Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Extreme Couponing: Saving $$$ For A Convention

About two blog posts ago I wrote a post about how to save money for a convention.  While my reason may have been pretty decent, some con-goers may still think that $400 + is waaaay too much to spend to go to a convention.  That's ok.  That's why I have this method too.

1.  Get a boyfriend.
Keep in mind that this usually works only for girls, but can sometimes work for boys.  Whine and complain and do a pity party about how you won't have enough money for a ticket.  Then say how cheap they are and bash yourself for not saving enough for 1 measly little ticket.  Your boyfriend will feel sorry for you and buy your ticket for you.  That's about $45.00 off right away.

2.  Search the convention's forum's for rides.
Most conventions have a forum to post requests to get rides from someone in your area.  Most con-goers wouldn't mind picking you up as long as you pay them a little gas money. 

3.  Search the convention's forum for hotels.
Like I said in the step above, they do have forums where you can find someone in the area who has a hotel room they can share with you.  While some people wouldn't like it if they shared a room with a complete stranger, a lot of people would have no problem with it.  Keep in mind, though, you may have to sleep on the floor.

4.  Sleep in your car.
If you're driving to a convention, forget the hotel and sleep in your car.  Find a good vacant area like a hotel room parking lot and snooze away in the car until daybreak.  Guess what?  It's free!  Just be sure to pack pillows, blankets, or sheets so you're comfortable.

5.  Don't wear a costume.
I know, I know, it takes away from the experience, but if you want to save money, try spending $0 on the costume.  If you still want to cosplay, then you should............

6.  Cosplay as L from Death Note.
You're going to get made fun of, and there will be a million other cosplayers walking around just like you.  Mess your hair up, slab on some eyeshadow, through on your favorite jeans, and plain white shirt.  Now you're ready to cosplay for free!  If anything, the only thing you'll need to invest on is black hair dye.

7.  Skip out on the Dealer's Room.
It's going to suck, but if you are tight on money, then don't even go near the Dealer's Room.  If you step one foot in there, punish yourself.  You will be tempted to steal or panhandle and that's NOT a good thing.

8.  Bring your own food.  
Scrounge up the rest of your chips and cookies and take them with you.  This will save you some money on going to restaurants.

So let's tally up the total cost of what it would have cost if you had the money.  I'll just use the total from 2 posts ago.


Now let's subtract, the costume, wig, registration, hotel, and half of the gas money.  With all of that subtracted, the grand total for a convention would be.......................... $20.

Can you afford $20?

If you can't, then do the ultimate saving money technique.

9.  Don't go to a convention.
Just wait until your finances are a bit in order to even think about a convention.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Asian Drama Film Review 2 - NANA

I literally just finished this movie only 10 minutes ago, but I fell so absolutely in love with it, I had to write a review!  Recently, I was on Netflix searching for a new anime and Nana came up.  I watched about 3 episodes before I decided that I really loved the anime and I was ready to continue watching it.  I knew there was a live action film based on the anime, so I went looking for it on YouTube and found it.  I am glad I did!  So after watching such a great film, I'm here to review the wonderful story of Nana.

Two girls randomly meet each other on a train to Tokyo.  They are startled to find that they are both 20 years old and they share the same name: Nana.  Because of the snow delay, the two girls have a good time talking to each other, despite their personalities being complete opposites.  As the two part from the train and they go in search for their own apartments, they are thrilled to find that they choose the same apartment, making them room mates.  As the two live together, their lives change dramatically.


Nana Komatsu
Nana K. is a sweet girl, but is very needy and comes off as immature.  She plans to come to Tokyo to study art, but her real reason for coming to Tokyo is to follow her friends and her boyfriend, Shouji, all of which moved to Tokyo almost a year before.  She hopes to move in with Shouji, but he tells her that she has to get her own place and find a job to stay in Tokyo, which she does fairly quickly and becomes roommates with Nana Osaki.


Nana Osaki
Nana O. is a singer in a band who was quite popular in her home town.  She moves to Tokyo with her band in hopes to make it big in the music industry.  She comes off as someone hard and cold, but you soon realize that she is very kind and a devoted friend.  She used to date a the bassist in her band named Ren up until he switched bands and moved to Tokyo and becomes famous.  Though it seems she is only in Tokyo to make it big, it becomes clear in the back of her mind, she wants to see Ren again.

 As the movie begins, everything seems happy and hopeful and cheerful, and this mood pretty much maintains itself the entire movie.  Both Nanas meet and seem to get along.  They become closer when they move in with each other.

Sadly, Nana K., lovesick and heart-eyed for her boyfriend Shouji, begins to go crazy to be close with him again.  But it's very apparent that Shouji doesn't like her as much as Nana K. thinks he does.  This also becomes very obvious when he starts openly getting close to another girl at the restaurant he works at: Sachiko.  He begins hanging out with Nana K. less and less, and though she seems to think it's strange, she still believe there is nothing wrong.

Nana O. struggles to get into the music business while battling with her past memories of her ex, Ren, who left Nana O.'s band to become famous with another band: Trapnet.  While she seems to do fine, it becomes increasingly hard when she realizes that Nana K. is a Trapnet fan and buys the two of them tickets.

