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DC on a Budget

Offline Pirate Mel

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DC on a Budget
« on: August 13, 2014, 08:10:52 AM »
Yes, it's the dreaded *B* word LOL  8) I'm sure most of you have heard us mention at least once in the past month or so, that the twin and I are on a tight budget this year, soooo... we are hoping we can get some advice & tips from you DC regulars (considering we haven't gone to DC since 2006) about how to keep the costs down - especially, as it relates to buying food.

Obviously, we can do the big things (like not visiting Hard Rock Cafe, for one). But, have any of you ever had to limit your spending while there and have you discovered any easy ways to do so? Also, what should we reasonably budget for food each day if we plan to eat on the cheap (2 people)? The answer to that one probably varies a bit, but open to any thoughts and/or suggestions. Thanks all!
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Offline KPK

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Re: DC on a Budget
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2014, 08:22:44 AM »
I'm not a dc regular - however in the past I've always found I try to keep meal ingredients in the room - and not eat out as the number one way to save money. For example sandwich materials. If you'd like - I'll have a small fridge in my room and you could keep some stuff in there if you wanted.

Offline Trathor

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Re: DC on a Budget
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2014, 08:27:08 AM »
Pirate Mel, have you seen the 36,000+ view post on 'how much will it cost me to go to dragon con'?:
http://dragonconforums.org/f-a-q-and-newbie-area/faq-how-much-will-it-cost-me-(dollars)-to-go-to-dragon*con-20xx/

I estimate you can do it for $450 with modest tightening of the belt. 

EDIT:  I just tweaked that post... now $463.33. 

Now you guys are sharing a room between two of you for 4 nights right?  On my spreadsheet estimator, I put that at roughly $493.74 just for the room.  (Keep in mind this is also not factoring in anything with tips, that is obviously at your discretion.) 

Specific to your question on food, you could get that cost down even more... but it depends how much you are willing to bring more grocery store food/ eat beans and rice all weekend. 

Note also, not in the high traffic areas, but I have had experiences, especially near gaming/ etc, where the hallway food vendors are shutting down, and are willing to give/ sell at a reduced price, the food they are getting ready to throw away.  (It will have been a long day.)  I would not bank on this, like I would not bank on consuite food, but it can be a nice buffer. 

There is always raman noodles too! 
« Last Edit: August 19, 2014, 11:46:44 PM by Trathor »
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Offline Pirate Mel

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Re: DC on a Budget
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2014, 09:10:29 AM »
I'm not a dc regular - however in the past I've always found I try to keep meal ingredients in the room - and not eat out as the number one way to save money. For example sandwich materials. If you'd like - I'll have a small fridge in my room and you could keep some stuff in there if you wanted.

That's awesome KPK - thanks for the offer! +1 ;) We'll definitely let you know!

Pirate Mel, have you seen the 36,000+ view post on 'how much will it cost me to go to dragon con'?:
http://dragonconforums.org/f-a-q-and-newbie-area/faq-how-much-will-it-cost-me-(dollars)-to-go-to-dragon*con-20xx/

I estimate you can do it for $450 with modest tightening of the belt. 

EDIT:  I just tweaked that post... now $463.33. 

Now you guys are sharing a room between two of you for 4 nights right?  On my spreadsheet estimator, I put that at roughly $493.74 just for the room.  (Keep in mind this is also not factoring in anything with tips, that is obviously at your discretion.) 

Specific to your question on food, you could get that cost down even more... but it depends how much you are willing to bring more grocery store food/ eat beans and rice all weekend. 

Note also, not in the high traffic areas, but I have had experiences, especially near gaming/ etc, where the hallway food vendors are shutting down, and are willing to give/ sell at a reduced price, the food they are getting ready to throw away.  (It will have been a long day.)  I would not bank on this, like I would not bank on consuite food, but it can be a nice buffer. 

There is always raman noodles too! 

