Cost Preparation

Questions, answers, tips & tricks for newbies and veterans alike
Post Reply
GloriaDeum
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Sep 16, 2019 12:22 pm
Burning Since: 2023

Cost Preparation

Post by GloriaDeum » Mon Sep 16, 2019 12:31 pm

Hi! My girlfriend and I are both hoping to be first time burners in 2020. However, we both live in very tight financial situations. We've looked into the low-income ticket option and might be able to make it on a very tight budget what with travel expenses and all.
Do you guys have any ways that you save up for burning man throughout the year? Ways you save on food, water, travel, or supplies? And if we can't afford much in ways of costumes and things to bring with will we be missing out?

User avatar
lucky420
Posts: 9276
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:47 am
Burning Since: 2021
Camp Name: Dye with Dignity
Location: Reno, NV

Re: Cost Preparation

Post by lucky420 » Mon Sep 16, 2019 12:42 pm

I live in Reno so my expenses are way diff than yours.

Costumes, while fun aren’t necessary. People wear everything from work clothes, thrift store outfits, fabulous LED stuff, etc. I like weird stuff from thrift stores. There’s a tutu Tuesday, if you can’t bring one there’s prob a camp where you can make one. I’ve always brought one but never worn one. There are also on playa camps that have a clothing exchange, you really don’t have to trade most camps just want to get rid of the stuff so they don’t have to pack it out.

Start putting a set amount away each month.
Oh my god, it's HUGE!

User avatar
some seeing eye
Posts: 3635
Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2008 12:06 pm
Burning Since: 1999
Camp Name: Woo
Location: The Oregon

Re: Cost Preparation

Post by some seeing eye » Mon Sep 16, 2019 4:05 pm

You have the ticket cost $250 (low income) to $500 per person + vehicle pass $125 per vehicle. It is likely the ticket price will go up at least $50 next year because of some unfortunate new expenses. Then plan transportation and supplies, plus inbound and outbound hotels, if needed. Your biggest expense is often what you could earn working the week you are away.

Start making a packing list of your own, based on many you can download from the Internet, then attach a price to each item, and a note on where you are going to get it.

Your best tactic is to meet your "Burning Man Regional" now, and start going to their decompression parties.

A lot of camping equipment can be found second hand, and often your regional burners are getting rid of burning stuff, including costumes.

Also befriend people in your regional who are the same size. Footwear, you want something that is well broken in, you can walk 5-15 miles a day, and ride a bike in. It needs to be able to go in the washing machine or never be wearable in a nice situation - it will have grey dust worked into every crevasse you can never scrub out. You need clothing and bedding for extreme heat and desert night cold.

Burning Man is a camping trip, so doing that around your home area if you are not already doing so is part of the preparation. Many regionals have camp outs among friends regularly.

I try to avoid getting too many things that I use only one week out of the year, other burners have warehouses of once a year items and huge mutant art vehicles.

As for food, I think the idea of depending on food camps to feed you is dumb. You will spend hours in line you could be having infinitely better experiences. I loose my appetite, others gain appetite. Some people are very sensitive to blood sugar and need to eat something every few hours, I easily go 24 hours without getting hungry. Some people like a cooked meal, comfort foods, or like to prepare elaborate meals, others are fine with powerbars, canned fish, nuts, jerky, and sealed-no refrigerator pouch dishes.

It's all a big adventure and it's your own adventure!
Last edited by some seeing eye on Mon Sep 16, 2019 6:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.
increasing the signal to noise ratio with compassion

User avatar
Token
Posts: 4701
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2003 2:55 pm
Burning Since: 2001
Location: Gold Country, CA

Re: Cost Preparation

Post by Token » Mon Sep 16, 2019 5:47 pm

Stay a while here, say hello, tell us a bit more.

Driving or flying?
How far?
Have you camped before?
Have you ever been the 973rd person to use a Porto-potty at any event?

