A lot of the personal finance bloggers will be heading to the Chicago area this weekend for the first annual Financial Blogger Conference. Hundreds of bloggers, finance workers, and personal finance nerds and enthusiasts alike will be gathering to talk about what it means to be a blogger, both for business and for hobby. It’ll be the first time many of us are meeting up, and it’s been heavily anticipated for about a year now. We’ve had time to save up for the conference, which was probably a splurge for many of us if you include the conference pass, plane tickets, meeting rooms and the hotel room. So how can you save money when you’re planning for a conference?

  • Buy the early bird ticket: Many conferences offer different pricing levels depending on when you buy your ticket. Early bird specials offer the best discount, sometimes up to 50% off the regular price of the conference pass. If you have time to save up, get your ticket as early as possible!
  • Use discount codes: Conference organizers reach out to their sponsors and in exchange for getting sponsorship funds, they offer their sponsors a discount code for interested parties. You can insert the discount code and get between 10% and 50% off your ticket. Be sure to check and ask around before you purchase your ticket!
  • Shop around for your flight: There’s so many websites that you can check for a flight, including Expedia, Kayak, Orbitz and more. These sites have worked out deals with numerous airlines, and you can compare flights by price, time to get to your destination and more. The earlier you get your flight, the better price you can get. Don’t forget to check individual airline websites, as some of them work exclusively through their own website.
  • See if there’s a deal with a hotel: For the Financial Blogger Conference, the organizer, Phil from PT Money, worked out a deal to get a discount to stay at the hotel that the conference will be held at. Even if your conference won’t be at a hotel, the organizers may have worked out a deal with nearby hotels. You can get an attendee discount and that will be sure to save you money.
  • Sharing is caring: You’re not going to be the only person going to the conference, and chances are, you won’t be the only person from your area or that you know that will be attending. You can save money by sharing the cost with another attendee. Share a cab or share a room, and you can split the costs.
  • Procrastinate: As awful as it sounds, and kind of risky, you can get a lot of deals by waiting until the “last minute” to book your accommodations. While I don’t recommend this for the conference pass itself, because those can sell out, you can get deals on your flight and hotel by waiting at the last minute. I predicted that Expedia would send me an e-mail for last minute flights to Chicago, and I was right! I got a great deal, too.
  • Be frugal minded: When some people travel, they end up coming home with more things that they left with because of shopping. Try to keepĀ souvenirsĀ at a minimum, and opt for taking pictures and maybe blogging about your experience. Don’t blow your budget on trinkets.
My flight leaves this afternoon and I’m so excited. I actually just booked my room this morning, but I was one of the first people to buy my conference pass. The conference is still a splurge, but an amazing networking opportunity.