Eeep! Sorry Trathor - totally forgot about that post as I haven't read through it since last fall - should've used the search function first!  :-[ Regardless, thanks for answering me anyways! We've already got the room covered, thankfully, and got a great deal at $357.16 total for the full 4 nights!  8) Thanks for the tip on the hallway food vendors and the consuite as well - certainly won't plan for either of those, but they're a nice option if available! Will go back and read through that post again to get all the details - feel free to close this thread if you like!
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Offline Confused Mortal

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Re: DC on a Budget
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2014, 09:20:59 AM »
You might want to check the Groupons, Livingsocials and Restaurant.com type sites out there too to save $$ on food.

For example I found this which is a block behind and over from the Sheraton.  With a discount code of 'ENJOY' entered at check out it brings the cost of a $25 certificate cost to $5 or $15 certificate down to $3.
http://www.restaurant.com/zeppoles-restaurant-atlanta-pid=217848
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Online Charismaryllis

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Re: DC on a Budget
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2014, 09:33:03 AM »
there is also a big grocery store less than a mile away:

 595 Piedmont Ave NE
Atlanta, GA 30308-2478
Main: (404) 881-1750
Fax: (404) 881-6711


http://store.publix.com/publix/cgi/selection?mapid=US&lang=en&design=default&region_name=&region=&place=30309&x=32&y=6&mapx=&mapy=

in the past i've gone over there on Thursday and stocked up on basics for the room.  it will be much cheaper than the CVS in the food court or the local convenience stores.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2014, 09:34:43 AM by Charismaryllis »
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Offline Pirate Mel

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Re: DC on a Budget
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2014, 09:50:25 AM »
You might want to check the Groupons, Livingsocials and Restaurant.com type sites out there too to save $$ on food.

Thanks!! totally forgot about looking into those - just signed up for a bunch of emails  ;)

there is also a big grocery store less than a mile away... in the past i've gone over there on Thursday and stocked up on basics for the room.  it will be much cheaper than the CVS in the food court or the local convenience stores.

Great tip, thanks! But, as we will be down by the airport and taking the MARTA in everyday (rather than our car) that one likely won't work. We did see that there is a small Wayfield food store about 3 miles from our hotel or we could drive to the Kroger/Walmart shopping area about 4 miles away. Definitely will need to see about stocking up on some non-perishables... and maybe getting a cooler for some other items! ;)

+1's all around!!!
« Last Edit: August 13, 2014, 09:55:46 AM by Pirate Mel »
"May your anchor be tight, your cork be loose, your Rum be spiced and your compass be true." - unknown

Dragon*Con 2005 - 2006 - 2014 - *(2016)

Re: DC on a Budget
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2014, 09:51:44 AM »
You might want to check the Groupons, Livingsocials and Restaurant.com type sites out there too to save $$ on food.

For example I found this which is a block behind and over from the Sheraton.  With a discount code of 'ENJOY' entered at check out it brings the cost of a $25 certificate cost to $5 or $15 certificate down to $3.
http://www.restaurant.com/zeppoles-restaurant-atlanta-pid=217848

This is the best advice so far. Nice find. We should make a thread just for deals like this.

Online Charismaryllis

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Re: DC on a Budget
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2014, 10:07:58 AM »
Quote
But, as we will be down by the airport and taking the MARTA in everyday (rather than our car) that one likely won't work. We did see that there is a small Wayfield food store about 3 miles from our hotel or we could drive to the Kroger/Walmart shopping area about 4 miles away.

ah, i see.  but it's good to have a car; expands your options. one year i drove over and hit the organic food store in little five points.
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Offline Confused Mortal

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Re: DC on a Budget
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2014, 10:16:23 AM »
Quote
But, as we will be down by the airport and taking the MARTA in everyday (rather than our car) that one likely won't work. We did see that there is a small Wayfield food store about 3 miles from our hotel or we could drive to the Kroger/Walmart shopping area about 4 miles away.

ah, i see.  but it's good to have a car; expands your options. one year i drove over and hit the organic food store in little five points.

..and if you have a car, those deal sites for restaurants may be way more applicable to you.  That's awesome!

