Tuesday, June 2, 2015

"Change" Your Convention Attendance: An Experiment

As the convention season gets well underway, I start hearing the same complaints and moaning that I hear every year. "Woe is me. I'm so broke. You gotta be 'Moneybags Von Richeyrich' to afford to go to a game con." To these Murderhoboes-Without-Funds, I'm offering you these words of advice:

Check your pockets.
Those loose coins are instrumental in getting you there.

I sure I'm not alone when it comes to saving my loose change in a change jar at home. But how many of you have any purpose for those coins? My college roommate used to drop all of his spare change into a big ol' jug every night. At the end of the year, that change jar paid his share of the rent for that month. And the money he saved by doing that would buy him a night's debauchery at the campus bars. So I started to save my change in a similar manner.

For years, I've dropped every penny, every nickle, every dime, quarter, and silver dollar into my change jar. I never spend change. I always break a dollar with every purchase, just to build up that extra change. (It drives my wife nuts -- she always pays with exact change.) I'll even stoop to pick up pennies found in the parking lot. I'm not picky at all. It all goes into the change jug. Then, once a year, I'll change it out, and I'm always pleasantly surprised by how much has built up.  It's like "found money" in my mind, since I really don't miss the coins I toss into the jug. So what do I do with all these coins? Ah...

For years, I've used my yearly accumulated coinage to somehow fund part of a vacation that year. One year, my spare change bought me a round trip plane ticket to Vegas and back. Another year, I used my accumulated spare change for all of my Gen Con Dealer's Room purchases. My spare change has been earmarked for hotel rooms, admission fees, and extra-special purchases costing far more than I'd normally pay.

It's ironic, but I've made "2,000 copper pieces" work for me!

I hope some of my cheerleading for spare change hoarding gets some of you "Always-Brokes" thinking about starting your own change jar. Dump your forgotten coins into it, let it grow, don't raid it for beer and cigars, and in a year, you'll have enough to help fund that convention sojourn you've always wanted to take.

Now about that "experiment" I mentioned in this post's title. I'm planning on putting my money where my mouth is. That pile of coins you see in the photo above is part of this year's coin fund. I've been saving up since last October. (My Con on the Cob attendance was partially funded last year by The Coins.) So that's roughly 7 1/2 months of coinage accumulated. This Saturday, I'm going to make a day trip to Origins Game Fair in Columbus. And that entire day will be solely funded by the contents of my coin jug. (Cashed out into bills, of course. I don't want to pay the vendors with rolled pennies...) To avoid temptation, I'll leave any additional cash at home, as well as my credit cards. Gas there and back, parking fees, badge registration, game tickets, vendor purchases, food, etc. Everything will be funded by my accumulated spare change that day. (I'll provide the financial breakdown once the day has ended.)

So that's the challenge. This weekend, I'll live-blog from Origins as I usually do from game cons. (Although, since it's a day trip, I'll blog about it upon my return home.) And if I can afford to attend a game convention for one day with nothing more than the coins in my pockets and the change between the couch cushions, I hope it might inspire some of you "Always-Brokes" to save up for one year so you can do the same.


  1. Interesting idea! Looking forward to how this works out.
    Safe travels!

  2. Don't forget the auction at Origins is on saturday from 10am to 6pm. Some good deals if you're lucky.

    1. Yup, the auction's on my radar. For a one-day, I plan to cram in as much as I can for the "full con experience." And I always gotta hit up an auction for a bit!