How did some of you attend ICES on a budget. Attended for only three days? Do you recommend attending the one day pass? Is most items discounted on Sunday afternoon or Saturday?
I would like to attend ICES next year but I am on a budget.
Well, my budget was what I saved up until that point - so it was a decent "budget". All of the girls I went with had been saving for at least 6 mos.
I'm not sure what your budget is but I guess it depends on what you want out of ICES. If you want to do demos, then you'll have to register and be there at maybe 3 days (depending on the days of your demos).
If you only want to shop the vendor area, then a day pass is probably best. If I had to pick a day, I'd probably go Sunday. That was when most discounted if they discounted at all. And there weren't many but I did find some deals. (PME, CalJava)
Rooming with others helps on the hotel costs if you are OK with that. And you don't have to necessarily room at the convention site - maybe there's a cheaper hotel nearby. But then you'd have to worry about getting there and back.
I think what helped us was that we registered right away (first day, literally the first ones to register...you know because of the seat numbers you get for your demos) so that we could put money aside for the actual convention. Anything we could pay for ahead of time, we did. (that "rebate" we got from the government helped a lot) For example - we went to a cirque du soleil show and Magic Kingdom and bought tickets around April or so. We didn't want all of these big costs close to or at convention time. It was nice to get there and know most of our money was going towards food, vendors and any other extras because everything else was already taken care of months ago.
I absolutely agree with Ironbaker! Go ahead and pay for all you can upfront. TCturtleshell and I went ahead and paid for our part of the room when we got there. So the money we had left was for eating, fun and stuff.
I saved about 200 a month starting last year. Registered early to get that cost out of the way. I went through my vendor budget and spent probably an additional 200 dollars which wasn't that bad. I don't know how much things were discounted late Sunday, but most of the good stuff was gone by then. I looked at it that if i really wanted something it wasn't worth the 10 dollars saved if they sold out before i got mine.
The one day pass is definetly worth it if thats all you can budget, I will say i enjoyed my demo's more then the classes and they are less expensive then classes.
I spent a total of 1,300 for 6 night and 7 days. That was with splitting the room 3 ways. It also included a rental car and parking and an oil change where I left my car. I save all my small cake money for the convention. I do cakes for a local dentist and save that too. I kinda bought what I wanted too. Though I dont think I went hog wild I did buy a lot. Nothing big though. I still am waiting for First impression molds I spent a lot of money there. As for Sunday I bought a few gum paste flowers for 5 bucks but nothing really more discounted. Just save what you can.
Are you local? If you are, you don't have hotel stay so that saves you money. If you aren't local, are you close enough to drive? If you can drive there then you can always stay in another hotel that is not the host hotel and save some money. Depending on the area there maybe a cheaper hotel across the straight or very close.
I have only stayed in the host hotel once. In Grapevine I stayed in a Best Western and saved about $70 a night. You can also room with someone and that cuts the cost of your room down.
As other's said, start saving now. It's amazing how much money you can save if you do it a little at a time. Even if you just put away $10 a week that would be close to $500 by next year.
There are other ways to cut cost once you are there. Don't eat at the host hotel for every meal, they are usually pretty expensive. Bring oatmeal for breakfast in the mornings. Bring some snacks with you.
I think the $50 shoppers pass is good for those people that can't make it to the whole convention and are near the location. If I was to do it, I would do it on Saturday myself. Yes, on Sunday you can find some deals from those venders that don't want to carry/ship things back home, but you will as find venders out of alot of things as well.
Personally though, if I had a choice between just shopping and doing demo's, I'd have to do the demo's. I think that is the best part of it, other than visiting with people that enjoy the same thing.