NO NEED TO FEAR!: How to Budget for Your Geek Convention

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So you’ve finally decided to attend a con! Congratulations! Attending a con is a great experience that you never want to forget.  But to make it memorable, you have to spend money. Let me repeat that: YOU WILL HAVE TO SPEND MONEY AT THE CON.

(You right now.)

 But if you plan ahead, you won’t have to survive on hot dogs and cereal the month after the con! Here is a list of things that I learned after attending my first one. Yep, I went in with eyes wide open and left with a very empty bank account. After that fiasco, I made sure that I was better prepared the next time!

(Happy and Broke 2: Convention Aftermath)

  1. Start planning at least 5 months in advance: This gives you time to research the con, figure out how much money you will need, and save.  Use this time to decide how many days you will attend the con and take off from work. I always ask for days off as SOON as I know that I want to attend a con.
  2. Registration: Why are you attending this con? This is something that you should ask yourself before your register. If you only want to game, get a gaming badge. Concert? Just pay for the concert. But if you are looking to enjoy the entire con experience, buy a pass for the appropriate days. Most cons have single day or weekend badges. Larger cons typically have premium badges that offer extra perks. For example, Tokyo in Tulsa’s Sakura Club offers cool swag such as a bag, t-shirt, first dibs in artist alley and in the vendor room, first row access to all events and so much more! But if you cannot afford a premium pass, PREREGISTER! If badges aren’t mailed, get there early to pick up your badge!
  3. Transportation: How are you getting there? If you live close by, you obviously want to drive each day. However, you still need to pay for gas and a parking pass. This amount will vary but consider these costs when preparing your budget.  Search the website for parking procedures. If you can’t find it there, contact a staff member for help! If you’re going to fly, try to buy your ticket as soon as you get your days off from work approved! This should be done as soon as possible. You also want to schedule the flight so that layovers won’t destroy your con time. So if you are dying to ask Nozawa Masako a question at her panel on Friday at 5pm, do not schedule your arrival for Friday at 3. You’re cutting it close. Nozawa-san will not wait for you.


  4. Hotel/Lodging: Many cons have partnerships with certain hotels and will offer discounts if you book with that particular hotel! Or, you could stay with a friend or relative at their home and drive in each day! There’s no wrong way to do it! I’ve done both! 😊 But be sure you know how many days you need and book ahead! Sometimes you have to book through the link on the con’s website to get the discount. Pay attention and be aware. If you are going with friends, you can easily split up the cost of the room! 😊 Don’t forget about parking! If you’re driving, you’ll have to park so make sure you put back money for parking! Depending on where you are, this may be $10 or more! Check the website! Anime Expo, for example, clearly displays parking information on their site.
  5. Call your bank ahead of time! I learned this the hard way! Prior to attending an out-of-town con, I made sure to pay all of my “first of the month” bills before I left. I had just gotten paid so there was nothing to worry about! Right? Wrong! At the con later that day, my card was declined while trying to purchase Princess Jellyfish on DVD! I freaked out because I immediately thought that my account had been hacked! But when I checked my bank account, my money was there. Then it dawned on me: I forgot to let my bank know that I was going to be out of town. My bank has many security features in place. One is  freezing your account if too much money comes out too quickly or if you leave town. I quickly called to notify them and they were able to increase my spending limit for the weekend. Try and do this the day before you leave so that you do not hold up the line.
  6. FOOD! Eating is important! You are a human. You must have water and food to survive. The last thing you want is to get sick and have to go home! If you are staying at a hotel for 3 days, you will need  to set aside at least $100 for food. MOST CONS DO NOT ALLOW OUTSIDE FOOD AND DRINK!  Some have free water but some do not. Make sure you are prepared.

