If you’re anything like me, a millennial with obligations to rent and adulthood expenses, anime and comic conventions can be a bit transcendent of budget boundaries. After years of extensive research and meditation, I’ve perfected these 5 tips to the art of the broke man’s, balling at anime conventions:
5. Assemble the Clique!
This one is only if the con you’re attending is out of state. Find out when and where your convention of choice is going to be. Compare rates for local hotels and AirBNB, then schedule months ahead of the convention’s date to ensure cheaper prices. Regardless of what you opt for, make sure there are decent pictures and reviews of where you’ll be staying. Next divvy the cost between you and some friends and you’re gravy. Use the same approach for travel to and fro. Split cab fares and take advantage of uberPOOL.
4. Be Conscious of Food
Beware of food vendors! The cost of food is straight up ridiculous at cons. A hotdog that would normally go for $1 will go for $3.75 and up, and the cost of fast food just adds to the ever-growing dilemma, unless you’re eating off the dollar menu and sticking to a cup of water. Instead, try preparing meals beforehand. A sandwich and soup prepared at home will definitely spare you at least $10 per meal.
3. Buying Practically
Do you really need that 25th Anniversary YuYu Hakusho Blu-ray Collection? Or those autographs from the entire cast and crew of My Hero Academia? In the age of information, honestly both discs and autographs are more likely to gather dust than bring fortune or satisfy more than your need for instant gratification. Maybe hold back on the $150 box set and $20 per John Hancock and find some original accessories, artwork and apparel. Cons are full of exclusive shit that you won’t be able to get anywhere else. Check the Artist Alley and the Show Floor for items that truly standout to you and add value to growing collection. Also, try waiting till the last day of the convention to haggle with vendors on overstock. They're often willing to drop the price just to move some deadstock.
2. Be a Part of the Experience
Tickets can be a bit pricey for these conventions, ranging from $40 - $50 per day and weekend tickets selling from $60 - $125. Check out the con’s website and look for volunteer and crew opportunities, which guarantee you free access and dope perks, like access to limited screenings and panels, absolutely free. Some cons even offer stipends or crash space, eliminating the need for hotels. Be sure to check what benefits you get as a crew or volunteer member. Alternatively, you can join a team of Exhibitors, be an Artist, or apply for a Press Pass if you have a blog or work for a publication. Either way guarantees your attendance at minimum cost.
1. Chill and Network
New experiences are what make life worthwhile. Explore the Game Room/Show Floor and meet new people! Play DDR, pose with some cosplayers (after getting their permission of course), and check out the activities, panels and screenings, after all that’s what you’re there for! Hopefully you’ll make some new friends and have a great time!
How do you manage money for conventions?