I shared earlier this week that I went to FinCon in San Diego, CA. Let me state one thing: it was not cheap.
As I’ve mentioned before, going to FinCon is not something I was really entertaining for a while, as the cost was just too high. If you’re subscribed to my email list, you may have already heard this. Here’s what I sent out while I was an FinCon:
As much as I wanted to come, I knew it was going to be expensive and, frankly, I wasn’t sure that I’d have the cashflow for it. In fact, it was totally not even something I was considering until about 6 weeks ago when I found out I got a scholarship.
You see, that scholarship was a huge game changer for me. It only covered the cost of the ticket, which was, I think, just under $500 at the time, but it totally changed my perspective on the conference. First and foremost, I took it as a sign from God that I was meant to be at FinCon. He put it down for me to pick up and boy did I.
Unfortunately for me, tickets were not the only cost to FinCon. As I was prepping, I wanted to know how much it would cost me and while we talked a bit about it in a couple of Facebook groups, I didn’t really have any full picture of what it would cost.
Here is exactly what I spent.
Because I live in Raeford, NC and FinCon was in San Diego, CA, I needed to fly to the conference. The conference would end on Sunday 9/24 and I needed to be in Baltimore for work on 9/28. Because it was cheaper for them to fly me from San Diego to Baltimore on Southwest than it would be from Fayetteville to Baltimore, I was able to convince my job to pay for my return flight, meaning I would only need to cover the cost of my flight there.
I had two Southwest LUV Vouchers from a delayed flight earlier this year totalling $150. I was able to find a flight for $252, with the voucher it came to $152. Flying Southwest meant I’d have to fly out of Raleigh. I coordinated with my friend Kelly to crash at her place in Raleigh the night before with hopes of Ubering or taxi-ing to the airport. The morning of, there were no Ubers or Lyfts on the road, so I had to take a taxi, which came to $26.
Total travel costs: $178
I heard over and over again that it is a must for first-timers to stay at the conference hotel. I heard after-the-fact from some people that AirBnbing in some of the boats in the Marina gave you the same proximity to the hotel (the boats were literally in the backyard of the hotel!), but that’s not something that we can always count on. I was able to save significantly by finding a roommate in Stefanie O’Connell.
I stayed in the San Diego Sheraton Marina from Wednesday to Sunday.
Total lodging costs: $318
This is where things got the most wishy-washy. I would be traveling Tuesday evening through Sunday evening, so I wanted to be strategic about my meals. Here is what I ate.
Tuesday Dinner: With Casey, Chad, and Kelly at Chili’s (before spending the night at Kelly’s): $27
Wednesday Breakfast: Breakfast Sandwich and Madeline Cookies from Starbucks: $9
Wednesday Lunch: Dumplings at a lunch sponsored by Experian after getting to FinCon
Wednesday Dinner: Went to happy hour and made dinner out of appetizers (go early, frequent the foods often); Got Hungry later and got a candybar from the hotel shop: $3
Thursday Breakfast: Continental Breakfast at the hotel
Thursday Lunch: Food Truck Lunch provided by FinCon
Thursday Dinner: TradeKing Launch party at Coasterra
Friday Breakfast: Continental Breakfast at the hotel
Friday Lunch: Lunch with Women from Careful Cents Club
Friday Dinner: Leftovers from lunch
Saturday Breakfast: Continental Breakfast at the hotel
Saturday Lunch: Lunch from Deli just off the property and Donut from Starbucks: $13
Saturday Dinner: Leftovers from Lunch
Sunday Breakfast: Donut from Starbucks: $4
Sunday Lunch: In-N-Out: $16
Total Food Costs: $72
Was it worth it?
Overall, the conference cost $568 out of pocket that I financed by slowing down my debt snowball for two months.
What did I get from FinCon?
Well, I’ve signed multiple freelance contracts that I’m very happy with. This month, October, I will make $500 (before taxes) from ONE contract alone. I have already signed three and have a couple of more conversations still going on.
I will say it now and I will say it again: FinCon was absolutely worth every single penny. I would strongly recommend it!
I’ve already bought my ticket for FinCon 17 in Dallas! With more time now, I will be able to better prepare for the conference and really crush it! About 9 months out, I will do a full brand audit and lay out a plan for getting BD into tiptop shape leading upto FC 17. Tickets are on sale right now for $199, a huge discount from the $469 they will be soon! You can always resell and transfer your ticket. If you’re considering going to FinCon, please feel free to ask me any questions! I definitely recommend it!
Emilie is an Army Wife, Data Engineer, and CrossFitter with a love for working through her thoughts in this space on the internet. She lives with her husband Casey and their pup Bo in Savannah, GA.