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How Much Should I Save? A general guide on what you may spend at ACen (updated for 2011!)

#31 User is offline   KnitChick 

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Posted 02 September 2009 - 10:40 PM

*HUGS* Awesome thread, T_C! Thanks so much for creating this!

You covered most of the salient points. I will chime in one thing I've learned over many conventions in Rosemont (three Acens, four Wizard Worlds, and a Stitches Midwest) -- if you want reasonable decent food without a ton of walking, the Expoteria in the convention center is a good pick. The food is edible (I can eat it and I have a very touchy digestive system, I get sick as a dog if I go anywhere near McDonalds), and reasonably priced. I usually spend no more than $10 there for food, burger and drink or the daily special. During Wizard World this year at one point Artie came back to the table with mac & cheese that was only $2.50 for a pretty good sized portion. It's easily accessible from the hamster trails or from the garden.

I think I might try the switching the fridge thing if I can, even though I get fed by staff services (OM NOM NOM) it would still be nice to keep some drinks and spare nibbles in there. :) And milk for my coffee!

Again, thanks for this great thread!!!!
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#32 User is offline   this_chick25 

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Posted 03 September 2009 - 07:00 AM

::hugs::
You're very welcome; I'm more than happy to help.

I just thought it was a good idea for this kind of info to be ready in one place instead of getting buried in multiple pages of multiple threads.

...but on another note, HOW could I have forgotten about the Expoteria?!? :o ::adds::

Ooh... they have mac and cheese? I shall have to investigate...

This post has been edited by this_chick25: 03 September 2009 - 07:04 AM

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#33 User is offline   Hikari189 

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Posted 03 September 2009 - 08:32 AM

The Embassy has a microwave and a mini fridge in all of the rooms and their rates are usually about the same or even slightly cheaper than the Hyatt's. Also, what I do when I see something I want in the Exhibit Hall and I think that I can find it cheaper online I go back to my hotel room that night and check. If I find it cheaper then I don't buy it, if it's about the same I usually by it at the con just to avoid shipping and handling charges. Of course, you have to have internet in your room to do this which is typically going to cost between $10 and $13 a day.
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#34 User is offline   this_chick25 

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Posted 03 September 2009 - 09:31 AM

I split your addition amongst three different topics, and added a little detail.

Hmm... I keep having to re-format this so it's easier to distinguish the sections.

I know it's long (there's a lot of info), but is it perhaps getting too long/detailed, or is it still OK? Should I take anything out?
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#35 User is offline   7nica 

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Posted 03 September 2009 - 10:37 AM

T_C it's just fine! all of this info is pretty benefical 2 the con-goers....heck! i wish someone had did this when i started going in '07....i'd have known what 2 do then. you're doing the people surfing the forums a great service!!!! :)

This post has been edited by 7nica: 03 September 2009 - 10:40 AM

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Posted 04 September 2009 - 05:08 PM

I've been trying to come up with other lil tidbits:

1) Dealer's Room/AA - Fun fact for rookie congoers: some vendors (not all!) tend to drop their prices over the course of the weekend. If you see something that has the potential for this, and it's common enough that you're sure it won't sell out entirely by Sunday, wait and see if it will drop. BUT if you see something that is incredibly difficult to get - like, say, a master-grade Kaempfer Gundam model - and your instincts say it won't be there by Sunday, you might want to grab it.

2) Medicine - Swine flu scare aside, few things scare congoers more than the thought of getting sick, during or even after the con. Achy feet and headaches can also hinder an otherwise fun day. For this reason, if you don't already, it's a good idea to save some cash to bring along some hand sanitizer, as well as pain relievers. (If you or anyone in your group have a cold before the con, bring some cough/cold medicine if possible.) But remember: dehydration is everyone's worst enemy, so above all be sure to stock up on bottled water!
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#37 User is offline   Hikari189 

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Posted 04 September 2009 - 08:57 PM

This sort of goes along with the haggling thing but if you see something you want you should make sure to check out every booth to see if it's cheaper somewhere else. If you do find it somewhere else go to one of the other vendors who's selling it and mention it to them and see if they'll drop the price. I once managed to get a figure I wanted dropped from $25 to $15 just by looking around and managing to find a vendor who didn't want to lose business.
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#38 User is offline   Shadow Dragon 

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Posted 04 September 2009 - 11:59 PM

A little tidbit about the mini fridges, if you didn't want to bother with getting them switched or getting a usable one, bringing a cooler and filling it with ice works just as well. You'll have to get new ice probably every day, but it's not like it's not free from the ice machines. My roommates and I did that last year and it worked out really well for perishables or if we wanted something cold to drink.
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#39 User is offline   this_chick25 

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Posted 11 September 2009 - 08:22 AM

I mentioned the ice machines and bringing coolers when I first typed most of the first post out, so unfortunately I can't credit you for that info.

