With GenCon in full swing, I was asked a few times if I would be attending it. As I always answer, I cannot afford to do so. This time however someone actually offered to pay for me and my wife to come next year, share an AirBnB, cover my airfare, the works.
I ended up turning that down.
You might be saying “Clay you are insane why would you do that?!”
Well, I wrote a twitter thread kind of explaining things, but I spent much of today thinking about this situation. About costs, tribulations, requirements, ect. And then it hit me: I got a Patreon. I have a Goal about Cons.
So, here is my new answer regarding ANY convention outside of my home city: If you want me to go, you gotta help me reach and maintain my Patreon goal. If I do not reach this goal I WILL NOT ATTEND A CON OUTSIDE OF MY HOME CITY. Whats the goal you might ask?
Well here is a picture of it. Click that pic to go to my patreon if you like.
Now that’s the short answer, and you might be looking at that amount of $750 a month and go “That seems like a high number just for a convention once a year” but allow me to explain in detail, should you wish to learn. For this, we will use GenCon as the baseline, as its the “Mecca” of the Tabletop world for many. We will use the 2018 pricing info, and its going to be for 2 people (since my wife may want to come with me)
First we need to deal with the cons badge cost. For a 4 day badge in 2018 that cost is $110 for each person. We are already sitting at $220 for the expenses. Next, we need to look at hotel and airfare. I cannot, due to medical issues, share a room with others beyond my wife. I have issues I prefer to keep private and not subject others to it. Due to this, I am looking (At least based on my research) a cost somewhere between $700 to $1000 total for both (according to Travelocity ect)
Thats already now at most $1220. Lets round that up and say $1250 to cover just entry for the event, airfare, and hotel.
BUT THATS NOT ALL! Oh no, we need to cover transportation. Lets assume $50 a day (Lyft / Uber to and from the event, or public transportation, or rental car + parking). 4 days of that? $200. We are now up to $1450! Oh and we need to make sure we cover food too. My wife and I, if we eat out every meal are lookin at around $70 a day. Lets round that up to $100 (just to be safe) and thats $400 for food. Jesus, we are now at $1850. Finally, we need cash to buy STUFF for ourselves or as gifts. Dice, books, ect. Assuming we budget say $300 for the weekend, we are now at the following total for a 4 day trip to a convention:
$2150. Lets just push that to $2200.
Thats…an obscene amount of money. Thats almost as much as me and her make in a single month combined (its $200 short). Now I am prolly overestimating, but I always do that because its better to be OVER then UNDER. If I got lucky and say got a hotel with its own kitchen I could easily drop the food costs for breakfast and dinner, for example. And if there is a shuttlebus to and from the con location that might help, but I wouldnt be able to be sure of that early on, and I prefer to overprepare.
Now, you are prolly looking at that $750 a month with a bit more understanding, but you know what? I would not actually take home $750 a month from patreon. Lets break down exactly HOW MUCH I really get! This is based on current date as of 8/2/18.
First, Patreon takes around 10% of that amount in fees, but sometimes it varies a bit up or down. Thats $75. So right now, we are down to $675. From there, I need to keep aside taxes. Thats generally 15% but again, I overestimate, so we take 30% of the $675.
Thats $202.50. Lets round that up to $205. So we have $470 left now take home from Patreon. Then we take my OWN support for others out, and thats about $50.
Suddenly I am sitting at $420. Down from $750. Big drop correct?
To hit $2200, getting $420 a month, is about 5 months. So if I save up for HALF THE YEAR, I will reach $2520, enough for a con visit in the SECOND HALF OF THE YEAR!
See the problem?
Nevermind that sometimes I have to use some of this money to cover real life expenses, because my jobs wage cannot always cover all my costs.
So thats the long and short of it. If you want to see me at a convention, ever, that goal has to be met. At the point this goal has been met, I will be easily able to (I HOPE) save up and afford going. I would of course play it smart: Save up to the point of the Hotel+Airfare, and then grab it, then save up for the badges, and grab em, and then just keep saving for food / transportation / fun money.
Anyway thats enough rambling. I hope this better explains my particular situation, and my new rules. My hope is this will also give me time to get over some of my issues. No Goal, No Cons. Simple, easy, and logical. Thanks for reading, and remember!
Get those CRITS! Take those HITS! Keep pushing through and always remember to STAY NERDY!