I’ve just gotten back from my favorite conference: FINCON. It’s a conference specifically for personal financial bloggers (hey, that’s me!), and I’ve attended each year since it started in 2010.

One of the funniest things about getting a bunch of personal financial bloggers together for the weekend is the conversation. Not only is it the perfect outlet to spew out the newest way you figured out how to save $50 off your latest insurance premium, but the people you chat with gleefully share their own stats and money wisdom as well!

I mean, our families and friends can only take so much (love you guys!).

A Special Thank You

Something that made this FINCON extra special for me was that it was held in New Orleans. This was a bucket list check-off for me, as I’ve wanted to travel to New Orleans for years.

New Orleans 2014

In the French Quarter

NO Chris Ducker

Meeting Chris Ducker, ChrisDucker.com

NO Food French Market

In the French Market…

NO Tombs

Probably the only place I’ll ever seek out tombs…

This amazing trip was possible because of the generosity of Reliant Energy. I want to extend a huge thank you to their team, who are just delightful to work with.

A few takeaways (both financial and not) to share with you:

  • People Care about (and are Aware of) the Looming Retirement Crisis: I attended a really fun and powerful session held by the crew and producers of the documentary Broken Eggs. In the session we saw clips of the film, heard directly from the people who made it, and had a hot debate amongst ourselves about the future of retirement in our country. The great news is that you can get this movie for free, so make a batch of gourmet popcorn and watch it with your friends and family.
  • Yes, You can get Practically Free Parking in Downtown New Orleans: I drove to our hotel in the French Quarter knowing that parking was going to be an egregious $38/night (plus $4.56 in taxes). Somehow…I knew I could find a better way, especially among hundreds of other people who love nothing more than to save their money. Fortunately for me, my good friend Crystal from Budgeting in the Fun Stuff had figured out that there is free parking for Harrah Casino loyalty members who gambled 30 minutes per day. And the casino was just two blocks up from our hotel! Becoming a loyalty member was free, and each day I just played the penny slots for half an hour. And guess what? Not only did I make a guarantee return of $42.56 in parking fees each night, but I also came out $10.13 ahead. Ka-ching!
  • Meeting in Person Complements Online Masterminds: I love how technology like Google Hangout allows for free ways to meet up with an online mastermind where I can collaborate with others all over the world. But you know what? Getting to meet with them in person every so often is priceless. If you also do online meetings, hangouts, and masterminds with a regular group of people, I encourage you to seek out an opportunity to meet them in person. Joe from Stacking Benjamins and Maria from The Money Principle, it was wonderful spending a few days with you!
  • Whenever you Travel, Strike Up Conversations with the Locals: I like to do this wherever I travel to. You not only learn more about the place you are visiting, but you usually get the lowdown on some amazing places to check out that will make your trip that much more memorable. For example, a big thank you to the man I met on the trolley who pointed me to Mother’s Restaurant. I highly recommend this place to anyone travelling to New Orleans–the gumbo and crawfish etouffee were awesome.

Other takeaways and insights will surely show up in my writing over the months to come. Overall, I feel reenergized and refreshed. Gooooo Personal Finance!

Have you ever been to New Orleans? What are your favorite places? I’ll definitely be going back.

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