View PostHikari189, on Sep 4 2009, 09:57 PM, said:

This sort of goes along with the haggling thing but if you see something you want you should make sure to check out every booth to see if it's cheaper somewhere else. If you do find it somewhere else go to one of the other vendors who's selling it and mention it to them and see if they'll drop the price. I once managed to get a figure I wanted dropped from $25 to $15 just by looking around and managing to find a vendor who didn't want to lose business.

Thanks--I'll add your info to the part about haggling.
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Posted 06 December 2009 - 09:41 PM

These are all good tips to think about :thumbup: .
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Posted 07 December 2009 - 10:05 PM

View PostIsamu, on Sep 2 2009, 08:17 PM, said:

You two sound old talking about the walk to McDonalds. I myself always spend a hefty amount on food. This year I plan on hitting the Capital Grill and hope to get a few people to join me.


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#42 User is offline   Voxx 

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Posted 07 December 2009 - 11:48 PM

A good money saver idea is one day eat at McDonalds and another night order pizza or chinese food. I ordered chinese for all of my friends and figured everyones bill out and it worked out quite nicely! For like 10 people the bill wasnt that bad. mm....sweet and sour chicken.

My friends and I usually just bring coolers and fill em with ice and goodies like sandwhich ingredients (bread/jellies ((ky >.>)) also snacks/soda/juice. Also water bottles are a god send. You can just re-fill them for free!!! =3 Bringing these will save you a lot of money when it comes to food stuffs.
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Posted 14 January 2010 - 01:26 PM

I saw your tidbit about rollaways, and as of last year, the Hyatt charged 25 dollars per rollaway bed. Something else that needs mentioning, that I didn't notice, is if you are paying for your room with a DEBIT card, beware of maxing it out of money. Last year I had the room on my debit card, but didn't realize that the Hyatt charged for rollaway beds. My card was overcharged, and they locked us out of our rooms. If you're going to use a Debit card, it's just a good idea in general to have an extra bit of money on the card, and carry cash with you at the convention. I realize that some of the dealers in the dealers room take card, but I know most if not all artists in the artists alley don't. Cash has been, for me at least, easier to handle. Beyond that, you know how much you have, instead of trying to figure out how much you've spent, versus how much you have. If you're carrying cash, you can count and see how much you have then and there, if you're charging everything off of a card of some sort, trying to remember all the things you've bought over the crazy weekend tends to be difficult.

As for food, depending on places you go to eat, 20-25 is a good estimate per day. Denny's is fairly cheap, seeing as how you can get one of their "grand slams" for 5 or 6 bucks, and the food is good. Then of course, McDonald's is down the road as well. Not as good, but still cheap. There is also a pizza place near the McDonalds that is incredibly expensive, but if you're with a group of friends, it can be cheap! The stuffed pizza is incredibly filling, so one or two slices will most definitely fill up even the most hungry con-goer. While I'm on the topic of food; bring your own snacks! I know that most everyone has tons of stuff to carry already, but trust me, after a long night/day of being at the convention, you will appreciate just being able to go up to your room to grab something to snack on. PB&J or even Ham Salad stuff keeps well in a small cooler, and bread is cheap! (Pop-tarts are also amazing.) Now I know living on PB&J or Ham Salad, or even Ramen for the weekend isn't ideal, but it'll do when you are hungry, but don't have either a, a driver to take you out for food, or b, the energy to make the hike to McDonalds or elsewhere for food. Bringing snacks and foods that can help curb hunger during breakfast will definitely cut down on your food money spent in Chicago.

If you have the option of in/out privileges with your hotel of choice; DO IT. Especially if you're with a group and you are leaving at random times of the day to go eat or visit other places in Chicago. It saves you so much money to be able to leave and come back as it pleases you.

To add on to what someone else said, gift cards are an amazing idea. However, to expand on what was said, it's a good idea to get a good meal per day, but if worst comes to worst, at least a good meal on Sunday is recommended to help curb the bad things you have done to your body all weekend! One thing my group likes to do is to buy gift cards BEFORE going to Chicago to a restaurant we all enjoy. (Last year for us it was a TGI Fridays.) We all pitch in to buy gift cards for a decent amount of money that will cover all of us, and hold onto them. Before we left the area we stopped at the restaurant and all enjoyed a great meal, and didn't have to worry about having money to pay for it because we had the gift cards. So even if our wallets were holding moths, we had the cards to get ourselves a good meal.

