets are on sale now for FinCon 2017 in Dallas.
Thanks to everybody who made our first FinCon special, in random order: Mad Fientist, J Money, Mrs. Our Next Life, Money Metagame, Afford Anything, Mrs. Frugalwoods, Fiery Millennials, Retire by 40, Millennial Boss, Raptitude, Financial Mentor, Joe Saul-Sehy, Kathleen Celmins, Han Chang, Side Hustle Nation, Mr & Mrs 1500, Money Boss, Reach Financial Independence, Even Steven Money, & More! (sorry)