By: Revanche

Inspiration: Stretching my Con budget

June 10, 2008

This might be considered cheating because I’m not spending any less. But, if the end result is saving some cash by being creative about the spending, then it still counts.

My budget for Con is $300 from my travel fund, of which $92 is earmarked for reimbursing my friend via comics. That leaves me $208.

If I recall semi-accurately, I usually fill up once before I head out to San Diego, and once more when I come back. That includes the 100+ mile drive down there, 5 round trips between my housing and the convention center, and a trip back home. This year, I’m required to cut the trip short by a day because of a business trip, so I only have to account for 4 days of driving. But, I’ve factored in an extra trip to the airport to pick up BD who will be joining me for a day. Total, I’d say that’s just a shade under 400 miles. My car can, on a good day, make about 400-450 miles per tank, but I may be ferrying passengers on some days, I might be stuck in traffic for five hours coming or going, who knows?

I’m going to estimate the trip to require about 20 gallons of gas to be on the safe side.

By the end of July, $5.50/gal gas is probably not unthinkable, considering the Shell is at $4.45 right now. Conservatively, I now expect to spend more than half my budget on gas alone. That’s before I’ve factored in parking, food, or even a bit of shopping for gifts. Oh, and my ticket for next year. Oy, I thought my budget was HUGE a few months ago.

My brilliant idea? Gift cards! Browsing the Thank You points rewards the other night, I discovered that they have Shell gift cards. Sadly, they only offer the $50 for 6000 points exchange rate which I despise, but it’s still gas money that won’t come out of pocket. My ideal solution would be to earn another 2000 MyPoints and redeem 7350 points for a $50 GC, and redeem 12,000 Thank You points for another $100. It’s not likely that I’ll be able to get another 2000 points via MyPoints between now and Con, though, so I might have to bite the bullet and burn 18,000 points.

If I use no more than $150 on gas (dear Heavens I hope I don’t!) then I will have saved my Con cash stash entirely! That would be wonderful. The use of that many Thank You points and the lost opportunity to redeem for shopping GCs is sad, but I can repurpose any leftover Con cash to later travel, I can’t do that by hoarding TY points. Besides, I can always earn more points.

3 Responses to “Inspiration: Stretching my Con budget”

  1. Kacie says:

    Yikes, $4.45/gal for you right now? Eeep! Here in PA, I’ve seen it at $4.07.

    I really hope gas doesn’t hit $5.

    Gift cards are a great way to save money. Good luck!

  2. Matt says:

    I’ve contemplated the idea of using points for gift certificates to reduce the food budget but the exchange rate on those puppies is insane. Might as well keep collecting for something bigger.

  3. ~kacie~ It’s been jumping about 6 cents every other day, so while I have my fingers crossed, I don’t dare hold my breath.

    ~matt~ I thought of the same thing, but none of our points programs even offer grocery GCs. As it is, the exchange is less than my optimal rate, so this is strictly an emergency measure.

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