GloriaDeum
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Sep 16, 2019 12:22 pm
Burning Since: 2023

Re: Cost Preparation

Post by GloriaDeum » Mon Sep 16, 2019 6:00 pm

Awesome! I've been gathering up backpacking gear over the past few years when I find it cheap or used so I already have a head start on that. My girlfriend is a little less prepared so we'll try scouring some forums and garage sales and sharing what's shareable.
I'll check out my region and see what pops up! I didn't even know there were regional groups.
As for food and water, I wouldn't feel comfortable if I didn't have everything I needed for basic wilderness type survival. Backpacking trips have left their mark I guess, haha. Thanks for the input!

As for Token's response
-probably driving unless I find an extraordinarily cheap flight. But we'll see how the ol' ten-year-old mini van is holding up in a year haha
-a good 1000 miles or so.
-Extensively, did 500 miles of backpacking a few summers back with little trips when I get the time now
-Gotta answer no to this one

Does anyone have an estimate for what they've paid as a baseline in the past? I've calculated things out from the knowledge I'm working with, but I'm also not sure if there are expenses I'm over/underestimating or things I haven't thought of since I'm new.

User avatar
Jackass
Posts: 2122
Joined: Fri Jun 04, 2010 9:25 pm
Location: way out in left field

Re: Cost Preparation

Post by Jackass » Mon Sep 16, 2019 6:38 pm

You could probably pull it off for 1500 bucks or so for one person driving from that distance, 2nd person in the same vehicle would be less. You won't be the fanciest, but you may not die either...
Sooner or later, it will get real strange...

11th Principle: Depussyfication - Keeping Burning Man potentially lethal. Token

User avatar
Sham
Moderator
Posts: 8620
Joined: Thu Oct 23, 2008 2:10 am
Location: The hidden mythical place.....

Re: Cost Preparation

Post by Sham » Mon Sep 16, 2019 6:42 pm

Ticket and vehicle pass, $600ish
Air flight if you fly, $500ish
Food, $250ish
Camping gear, tent, sleeping bag and comfort things, $500ish
Set aside $2000 for this adventure---about the same as you'd spend on a Caribbean cruise. 8)

User avatar
Canoe
Posts: 4096
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:01 pm

Re: Cost Preparation

Post by Canoe » Mon Sep 16, 2019 7:01 pm

Flying is fast, but it limits what you can bring - and what you can take back. So if you drop-shipped to Reno, you ship it or gift it. Not really economical.

I've gone expensive in a 30' RV, with a bike, bike trailer/cooler, and I've gone with a borrowed cot, a sleeping bag, pillow, tarp wrapped over that, with canned food, water, sunscreen, lip balm, electrolyte powder & first-aid kit in the trunk. Where's your line.
.
both ways.jpg
.
You can skip the tent and sleep in the van. Tin-foil (aluminum foil) taped over the windows on the inside.
To ensure comfort, a DIY bucket-cooler to provide cooled moist dust-free air that forces hot dusty air out of the van. Or use hand sprayers from the dollar store.
Having a van simplifies storage too, as you don't need super bins that are dust proof, just regular cheap bins or whatnot for storage.
You may or may not have space for a bike or two.

It's perfectly o.k. to look like a camper. Just don't be surprised when you first hear "Good morning camper!"
Or spend $5 at a thrift store for whatever (just not feathers, glitter, etc., that will become MOOP), if you want different from Camper.

I'd start a spreadsheet for a list, and assign costs.
Include gas costs.
Look through the posts for tips and what to bring.
Decide what level of comfort you want vs. what you already have.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
4.669
.
That's one word I regret googling during breakfast.
.
Video games are giving kids unrealistic expectations on how many swords they can carry.
.
, but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.