As the movie progresses, you notice both Nana's friendship with each other grow almost to a relationship.  I was a bit confused by the two of them, because there are a lot of hints that maybe the two girls are in love, but this is never confirmed in the movie.  As their friendship grows, their other relationships shrink, changing their lives.

This movie brought up a lot of emotions out of me.  While the majority of the movie made me laugh and smile, there were a few intense parts that made me cry.  It's an excellent movie on true friendship, not a film you see much of these days.  The acting was very believable on both parts and the personalities are a lot more realistic than some live action films.  I would definitely recommend anyone who wants a light-hearted film to watch this movie.  Watch it with your best friend.  It's definitely a chick flick!  But it has some room for guys to like it too. 


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Easy Ways To Save $$ Money $$ For A Convention

So we've all been in a situation where you go to a convention and you're not in a costume, you can't go to any good panels because they cost money, you can't afford even the Pocky sticks in the Dealer's Room, and your bugging your con-buddies for a meal.  It happens to the best of us.  In my case, it's happened twice.  And it sucks.

So a lot of newcomers to cons always ask me how I save up enough money to go to conventions.  Because if you think about it, going to conventions is a completely expensive hobby.  You have to think about registration tickets, hotel rooms, transportation, food, and that's only the MUST-HAVE to go to a convention.  Then there's buying stuff at the Dealer's Room, buying or making a costume, and spending money to go to the extra epic panels.  Doing this multiple times a year can really add up.  So how do I do it?  Go to 4-7 cons a year?  Careful planning.  And I'll show you some easy ways to save up some money in 0 easy steps.

1.  Create a budget.
Now, this is when you actually sit down and completely plan out your entire convention experience.  Keep in mine that the only way this step is effective is if you plan your convention AT LEAST 3-6 months before the actual convention.  Ask yourself questions like: will you be getting a hotel room?  Approximately, how much gas money would you need?  Do you want to cosplay?  How much do you want to spend in the Dealer's Room or Art Gallery?  Do you want to eat fast food or restaurant quality food?  Think hard on all the questions that would have to do with money on your trip.  And now estimate how much that's going to cost.  A nice tip for estimating, try estiamting to the higher number.  Meaning, if a hotel room is usually $70-100 dollars a night, just assume automatically it's $100.  That way no matter what you decide to get, you'll know you have enough.  Even if you get it cheaper, that's more money for the Dealer's Room to spend!

Add up all these expenses.  I'll give you an example of what my budget looks like for Feburary 2012's MangaNEXT convention:

$50 - Hotel
20  - Gas
40  - Food
120- Costume
40  - Wig
45 - Registration
+200- Dealer's Room/Art Gallery
$475.00  -  Total Cost

2.  Arrange For A Group Payment
Another terrific way to keep the costs down for everyone is to get a group payment going.  Chances are, you're not going to a convention by yourself, but in a group.  Set aside a day to talk with your con-group and discuss how much of a cost this will take to go to your convention.  Try to get everyone to decide on how everyone can contribute to the cost of a hotel, gas, and food.  If there are four people in your group, agree to have everything split in quarters.  And so on with however many people are in your group.  This will help everyone in paying less and being able to start up their own savings for the convention

3.  Research low prices ahead of time.
Seriously, don't wait for the last minute to get a hotel room or rental car.  This is a bad mistake that a lot of people make.  If you are getting a hotel room, start making reservations 2-3 months before the convention date.  This tip is good because it's cheaper, for one.  And for two, you may find yourself two cities away from your convention if you do otherwise.  Play it safe, and reserve your hotel as soon as you get enough money.

4.  Save each week.
Take out your calendars and start counting the weeks before you go to your convention.  On the same day you create you budget, start with that week and count all the weeks before the con date.  Let's just say you made your budget the same day I did and your going to the same convention I'm going to.  That means your have 33 weeks until the convention.  That's a lot of time!  And this is a good thing.  Now, divide 33 into your total convention cost.  In my case, it would be about 15.  That's how much you need to save per week, $15 dollars.  A lot of people are thinking, well, $15....I can do that a week.  That's why you need to plan early.  The earlier you start planning, the less you have to save up each week.

5.  Start a quarter jar.
This is one of easiest and most effective way to save.  Obviously, you have to purchase something once in a while.  After each purchase, save your coins.  Honestly, save them.  Don't keep them in your wallet or purse every day for a future purchase, just empty them all out at the end of each day.  Search your pockets, do regular checks in the sofas, and search your laundry for any coins.  The best ones to save are, obviously, the silver ones, especially quarter.  If you fill an entire regular-sized coffee can with only quarters, you can have $428.75 when you cash it in.  That almost covers the entire convention cost!  Get into the habit of always saving your quarters.  It will "pay" off when the time comes.

Good luck and happy saving.  Look out for the "Dummies Guide To Saving $$$ For A Convention", coming soon, a post that can lower the cost of your convention by up to 80%, no lie!  Stay tuned!  =]