If I think of any other money saving tips, I'll post them up.
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#44 User is offline   Kitsu-chan 

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Posted 14 January 2010 - 02:36 PM

View Postthis_chick25, on Sep 2 2009, 11:54 AM, said:

:lol: I budget to regulate my spending moreso than to be able to afford it. I could so easily blow $300 in the Dealer's Hall alone if I don't watch myself. It's the main reason why I don't bring a pull-cart (or my main debit card) in there.

HAHA. I easily blow 3 times that much. Wait... why am I proud of that :unsure:
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#45 User is offline   ShikiMatsuri 

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Posted 16 January 2010 - 01:10 PM

Considering everything on this topic and what-not, I'll say I'll bring so-and-so amount of money >.>

#46 User is offline   TanukiOfYaoi 

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Posted 13 February 2010 - 03:05 PM

View PostSka_Toranpetta, on Dec 7 2009, 11:48 PM, said:

A good money saver idea is one day eat at McDonalds and another night order pizza or chinese food. I ordered chinese for all of my friends and figured everyones bill out and it worked out quite nicely! For like 10 people the bill wasnt that bad. mm....sweet and sour chicken.

My friends and I usually just bring coolers and fill em with ice and goodies like sandwhich ingredients (bread/jellies ((ky >.>)) also snacks/soda/juice. Also water bottles are a god send. You can just re-fill them for free!!! =3 Bringing these will save you a lot of money when it comes to food stuffs.


Also bringing plenty of food from home. I did, and it came in handy when most of my friends wanted to eat at the hotel in the morning and I flat out refused because it cost five dollars for a donuts :angry: Bring your own food saves money and it lessens your fast food intake, especially if you have little snacks that will help you threw the day.

This post has been edited by TanukiOfYaoi: 13 February 2010 - 03:06 PM

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#47 User is offline   slrphebos 

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 08:24 PM

To add with the cash, make sure you take out that amount and stick with said amount you can curb spending. If you have a nation wide bank look for a local ATM so you don't get charged fees when taking out money. Be surprised how much those fees add up over the weekend.

And with the parking, if you are staying at the Hyatt you have to pay in cash BEFORE you check in with your room. I've tried the last couple of years to get it placed on my room bill and it is never a go. Bring cash for the amount you will be parking cause they ask for it before they let you into the parking area.
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Posted 10 September 2010 - 07:12 AM

I start to save in january in hopes something dosnt come up that i need 2 spend money... between january and may i dont eat lunch and save any extra money i get and i end up with like almost 500 every year
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Posted 10 September 2010 - 10:24 AM

I use my saved tip money and what is left over of the tax refund to pay for Acen and hotel. Tickets are bought asap and that same day me and my friend look around for hotel prices and book the hotel if I have the funds. Last year I paid with my Debit card and the hotel charged me the whole weekend all at once, I dropped a day and ended up regretting it, we had to leave early in the morning after staying up late the previous night. I will get another roommate(s)to help pay for the cost of Acen weekend.

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#50 User is offline   LambOfTheForest 

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Posted 12 September 2010 - 07:02 PM

Soooo.... I don't know if this is the right place for me to ask this, but this was the only place that said the room block was open. I called the hotel and they said that the hotel is sold out for the weekend of ACEN but there was no mention of the hotel being full FOR the ACEN room block. Now it could be that the hotel filled in the past 10 days. :( or I called too early.

Does anyone know which one? Please and thank you!!! X3
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Posted 12 September 2010 - 10:00 PM

View PostLambOfTheForest, on 12 September 2010 - 07:02 PM, said:

Soooo.... I don't know if this is the right place for me to ask this, but this was the only place that said the room block was open. I called the hotel and they said that the hotel is sold out for the weekend of ACEN but there was no mention of the hotel being full FOR the ACEN room block. Now it could be that the hotel filled in the past 10 days. :( or I called too early.