User avatar
gaminwench
Posts: 3000
Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2005 11:57 am
Burning Since: 1999
Camp Name: DOTA, EoD, OBOP, Destiny Lounge
Location: Blue Ridge-la

Re: Cost Preparation

Post by gaminwench » Tue Sep 17, 2019 1:41 am

My playa footwear consists of a good pair of leather boots (pull on Dingos), a pair of Ugg knockoffs for cool nights, and flip-flops for around camp.
Booty shorts, thigh high socks, scarves/shemaghs (what *is* the plural of shemagh???), playa sweater, fun bathrobes, and playa coat complete the 'costume' wardrobe. (I do bring a tub o' tutus for campmates to borrow on Tuesday, but that is a luxury).

Hats with lights and a utility belt with flashlight for nighttime.

Mostly thrifted, except the booty shorts and leather boots (which I oil prior, then vinegar spritz and oil after); good as new, eight years, now.

Old Lady over sized sunglasses and bandanas for dust.

I don't cook, out there; I live on charcuterie platters, granola/yogurt and the neighborhood offerings: this year was wood-fired pizza, hot dogs and midnight bao. (Thank you, neighborhood food folks!!!)

I've tented, RV'd, box trucked, and now do a vintage trailer, dry camping; I'm old enough to need a bed that isn't on the ground, but I don't need running water or power amenities.

The largest expense, nowadays, is gas and staying at hot springs while traveling from/to Ventura County in California; the springs are a decompression choice (luxury, $30/night) that I truly enjoy.
"the prophecies of doom were better last year" trilo

User avatar
Captain Goddammit
Posts: 8487
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2003 9:34 am
Burning Since: 2000
Camp Name: First Camp
Location: Seattle, WA

Re: Cost Preparation

Post by Captain Goddammit » Tue Sep 17, 2019 5:56 am

And these estimates are mostly for being a spectator.
It gets more expensive if you’re gonna actually build and bring something that makes Black Rock City rather than just look at what the do-ers did.
If everyone did that, there’d just be a bunch of people all standing around wondering why they came out there.
GreyCoyote: "At this rate it wont be long before he is Admiral Fukkit."

User avatar
Token
Posts: 4701
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2003 2:55 pm
Burning Since: 2001
Location: Gold Country, CA

Re: Cost Preparation

Post by Token » Tue Sep 17, 2019 9:02 am

Let’s assume Mini-Van : this simplifies things and reduces costs significantly.

2000 miles round trip - let’s say $500 for gas and whatnot for the trip.

Tickets and VP for two - $1200 (assuming some price hikes here which are likely)

Food, drink, snacks - $200

Tent, miscellaneous camping stuff - $200

So ~ $2K give or take a few hundred.

Then you can add the luxuries like chairs, shade, cots, fun stuffs etc.

BTW, if you fly in it’s gonna be more, so I’d make sure the mini-van gets some love.

GloriaDeum
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Sep 16, 2019 12:22 pm
Burning Since: 2023

Re: Cost Preparation

Post by GloriaDeum » Tue Sep 17, 2019 9:46 am

Alright, it's sounding like the general consensus is 1500-2000 for cost of both people. I already have most all camping gear we would need and I'm good at finding low-cost food options so I can probably keep that around 1500 even with the price hikes.

GloriaDeum
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Sep 16, 2019 12:22 pm
Burning Since: 2023

Re: Cost Preparation

Post by GloriaDeum » Tue Sep 17, 2019 9:51 am

Actually made a spreadsheet, perhaps a bit nerdy oh well, and looks like if ticket costs are 1200 I can keep it at $1564 if I do things the very basic way.

I am also concerned about just being a spectator though. I suppose I can contribute by lending a hand with construction and installations, but most of my art comes from paper based stuff and I don't want to just bring a bunch of pieces of paper that will very soon be trash:/ I do leather-working and my girlfriend makes bows, but I don't know how to implement archery in very close quarters haha. But that's probably a discussion for a different thread.

