Attending Craftcation on a Budget

The word budget used to make me cringe! I thought being on a budget meant limiting my ability to have fun. And who wants that? But what I’ve learned as the CEO of my household of four humans, one dog and two guinea pigs is that by creating a budget – and actually sticking to it – we actually give ourselves the right amount of money to do the things we really want to do!

If we just willy nilly swipe our debit cards without intention, all of a sudden the money’s gone and we haven’t a clue where it went. Budgeting however allows us to categorize our spending and even include little buckets for the rad stuff like going out to eat, going to the movies, traveling and pretty much whatever else we want!

The same rule holds true for planning for a business conference. Start early, plan ahead and use these simple tips to maximize your fun while minimizing your spending at our annual conference, Craftcation: Business & Makers Conference which takes place every spring in Ventura, California. At Craftcation, you’ll join us for four life-changing days featuring expert instructors leading hundreds of business and craft workshops as well as social gatherings to connect with fellow attendees and activities and inspiration so you can reconnect with yourself.


Use a service like Digit to set aside a little bit of money every month. Every day, Digit checks your spending habits and moves money from your checking account to your Digit account, if you can afford it. You can set up multiple goals within your Digit account so that you can simultaneously save for multiple goals! Holiday shopping budget, rainy day fun, new boots, family vacation….Craftcation! Plus, you can easily withdraw your money at any time. Click this referral link to learn more – sign up for free and get $5 automatically!


Air travel can sometimes cost you a pretty hefty sack of cash. But you do have some options! Do you have a birthday, anniversary or milestone event coming up? Ask for airline miles for your gift! Those bad boys add up quickly – and with any luck, you can purchase a miles ticket with little or no out of pocket costs. You can even ask for gift cards to your favorite airline or travel site.

Use services like to alert you when airfares are low.  They’ll send you email alerts when fares change and even when NOT to buy them.

Pack lightly and carry on your bag. Most airlines charge extra to check your bags. Those costs can add up! But by carrying on your bag you’ll save yourself money each way!

Bring your own snacks onto the airplane. Make yourself a bunch of snacks in advance and stow them in your personal bag or carry-on. This way you won’t need to purchase those pricey cheese plates on the plane. As good as they are, the money you’ll save is even better.

Stow an empty water bottle in your carry-on bag. You can fill it up after you go thru the security checkpoint saving you tons on bottled water or other drinks while you’re waiting for your flight.


Our private online community for Craftcation alumni and ambassadors is a great place to find carpool buddies! Once you register for Craftcation, we’ll send you a link to the group so you join. People are traveling from all over the country and use the group to coordinate rides together to the conference. Be sure to request to join the group once you’ve registered (or if you’re already an alum).

Take the train! AmTrak is a great way to travel from LA to Ventura. Last year they even gave us a Craftcation discount code. I bought my one-way ticket for approximately $25. And I know this is a budgeting blog – but I highly recommend you treat yo self and pay the extra $12 for business class. Get your free wine and snacks! Also, if you coordinate with a group from the alumni community or friends you’re bringing with you, you can snag a table with four seats together!

The view on the train is beautiful. Waves on one side, mountains on the other. I even wound up bumping into friends on one of our stops last year and we shared a table set-up. It made the trip up that much better!

Craftcation Conference Business DIY Craft Maker Retreat Creative


The Ventura Marriott is a wonderful, beautiful property. AND by the time we go back for Craftcation 2019, the hotel will be entirely renovated! The rooms are a nice size and can easily hold up to four people. This is another reason to join the alumni community. If you’re open to meeting new people and possibly rooming with strangers, you can easily find yourself a roommate (or three)!

My first year at Craftcation, this is how I saved a bundle of money. I was sooo nervous to come alone but I wound up staying with a few alumni I found in the online community and they made my stay so comfortable. Bonus: Now I have new friends!

Craftcation Conference Business DIY Craft Maker Retreat Creative


Your Craftcation registration includes four days of crafting, business classes, room parties and more. We even spring for three of your lunches and one of your dinners! We offer multiple ways to register for the conference to save you money.

Become an Ambassador: Craftcation Ambassadors are our super-fans! Before the conference, they share their Craftcation experiences across their social platforms and in person among their local communities. Once we get to Ventura, you’ll see them around helping others who may not know where to go for their next class, those who may be shy and need help meeting new people and generally helping out wherever an extra set of hands is needed.

Ambassadors receive a $20 discount on their registration, extra goodies at the conference and 50% off of access to online workshops. To learn more about our Ambassador program and submit your application, click here.

Become an Assistant via our Volunteer Program: Our staff and volunteer assistant team are the lifeline of Craftcation. While they are still responsible for their own accommodations, assistants receive a FREE ticket to the conference. Some positions begin days before the conference opens, others are needed during the active conference hours. For more information on available shifts and departments needing help, click here.

We also offer a registration payment plan. This option unfortunately cannot be used with any other discount. It is a flat rate of $485.00 split into four equal installments. Payments are due November, December, January and February. While this comes out to a higher price point than a regular ticket, it does give you the option of spreading out the cost a little bit.


The Ventura Marriott  is located in the heart of downtown Ventura, CA. The bar and restaurant in the lobby take very good care of us during our conference. However, to cut back on food and drink costs, you’ll find various markets, grocery stores and even a Trader Joe’s super close to the hotel! Stock up on your favorite items and keep them stowed in your room. There are even local liquor stores nearby to stock up on your own cocktail makings!

Use the mini fridge, microwave and coffee pot in your room for an inexpensive breakfast. Your schedule could be pretty busy – so it’s a good idea to keep non-perishable snacks like nuts, granola bars, crackers, etc. in your bag as you make your way to your classes throughout the day.

And of course, be sure to take advantage of the free lunches provided at City Hall throughout the conference. These meals are delicious and are prepared by our food prep team of volunteers. Plus, the view at City Hall is not to be missed.

Craftcation conference 2019

Business conferences can be overwhelming and expensive. But don’t forget – this is an investment in yourself and in your business. The opportunity to rub elbows with experts in the small business and creative field, grow your community of fellow makers and possibly learn a new craft is invaluable. AND YOU DESERVE IT!

We hope to see you at Craftcation 2019 – April 3-7 in Ventura, CA!!

Save the Dates for upcoming registration!

  • Alumni Registration: September 17, 2018 at 9:00am PT
  • Early Bird Registration: October 5, 2018 at 9:00am PT

Happy Budgeting!

katie mac


How to attend a conference on a budget from Dear Handmade Life
Essential tips to attend a creative conference on a budget from Dear Handmade Life
Essential tips to attend a craft and creative business conference on a budget from Dear Handmade Life
Essential tips to attend a creative conference on a budget from Dear Handmade Life

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.