Conference Expenses: It’s a Math Problem
I cash flow all purchases, even major expenses like a new dishwasher, family vacation, or landscaping project. I recommend the same. I have yet to attend a professional conference that would be worth getting into credit card debt to be paid off with 18% interest.
To cash flow your next conference attendance:
1. Project costs liberally. Add up the conference registration, airfare or gas, parking, ground transport, hotel, meals, social events, and any other purchases.
2. Count the days until purchasing. Expenses come due at various points before and during the conference. For example, airfare and conference registration are paid in full at the time of booking. Meals and beverages are paid for at the time of consumption. Hotel is probably split with a deposit at the time of booking and completion of payment at the time of check-out.
3. Start saving and/or increase your income. EMS World Expo is the last week of August, but you will want to register by August 5 for a reduced price. If you are flying I would suggest booking a flight in June or July. So by July 1 you will need to have about $750 ($400 for the flight and $365 for the conference registration). July 1 is a little more than three full months away. You need to save $250 per month to cover the flight and registration. Saving tips – pack a lunch, don’t go out for drinks, stop going to the movies, ride your bike to work, cancel cable TV, go to the library, etc. Increase your income – pick up extra shifts, look for temporary positions, sell some belongings on Craig’s List. Note: project increased income and saving conservatively.
4. Stick to your budget. At any conference there are lots of opportunities to spend more than you expected. Remember your budget. Only come home with CEs, new professional connections, and enthusiasm for the EMS profession.
5. Set your next purchasing goal. If you successfully projected expenses liberally and revenue conservatively you either spent exactly what you saved to purchase or you came out with money still in your pocket. Use any surplus for your next purchasing goal.
Part 1: Conference Expenses: Tips to Reduce the Cost Published March 29
Part 3: Conferences Expenses: Become a Presenter Scheduled April 11