Saturday, February 21, 2009

Show Me The Money

Allison Pittman has some great ideas to share about saving for conference. Here's the first installment:

Everybody agrees: the surest road to publication begins at a writers conference. But between the conference fees, travel expenses, and little extras along the way (at least one new outfit!), you might have to pay a pretty toll to travel that road. So, if you’re wanting to go to a conference, but you’re not sure how you’ll fund it, let me introduce you to the concept of the FREE conference. I’ll share my tried-n-true methods for paying for your conference without robbing your family.

F = Free…as in, free money. Just today I got a check from my bank for 19.80. Why? Because my bank pays me .10 every time I use my debit card. Apparently I use the card a lot. That’s free money. That check will get cashed and stashed in my special conference piggy bank. (OK, a pretty cedar box in my underwear drawer, but you get the picture…)
***Be on the look out for unexpected refunds and forgotten rebates.
***Have a credit card that offers cash back or rewards in the form of air miles? Use it as much as possible (Of course, only for your everyday purchases, and be sure to pay the bill in full each month.)
***Got a gift-getting occasion coming up? Be bold and ask those people who would be inclined to give you a gift (parents, spouse, siblings, etc.) to consider giving a contribution to your conference fund instead.
***Keep the change—all of it! For our family vacations, we keep a large jar in a central location for all the family change. We just cashed in a year’s worth and had over $200. That’s a healthy couch cushion yield.
***Use coupons at the grocery store and pay yourself the difference. For instance, if you save $12, get $10 cash back and stash it away.

Now, none of this in itself will pay for an entire conference, but it’ll sure make a dent.

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