Investing in yourself: BlogHer, FinCon12, and CPFC12

by Marissa on July 16, 2012 · 40 comments

I love conferences. I go to as many as I can, but most of mine are work related. I go start-up ones because I’m really interested in that sector and feel that there are great things happening in smaller clusters that most can’t see. I have never, however, been to a blogging conference before. This may be because I just started blogging last year, or because I don’t use my real name and it gets awkward.

I made a decision at the end of last year to attend at least 2 blogging conferences and hone my skills. Even though I write everyday (here, along with my company blog, and my personal one) I don’t consider myself a blogger. I considering this a hobby; a hobby that allows me to talk about things I like without worrying about the competitive aspects of doing this for a living. And while I don’t think I can make a go of this as a career, I do want make sure I am good at what I do, and meet the people behind the blogs that I read everyday.

Because I travel for work so much, getting on a plane and heading to a event venue isn’t a foreign concept to me. What is a rather different is having to pay for it all. All of my work travel is paid for by, well, work. I never really have to think about flight deals for work or hotels, or budgets. The account coordinators book them, and send me on my merry way.

The blogging conferences are coming out of my own pocket, and while one of them is in my backyard, I still have to set a budget and make sure I stay within it.  This is a pf blog after all.


Conference Ticket: $200 Early bird

Flight: I live in Canada but I always try to fly out of Buffalo. The flights are cheaper and normally lack any lay-overs that appear when flying out of Toronto. The total cost of my flight was $157 taxes in. That is cheaper than getting a rental car and paying for gas. Its only an hour flight.

Hotel: This is where I am torn. I have budgeted $500 for the hotel costs and am genuinely debating using AirBnb or One Fine Stay  instead. I normally stay at a chain hotel, but the costs add for 4 days in Manhattan. I am also open to getting a roommate, but I may have a friend coming to visit during that weekend and I don’t want to make it a crowd in the room.

Spending money: I mean food, transportation, and well, fun money. I rarely go to NYC for fun anymore and I can think of a million places to go and visit.  $300 (hoping that I won’t need that, but its nice to have).

Total: $1157



Conference Ticket :$100

Flight: Buffalo to Denver $316. Did you see that fellow PF bloggers? $316! So lets not make any excuses and get on that airplane so we can meet up in Denver.

Hotel: Sharing a room with the lovely S, from American Debt Project. Under $300

Spending money: I’ve been told that everything is pretty much covered so $100 should do.

I am beyond excited to FinCon12. Most of my blogging friends are going and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone in real life.

Total: $816



Conference Ticket : $50

Flight: $0

Hotel: My own bed. I live 40 mins away.

Spending money: $200. Its really easy to spend money in Toronto. Plus I promised a few friends from out west to show them around the city.

Total : $250


What I would love to do is team-up with brands and develop a mutually beneficial sponsorship package for any of the events above. So if you’re interested in sponsoring me, get in touch!


  • Michelle

    I’m also excited about fincon! I have to refrain from buying new clothes…something I’ve almost always done before a trip in the past. Idk why…I always feel like I should have an entirely new wardrobe to go

    • Marissa

      I’m the other way. I was feel like a need something from the place I visited.

  • Lance@MoneyLife&More

    I really wanted to go to fin con but the first week of each month is basically a no time off of work week for me. Hopefully next year it is mid or late month so I can go…

    • Marissa

      I hear that its worth going if you’re sure that you really want to go.

  • Andy Hough

    I’ll be going to FinCon. That will probably be enough conferences for me.

    • Marissa

      It adds up quickly, eh?

  • Modest Money

    As much as I would like to go to FinCon this year, I just don’t think I can afford it. So I’ll be waiting for next year. I figure by then there will be so many more people I’ll want to meet anyway. The Toronto conference doesn’t appeal to me much since it would be pretty close to the same price as FinCon for me since I’m in Vancouver.

    • Marissa

      Oh yeah. I’m not sure why they have both so close together in timelines.