Does anyone know which one? Please and thank you!!! X3

Hey just letting you know, this thread is from last year, last con. Last time this was updated, yes the room block was open...but that was for ACen 2010... 4 months ago. The reason the hotel NOW says it's sold out for ACen is because the hotel has it marked the con as reserved then (we're their regulars~ ;3). HOWEVER all the little ding wrinkles and details are being worked out, and the 2011 convention room block isn't all finalized yet -- so we all just have to wait for the forum announcement, impatient as we all may be.~

Hotel room blocks will not open until the Forums/Chair/Mods/Staff announce it all to be open, usually after registration is up** (**though I'm not staff so I can't guarantee anything**)-- in the past it has opened in September/Octoberish as well as hasn't opened 'til as late as January, so we really just have to wait frothe heads up news. I'm going to get a mod/staff to come help you further, 'kay?~
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#52 User is offline   LambOfTheForest 

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Posted 14 September 2010 - 09:23 AM

View Postchainedbyroses, on 12 September 2010 - 10:00 PM, said:

Hey just letting you know, this thread is from last year, last con. Last time this was updated, yes the room block was open...but that was for ACen 2010... 4 months ago. The reason the hotel NOW says it's sold out for ACen is because the hotel has it marked the con as reserved then (we're their regulars~ ;3). HOWEVER all the little ding wrinkles and details are being worked out, and the 2011 convention room block isn't all finalized yet -- so we all just have to wait for the forum announcement, impatient as we all may be.~

Hotel room blocks will not open until the Forums/Chair/Mods/Staff announce it all to be open, usually after registration is up** (**though I'm not staff so I can't guarantee anything**)-- in the past it has opened in September/Octoberish as well as hasn't opened 'til as late as January, so we really just have to wait frothe heads up news. I'm going to get a mod/staff to come help you further, 'kay?~
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Posted 28 September 2010 - 07:50 PM

So far since starting a temp job back in May, I should have enough for hotel and for spending on food and buying stuff at the Dealer's Room.
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Posted 11 October 2010 - 02:38 PM

I know this thread is from last year, but another good tip is to always make sure you have cash, because sometimes the credit card machines go down in the dealer's room. This happened to me on Sunday when I was trying to make some last minute purchases, and then made the horrible discovery that <i>all</i> of the ATM machines were out of cash. Ever since then I bring all my cash that I plan to take out of my account with me before I go.

This is a tip from a different con, but it still applies - you may be super excited to go to the ATM to get your cash before leaving for the con, but don't drive off without your card! Because I don't think I'm the only person who sometimes gets a tiny bet forgetful when they're excited. ^^;;

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Posted 01 November 2010 - 03:53 AM

I know this is common courtesy for service based goods like restaurants, but don't forget to tip the bellhop and house keeping. They're working for you to earn a living.

Guideline: http://hotels.about....a/tipping_2.htm

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 11:34 AM

View PostOreo_Otaku, on 01 November 2010 - 03:53 AM, said:

I know this is common courtesy for service based goods like restaurants, but don't forget to tip the bellhop and house keeping. They're working for you to earn a living.

Guideline: http://hotels.about....a/tipping_2.htm


That is helpful :) I have to admit tipping the maid never occurred to me, I don't stay at many hotels (except for Acen). I will have to add this to my list for my budget I wright up when Acen gets closer :D

#57 User is offline   Kitana_Matsuri 

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Posted 02 November 2010 - 01:59 PM

I never intended on 'cheating' my parking fee, but because we ended up sitting around the hotel after hours once the majority of people left, the gate was open when I went to leave. Due to how tired I was, I did not disagree and more or less hit the gas and took off to Mitsuwa.
No joke. It's all about hookers and hopscotch. Sometimes strippers and burritos.

#58 User is offline   LambOfTheForest 

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Posted 03 November 2010 - 01:47 PM

View PostStormy-chan, on 02 November 2010 - 11:34 AM, said:

That is helpful :) I have to admit tipping the maid never occurred to me, I don't stay at many hotels (except for Acen). I will have to add this to my list for my budget I wright up when Acen gets closer :D

Same here... I tip at resturants, but never for a maid... Bad me! T.T I shall better my ways!
On that day, all female officers will be required to wear... tiny miniskirts!


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#59 User is offline   this_chick25 

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Posted 19 November 2010 - 12:20 PM

Updated the first post for 2011 (to the best of my knowledge), and added the bit about tipping. If anyone has additional info, feel free to chime in!

Thanks for all the suggestions, but all the stuff about bringing food, going to Denny's and McDonald's, and bottled water was touched on in the original post, so unfortunately I cannot add information that is already there. I know it's a lot, but please read the full first post before suggesting.

Additionally, while there are are a lot of helpful survival tips (like don't forget your cash/debit card), this thread is about estimating how much to save and the types of expenses that rack up at ACen. Please also consider this before making a suggestion.
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#60 User is offline   MOMO2 

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Posted 20 November 2010 - 06:05 PM

I did it loner style last year since people bailed. That made a huge dent in budget. Hopefully not this year doing the loner thing. word of advice, BRING FRIENDS!!
The only thing to fear is yourself.

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