8-6 MONTHS OUT
Plan Your Costume Lineup
Down to the last detail, and a little more; it’s hard to get a budget together unless you know how much you’ll be spending on your costumes. This also gives you time to work on (and finish) all of your costumes before the night of the convention. Go to the fabric store and write down prices on all the materials you want to use, including patterns, notions, and fabrics. Find the prices on your accessories and shoes. Add it all together and add padding for mess-ups, tax, and other incidentals.
Reserve Your Hotel Room
Get on that convention website and find the date that room reservations open. On that day, reserve your room. You can always cancel it later, but you can’t get a room once the block is sold out. You have half a year (or more) to find the appropriate roommates, and one month less than that to cancel. This would also be a good time to register for the convention, if you have not done so already.
Set Up An Alert for Your Plane Tickets
If you are going to an out-of-state convention, there’s this pretty awesome website called Kayak.com that lets you search airfare for flights on the exact dates you want to fly, and sends you weekly (or daily, or whatever) e-mail updates telling you how much the price of tickets has gone up or down. It’s a beautiful thing that can save you a lot of money. Just remember that your first two bags will cost an additional $20 each on most airlines if you don’t get a certain kind of ticket.
Budget, Budget, Budget
Here’s a sample spreadsheet for you to use in your budgeting adventures. If you know how much money you need, you won’t end up short late in the game- And if you over-budget, you’ll have more money for the dealer room or whatever else you want to blow money on. You can play with this sheet however you want, add or take away whatever you need, and break it down- Just keep track of everything you put in and how much you earn to keep yourself from ending up deeply in debt for a weekend of fun.
And last, but not least:
Start that healthy diet and workout regimen you’ve always told yourself you would start! Every bit helps, and starting to build those good habits now is the best thing you can do for yourself.