  • Robert @ The College Investor

    I really want to go to FinCon, but I don’t think my work schedule is going to let me this year (and I missed last year too). Oh well…

    I tried reaching out to several brands myself, and they are a little weary of sponsoring bloggers. You might want to check out this resource:

    Good luck!

    • Marissa

      Thanks Robert! I’ll look into it.

  • Kathleen @ Frugal Portland

    I’m really tempted to go to the one in Denver, but I’m nervous! I have never paid for a conference out of pocket.

    • Marissa

      Do it! You know you want to. Plus it would be fun to meet you!

  • My Money Design

    I’ve always read about these but never actually considered going to one. I guess I always thought the price would be ridiculous. I’m probably missing out judging by how excited you seem about this.

    • Marissa

      So excited!

  • Jason @ WorkSaveLive

    That would be AWESOME if this post nets you a sponsorship to pay for one of the trips. I’d love to go to FinCon but I’m not sure I’ll be able to make it. I imagine it will be extremely beneficial though and a great opportunity to meet some of the advertisers.

    • Marissa

      I’ve great things about BlogHer and Fincon12

  • Michelle

    I’m very jealous of all of this! I wish I was able to go. Hopefully next year.

    • Marissa

      What? You’re not going? Im sad now.

      • Michelle

        Ahh no I’m not. I wish I was! I’m just taking too many other work trips and vacations right around fincon and I would feel bad.

  • Kurt @ Money Counselor

    No doubt you’ll get a lot out of these conferences. I think the networking with fellow bloggers alone will be worth the cost. And who knows what opportunities might be opened up for you. One of the hazards of blogging is working alone and sometimes in a bit of a vacuum, so I think networking when possible is especially important.

    • Marissa

      I completely agree. I can’t imagine how ppl do this for a living. It can be very isolating.

  • Jordann @ My Alternate Life

    I think if you’re serious about blogging, attending these conferences can only do you good. I’d be interested to hear your report back on how the conferences are/any increases in revenues as a result of what you’ve learned. have fun!

    • Marissa

      Will do a follow-up post for each.

  • Shannyn

    I love that you’re looking for sponsorship- it’s really a huge help to have blogging income or direct sponsors to pay for this kind of development. If there are any brands you like or think would have a vested interested in your blog or appearing via you at a conference, it also helps to reach out to them directly in my experience…they don’t always like to reach out as it offends some bloggers or they don’t know who to reach out to. Love this post!

    • Marissa

      Great points. I reached out to a few, and will continue to do. 2.5k is a lot come up with.

  • Mo’ Money Mo’ Houses

    I’m definitely interested in hitting up some blogging conferences maybe sometime next year as I’m still a relatively new blogger, but I think I might try to one in Toronto first.

    • Marissa

      Are you coming to the Toronto one this year?

  • Steve @ Grocery Alerts

    We went to Blogher Food and it rocked but we drove and did a house swap.

    I am going to CPF 2012 and I am excited at being able to present.

    • Marissa

      I saw you on the list. Excited to see you speak!

  • Crystal

    I thought a lot about these conferences after hearing so much about them recently. I would love to go, but I don’t know if I’m personal finance-y enough. I’m sure I would learn stuff and enjoy the conference though. Does it matter if you are new and only slightly blog about pf? Is the conference centered around personal finance information or more about blogging?

    • Marissa

      Blogher is a mix of everything so I’m sure you’ll learn a lot. Fincon12 is pf-y but they talk about the business of blogging. You should come out if you can.

  • Philip Taylor

    Marissa, I’m honored and humbled you are choosing FinCon12 as one of your conferences for 2012. I’m glad you were able to find a reasonable ticket and do the room share to keep your costs low. Looking forward to meeting you in Denver.

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  • Peter

    I think I’ll be attending FINCON this year, last year was such a fun time. Not only was the conference amazing for meeting other bloggers and financial nerds, but it led to thousands of dollars in advertising dollars/etc for my site. Definitely worth the small investment. I think last year I spent about $600 total to go to FINCON, not too bad of an investment!

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  • Sam

    Great to meet up in Denver Marissa!

    Very neat you got to just drive to CPC. I wish all the conferences were in lovely SF, the home of everything we do online!


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