    (Nom nom)

  7. Merchandise: Budget at least $200-$300 for merchandise. I am so serious. A big part of conventions is purchasing things. Bands have tons of cool merch available.  Artist alley and the vendor rooms are full of manga, Blu-ray/DVDs, t-shirts, wigs, games, and other unique items. You are going to want to buy it. Now should you buy every single thing you want? Absolutely not. Take a moment to walk around and make a list of things that you want to purchase. If you still want it the next day, go ahead and buy it!  Now, if there are only a few copies of something left, get it!  (Note: Avoid mystery bags. You are NOT getting $50 worth of merchandise for $20. Trust me. I’ve messed up like 3 times. T_T)

    (Me each time I open a mystery bag full of trash.)

  8. Autographs: Guests often have autograph policies and prices. To be honest, the most I’ve ever spent was $5 to take a picture with a guest. To me that was reasonable. However, there are some some guest who charge way more than $5. Prices can range from free to hundreds of dollars. Some guests only sign their merchandise. So before you bring that Haruko wall scroll for Kari Wahlgren to sign, make sure she is able to sign it! ( I actually have a wall scroll that I want Kari Wahlgern to sign ^_^) Big cons sometimes have the guest sign one poster/item to keep the line moving. FIND OUT WHO YOU WANT AUTOGRAPHS FROM BEFORE YOU LEAVE SO THAT YOU AREN’T DISAPPOINTED.
    Cash: As stated in 10 Tips to Survive Your First Con, you need to have cash on you. With so many people attending the con, the ATMs will run out of money. Also, debit readers can malfunction and some vendors only take cash.  A good rule of thumb is to have at least half of your spending money in cash.
  10. Emergency Money: Anything can happen while you are away. Flat tires, torn cosplays, illnesses. Make sure to include a “con emergency fund” in your budget.  You want to make sure that you have at least $60 set aside for this.

For my visual people, here is a chart showing my con budget:

Expense Price Total
Food $10 per meal x 2 meals per day=$20 per day  



$60 for 3-day con + $20 for extras like water and snacks=$80



Badge Approx. $180 for a premium badge $180.00
Lodging Hotel= approx. $100 per night

Plus tax

Approx. $325 divided between 2 other friends = $109
Parking Approx. $10 per day Approx.  $30
Transportation Gas money= It depends! About $50 divided between 2 others= ~$17
Merchandise Vendors, Artist Alley, and Extras= $200

Autographs= $20 (I have yet to spend more than $5 for autograph sessions)

Emergency $60
 Total  $696

Obviously, money does not buy happiness. But conventions make me happy and conventions cost money. If you take time to plan and budget accordingly, you can have a great time without killing your bank account.  The price that I pay to attend cons is nothing compared to the experiences that I gain in just 3 short days. I get to hang with my friends, cosplay, and buy cool stuff. Don’t let the cost to hold you back. Make a plan and stick to it! 🙂

The Wonderful Wonder Woman: My Commentary Woman (2017)
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Contains spoilers for Wonder Woman(2017) and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

A few weeks ago, I got the pleasure to see the Patty Jenkins directed film, Wonder Woman. Now, Wonder Woman has been my SECOND favorite superhero for as long as I can remember. (Batman is my favorite 😃). I’ve read countless comics, I’ve seen every animated film that she’s featured in and I’ve collected many pieces of merchandise over the years.  She’s not just a member of the Justice League but she is a member of the DC trinity; one of the leaders. She stands right alongside the other two heavy-hitters: Batman and Superman. Yet, aside from Lynda Carter’s fantastic portrayal in the 70’s, there has been no live action Diana Prince. Think about it, Batman has had a number of big screen, live action movies AND countless animated incarnations. According to the Internet Movie Data Base, there are over 25 of them.   Superman has  8 live action films and many great series of his own (Lois and Clark ya’ll ❤) . In comparison, Wonder Woman has one TV movie, one TV series, and one animated film. How is it that such an iconic character has had to share so much screen time with her brothers in arms? Many times, she is shown as the backbone and voice of reason for the trio. Most recently, she showed the boys what they needed to do in 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice . Even with the odds stacked against the crew, Wonder Woman merely smirked and continued her assault on Doomsday. (Raise your hand if you got goosebumps.) So when a live action film was announced, I was beyond ecstatic. My girl was FINALLY going to be on the big screen! She has been an icon since her debut in 1941  so I knew that she was going to shatter the glass ceiling. Sablich

(No biggie!)

