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October 3, 2013

5 Ways to Save Money at the Extravaganza

by tbuegler

SaveMoneyThis is the time of year that people are making decision about whether they will be joining their community at Extravaganza.  I hear from people all the time about what an important time it is for them.  The personal spiritual renewal, the quality continuing education and the networking and connections that are made are invaluable.  Unfortunately, there is a cost, and that cost sometimes prohibits people from being able to participate.

The Network works really hard at keeping costs affordable, and we do think that the event provides a great value.  Still, there is a cost.

So I’ve been collecting ideas from people about how to keep cost down and make the E as affordable as possible.  I wanted to pass those 5 ideas on to you:

  1. Bring breakfast.  Toss some granola bars, fruit and pop-tarts (mmmmm…pop tarts) into your suitcase and save a few bucks every morning.
  2. Find other local youth ministers and share a ride.  A high percentage of our members are in ‘driving range’ to St. Louis and this could be a way of saving some money.  Also, some synods are doing buses to ride share to St. L.  Contact your synod and let them know that you’re interested.  If enough people are, they might be able to make a go of it.
  3. Look for cheap air fares.  Right now, flights to St. Louis are remarkably affordable.  I’ve seen both Delta Airlines and Southwest Airlines have had sales that include St. Louis.  Check often.  Airline rates go up and down, sometimes daily.
  4. Connect with some friends and share a hotel room.  The hotel will allow us to go up to 4 in a room.  With quad occupancy, the room winds up costing $30.25/night!  (plus some tax).  If you don’t have a roommate yet, you can check or post on our roommate forum to see if you can find someone else looking to save money.
  5. Get a donation of some frequent flyer miles to help you.  This is a great one:  Every congregation is going to have someone who is a frequent business traveler.  These folks have miles banked up.  Often, more miles than they can use.  If there is someone you know who you think might have miles banked, ask them if they would be willing to donate their miles to help get you to a great continuing education event that will benefit the young people of your congregation.  If you don’t know who these people are, ask your senior pastor.  They probably know.  And the senior pastor (who is likely motivated to help save the congregation money!) might be able to make the “ask” of the person on your behalf.  It’s a creative way for them to make a donation to the church!
  6. Remember that money that you pay for continuing education events…the money that you kick in, can be considered tax-deductible.  Check with your tax person for the details.
  7. Check with your Thrivent chapter/community.  Sometimes there are ways that their funds can be accessed to help fund continuing education events.  Not always, but sometimes.
  8. Register early!  The price of registration goes up November 1.  So register on or before October 31.  Sometimes people don’t want to pay until the 2014 budget year.  That’s totally ok.  Register now…hold the invoice and make your payment after January 1, 2014.  It might be helpful to send a quick note to Laurie, our registrar to let her know that this is what you’re doing…but it’s a totally ok strategy to save money!

Ok, there are more than 5 ideas.  But that’s because there are so many ways to help make it happen.

Do you have other ideas?  Post them in the comments below!

I hope to see you in St. Louis!
Peace,
Todd

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