We’re going to do something a bit different with this article and talk about a foundational principle of managing currency that is very important to the deep understanding of going to dance congresses frugally.
That principle is that there are three different currencies you have to deal with when planning to attend a dance congress as frugally as possible.
Some of you play mobile phone games and have encountered games where there are two or more different currencies. You may have coins to pay for some things, gems to pay for other things, and maybe a third or fourth currency in the case of some games.
There are parallels to real life with this – when planning for a dance congress or any other type of trip, you deal with three different currencies in real life.
The first currency is money. This is the obvious one. Dollars, pounds, pesos, rupees – whatever the currency is where you are in the world at the time. Your pass, hotel room, food, plane ticket, all of that is paid for with money. Money is the first and foremost of the three currencies of the #FrugalCongressLife.
But there is a second, less obvious currency you have to deal with: time.
How is time a currency, you ask? Simply put, many of the ways you save money at congresses have you spending extra time.
Let’s say you stay offsite from the event hotel at a cheaper motel or AirBNB 15 minutes away from the event, which to be clear is something we do not recommend doing for a variety of reasons, but that some people do regardless. You may be saving money by staying offsite but for at least a sizable chunk of the money you are saving by doing this, you are spending time instead.
We’ll assume that each day of the event, you travel from your offsite location to the event for workshops, back to your offsite location to shower up for the party, then back to the event for the party, then back to your offsite location to sleep after you finish dancing. That’s two hours you have spent on commuting that you could have spent napping, taking workshops, eating a nice meal, socializing, or doing any number of other things if you had stayed at the event hotel and just had a 30 second walk from your room to the event. What money you saved is offset at least somewhat by time spent.
This is true for many other money saving strategies as well.
If you take public transportation somewhere instead of an UBER, you have saved money, but spent time, as public transportation takes anywhere from two to four times as long as an UBER ride on average.
Same thing with buying groceries instead of eating out – you save money, but spend time. If you go super frugal and make your own food at the congress, you spend even more time.
About the only money-saving strategy that doesn’t also have you spending time is buying your pass early, which is frankly a no-brainer for congresses you know that you will be attending.
Thinking of time as a currency puts a lot in perspective.
But there is still a third currency one deals with in dance congress planning and budgeting: stress.
Stress is a more abstract currency, but it could be classified as a form of currency, because it takes away from your enjoyment of the event and the absence of it adds to your enjoyment of the event. Furthermore, if you have to deal after the event with a stressful caused by a money saving decision made at the event, you have still paid in stress, but it was a deferred payment.
Let’s say the budget motel you stay in is a block away from the event hotel, but your room has a bedbug infestation and some of the bedbugs come home with you in your luggage. You have not really paid in time immediately to offset what you have saved in money in this example, but you have most certainly paid in stress, both instant and deferred. A bedbug infestation you bring home from a cheap motel is something you have to pay professionals to fix and lose your bedding and other possessions as well, so going to a cheap disreputable motel possibly carries extra payments in money, time, AND stress.
If you take public transportation to the event and the train breaks down, you are paying in stress AND time what you saved by taking public transportation instead of UBER.
If you fly a budget airline or take a budget bus line and your trip is delayed or cancelled, you have paid in time and stress as well.
If you stay at an AirBNB, you have the extra time and stress of having to manage your host’s expectations (your host is likely not a dancer and doesn’t fully understand the world of the dance congress) and clean up after yourself a bit more diligently than you would at a hotel that has a cleaning staff.
The key to effectively attending dance congresses frugally without subtracting from your enjoyment of these congresses then, is to know how to manage and balance these three different currencies and understand how one can offset the other. Sometimes it is worth spending a little extra money to save time and stress, the two other currencies of dance congress planning and budgeting. Sometimes spending a little extra time or dealing with a little stress is worth the monetary savings. It’s really more of an art than a science and something that has to be felt out and applied to every individual situation, but that is something that gets easier with time and experience.
I hope this article helped some people gain more perspective as they plan and budget the rest of their congress season.