Dealchicken is also applicable to Atlanta
https://www.dealchicken.com/atlanta-ga#&&DealSet=6
« Last Edit: August 13, 2014, 10:30:05 AM by Confused Mortal »
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Re: DC on a Budget
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2014, 10:47:13 AM »
Quote
But, as we will be down by the airport and taking the MARTA in everyday (rather than our car) that one likely won't work. We did see that there is a small Wayfield food store about 3 miles from our hotel or we could drive to the Kroger/Walmart shopping area about 4 miles away.

ah, i see.  but it's good to have a car; expands your options. one year i drove over and hit the organic food store in little five points.

..and if you have a car, those deal sites for restaurants may be way more applicable to you.  That's awesome!

Dealchicken is also applicable to Atlanta
https://www.dealchicken.com/atlanta-ga#&&DealSet=6

To add to this, Scoutmob (on the play store or itunes store) is great for the area.

Offline Tigger

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Re: DC on a Budget
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2014, 11:05:35 AM »
eat at the food cort in peach tree, I tend to eat a lot of sub way as I get a foot long and eat it for 2 meals. Hit the free con room that is on the second floor in the hyyat. Not allways the best food but you can get drinks and such when you get tired of water.  If you are flying in take the marta train not a cab or shuttle bus. keep the reloadable card for next year if you do not already have one. 

Offline havocer3368

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Re: DC on a Budget
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2014, 11:46:10 AM »
Pirate Mel, have you seen the 36,000+ view post on 'how much will it cost me to go to dragon con'?:
http://dragonconforums.org/f-a-q-and-newbie-area/faq-how-much-will-it-cost-me-(dollars)-to-go-to-dragon*con-20xx/

I estimate you can do it for $450 with modest tightening of the belt. 

EDIT:  I just tweaked that post... now $463.33. 

Now you guys are sharing a room between two of you for 4 nights right?  On my spreadsheet estimator, I put that at roughly $493.74 just for the room.  (Keep in mind this is also not factoring in anything with tips, that is obviously at your discretion.) 

Specific to your question on food, you could get that cost down even more... but it depends how much you are willing to bring more grocery store food/ eat beans and rice all weekend. 

Note also, not in the high traffic areas, but I have had experiences, especially near gaming/ etc, where the hallway food vendors are shutting down, and are willing to give/ sell at a reduced price, the food they are getting ready to throw away.  (It will have been a long day.)  I would not bank on this, like I would not bank on consuite food, but it can be a nice buffer. 

There is always raman noodles too!

I agree with Trathor and what he said.

Also, if you are driving, I would hit a grocery store right before he get into Atlanta. It seems the prices are higher in Atlanta. Also, I would definitely buy your alcohol before you get to Atlanta.

Also, if you are driving, I would try to search online for parking at one of the parking lots. I know the hotels will charge more for parking.

Offline entreri

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Re: DC on a Budget
« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2014, 01:01:50 PM »
you can buy some healthy bars to keep with you as snacks until you can get back to your room for groceries or whatever.

 Food court is your best option for cheap meals but the options for healthy cheap is going to be somewhat limited. There is a big crowd at the food court and seating can be impossible to find sometimes. Even as a backup plan nothing is really a good last minute backup plan as everything takes some coordination if you have to be at a panel. For example the main costume contests usually start lining up around 3:30pm-4:00pm for a 7:30-8:00pm event(I'm not exaggerating at all) so be prepared to have a friend bring you food or something if you are doing that. If you don't line up at 3:30pm-4:00pm and decide 5-6pm is good enough you'll be standing outside the hyatt hopefully in the shade and any later than that you are talking about wrapped around the block. The idea that you can wait in line for something like that and then good food later is not a good one as the food court closes around 10-11pm or so there might be a couple places still open but they shutdown the entryway from the hotel at some point after that. Then you are at the mercy of the hotdog/hamburger vendors and the pizza @ the marriot. Also there is a mini-type market in the Marriot next to Starbucks that has some convenience store style sandwiches,etc.



Re: DC on a Budget
« Reply #14 on: August 13, 2014, 01:05:49 PM »
If you need general supplies while you're at con I'd suggest going to the new CVS in the food court area.

Unlike some of the other local merchants they didn't jack up their prices and they had items at regular cost so it was a great place to grab a water, snack, toothpaste, etc. at a very good price.


Good luck,

Kevin
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