User avatar
Canoe
Posts: 4096
Joined: Sun Jul 31, 2011 8:01 pm

Re: Cost Preparation

Post by Canoe » Tue Sep 17, 2019 11:23 am

GloriaDeum wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 9:51 am
... I am also concerned about just being a spectator though. I suppose I can contribute by lending a hand with construction and installations,...
Don't worry about it. The various artworks and performances wouldn't be worth very much without spectators/participants. And no one needs MOOPy gifts that someone felt obliged to bring to hand out; it's not Mardi Gras (well, except in a few camps).

And it's easy to spot someone who needs some help, some encouragement or a hug. Carry a hand-sprayer or two from the dollar store around with you, filled with potable water; instant cooling mist to spray in the air above/upwind of someone who needs a quick refresh when you're out and around BRC. DON'T forget to bring your own unbreakable mug/glass around with you; lots of people/camps offering refreshment as you're out and about, so you can hold the water you're carrying with you in reserve. Grab a couple extra mugs when you're in the thrift or dollar store to have for others who lost, forgot or didn't know. Or grab a couple of bags of really cheap tennis balls from the dollar store to carry around; a pen knife to puncture them (not your hand), and they can slip over rebar or tent pegs to prevent/minimize injuries, as in tripping/falling on them.

If you're mechanically/building inclined, there tends to be tons of things you see you can help with as you explore BRC. I find myself helping fix all sorts of things in parking lots in Reno before the event is even open. That in the excitement as everyone gathers before heading out to the playa is rather fun.

Spend $5 to $20 at a thrift store for something different to wear. Whatever.

Simple cotton bandana (but not the super thin coloured ones) works wonders against dust when worn like the old stagecoach robbers. Often available really cheap in a pack, so you have some to gift too when you discover someone caught out in a blow. Have something to tie around your head so you're ears are covered in a really bad wind.

Lots of cheap and much appreciated ways to participate. $20 each should cover it.
4.669
.
That's one word I regret googling during breakfast.
.
Video games are giving kids unrealistic expectations on how many swords they can carry.
.
, but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.

User avatar
ecoita
Posts: 45
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2015 8:01 am
Burning Since: 2015
Camp Name: Duane's Whirld
Location: Atlanta, GA
Contact:

Re: Cost Preparation

Post by ecoita » Thu Sep 19, 2019 4:32 pm

Don't worry about being a spectator. Come and see what you can see, learn what you can learn and connect with what interests you. Then as you process your experience afterward, then you can see in what ways you can contribute in the future, whether on a local level or at Burning Man. I learned quickly from my first trip that I was trying to do too much and ended up missing out on some key opportunities. Go ahead and smell the roses!

And $1500 is a good number, slightly lower for your plus 1 since you will share some items anyway. Don't pack a lot of costumes, there are plenty of places on playa that operate as a thrift store. I always end up bringing more clothes back than I came with. :D
If people never did silly things nothing intelligent would ever get done.

User avatar
unjonharley
Posts: 10380
Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2003 11:05 am
Burning Since: 2001
Camp Name: Elliot's naked bycycel repair
Location: Salem Or.

Re: Cost Preparation

Post by unjonharley » Fri Sep 20, 2019 6:04 pm

FOOD for one person, Using a bear barrel to hold food .. 18 meals, for 6 days .. No fat or grease(easy clean up) .. The barrel is a 3 gal. water cooler jug .. Each portion in a plastic resealable .. Mostly dry, some boil in bag ..Two portions of each meal .. Have to eat the same meal twice in a week .. Test eat meals at home .. None of this prepper crap
I'm the contraptioneer your mother warned you about.

User avatar
some seeing eye
Posts: 3635
Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2008 12:06 pm
Burning Since: 1999
Camp Name: Woo
Location: The Oregon

Re: Cost Preparation

Post by some seeing eye » Sat Sep 21, 2019 1:18 pm

Your regional is going to have many suggestions and can answer a thousand questions.

I would add you might look around for used rooftop carrier bars and baskets that match your vehicle. I bring many things in large, waterproof duffel bags that can be rooftopped.