Wonder Woman tells the story of Princess Diana of Themyscira, the Daughter of Hippolyta. Formed from clay by her mother’s hands and given life by Zeus, this woman was a wonder from birth. Yes, she is an icon and she has a countless number of fans around the world. We’ve seen and/or read her story numerous times.  I already knew that the film was going to be great so I could not help but sit on the edge of my seat.  I kept my eyes wide and my ears open so that I would not miss a thing. I was merely enjoying the film when a crucial moment graced the screen: No Man’s Land. Diana wanted Steve to take her to the heart of the war because she was determined to end it. Unfortunately, the soldiers who had been posted there had made little progress against the Germans’ fancy weaponry. Steve, in an attempt to protect Diana, tried explaining to her that there was no way to advance. But Diana boldly declared that SHE would advance. The woman of wonder courageously breached the barriers of No Man’s Land to go toe to toe with every machine, every bullet, and every man that had been holding the town of Veld hostage.  I. cried. like. a. baby. I had to ask my sister for tissues. No matter how much I wiped my eyes, the tears kept coming. I could not ignore the extended metaphor that was playing before my eyes. It’s hard to believe that this pivotal moment was almost cut from the film! As mentioned before, this is the first Wonder Woman feature film. Most of major super hero movies feature women as part of a team or as a love interest. But on June 2, 2017, Wonder Woman unabashedly entered the “No Man’s Land” of super hero films. As a young, black woman, I have encountered “No Man’s Land” many times. During my freshman year of college, my speech professor told our class that he was surprised that two of his former black students were excellent speakers. I walked out of class with tears in my eyes that day. I wanted to scream at him and give him a piece of my mind. But after speaking with my mom, I went back with courage and grace to show him exactly why I was excellent. I made an “A” on my final and an “A” in the class.

(Pictured: The metaphorical tiara I wore during each speech)

But as with any project, there are critics. There are some who see this film as a tool to promote feminist agenda. The term “feminism” has a negative connotation these days and the media isn’t helping. Of course, there are those who claim the title and depict themselves as members of a “man-haters” club. Is Wonder Woman a feminist movie? Yes, yes it is. Real feminism is not bashing men every 5 seconds. Real feminism is being true to yourself without adhering to society’s standards. Real feminism fights for the equality for all people. And real feminism is exhibited beautifully through Gadot’s interpretation of Diana. She demonstrates her strength without asking for a pat on the back and without emasculating her male comrades. Diana Prince is a sheet of titanium and she is a snowflake.  She unapologetically scrapes the floor with anyone who threatens the common good but she also loves dancing in Steve’s arms. Diana courageously brandishes a sword and she squeals at the sight of a baby. She literally goes head to head with machine guns and weeps for the people affected by horrors of the war.  She can be the bull AND the china shop and she is not afraid to be either one. This is feminism.


Gal Gadot IS Wonder Woman and the public agrees. According to Box Office Mojo, the film has grossed over $700 million USD worldwide . I was unaware of Gadot before Batman v Superman but let me tell you, she has immortalized Diana of Themyscira. Not only did she save the world, but she saved herself from the confines of her role as a traditional Princess. Even as a child, she ruled with grace and determination. During this journey, Diana made gains and suffered losses. She experienced the bliss and loss of her first love. It was through this journey that she became Wonder Woman. With the success of this film, I hope that Hollywood can see how important films like these are. At some point, everyone faces a “No Man’s Land”. People of all ages, colors, and creeds can relate to this woman’s journey to make a difference. Did Wonder Woman break the glass ceiling? No, she annihilated that thing.


Because I am a music head, I could not help but make a playlist while working on this post. Here is a link to my playlist that I simply titled “Wonder”. It includes “To Be Human” by Sia and Labrinth from the Wonder Woman soundtrack and other songs that I feel embody the character. Enjoy! <3