With a rack, you can rig a silver tarp to shield solar gain (along with window coverings), even make a front porch seating area, then sleep in the minivan. Having a reflective shield, like a silver tarp, with a windblown air gap, the 3-4" of the rooftop carrier, helps with sleeping in a vehicle.

I would also plan to stop outgoing at a truck stop or campground with showers, shower, and then change into clean clothes you saved for the long drive home.
increasing the signal to noise ratio with compassion

User avatar
unjonharley
Posts: 10380
Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2003 11:05 am
Burning Since: 2001
Camp Name: Elliot's naked bycycel repair
Location: Salem Or.

Re: Cost Preparation

Post by unjonharley » Sat Sep 21, 2019 2:05 pm

Showers are offered in Cedarville going north .. I stopped at the hot spring north of Paisley OR.. It is the dirtiest, filthy, nastiest, vile, shithole ever.. The review is from a dirty desert rat . Me
I'm the contraptioneer your mother warned you about.

User avatar
engineer2012
Posts: 136
Joined: Thu Oct 21, 2010 12:51 pm
Burning Since: 2012
Location: Netherlands

Re: Cost Preparation

Post by engineer2012 » Tue Sep 24, 2019 3:29 am

GloriaDeum wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 9:51 am
Actually made a spreadsheet, perhaps a bit nerdy oh well, and looks like if ticket costs are 1200 I can keep it at $1564 if I do things the very basic way.
To even have a chance for a ticket, the FOMO is the one to buy. Main sale is a long shot.
2019 FOMO ticket was $1400,- and in addition the 9% entertainment tax shall be paid, plus a VP is required, again another $100,- and yes, also 9% entertainment tax for this one, and last but not least, the fee to be paid for tickets, shipment or Will Call.
So, I say, BM ticket alone already is more than $1600,-, per person.

https://tickets.burningman.org/
"If you wish to go to extremes, let it be in sweetness, patience, humility and charity." - St. Philip Neri

User avatar
XPTom
Posts: 137
Joined: Wed Mar 22, 2017 10:22 pm
Burning Since: 2017
Camp Name: Shipwreck Tiki Lounge

Re: Cost Preparation

Post by XPTom » Tue Sep 24, 2019 10:13 am

You hiked 500 miles??? I'm guessing you own half a comb, a toothbrush with half the handle cut off, and know how to really really squeeze an empty tube of toothpaste. You probably forgot more than most burners know about packing light and have everything you need except for a few 5 gal water jugs.

Ramen soup, rice dishes, canned goods, etc. cost the same to eat at BM as they do at home. My back packing stove has used 4 or 5 sterno cans over 3 burns..... water heats easily there... no real extra food expense unless you go heavy on perishable items that require ice. Figure on travel and tickets and don't let the other expenses grow into an obstacle.
How many old burners does it take to change a light bulb? Just one to change the bulb..... and five more to reminisce how good the old bulb was....

flexibility is the key to success....... and poor planning is the key to flexibility

User avatar
Savannah
Moderator
Posts: 12672
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2008 8:33 pm
Burning Since: 2023

Re: Cost Preparation

Post by Savannah » Tue Oct 15, 2019 12:30 pm

Remember that all you spend on food for the desert is money you'd be spending on food at home, provided you aren't buying MREs or Mountain House dehydrated meals (which are completely unnecessary). So this is one way at looking at some of your expenses. You'd be eating no matter where you go. There will be simply be more canned and vacuum sealed food than usual and somewhat less fresh, if you're like me.

Did I bring a rubbermaid tote full of food? Like always.

Am I still chipping away at it, and using the batteries I bought for the event around the house? Like always. :lol:
*** The Burning Man Survival Guide ***

"I must've lost it when I was twerking at the trash fence." -- BBadger

"Snark away, ePlaya, you magnificent bastards." -- McStrangle

User avatar
Ratty
Posts: 6289
Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2011 6:43 pm
Burning Since: 2008
Camp Name: Tiger Man

Re: Cost Preparation

Post by Ratty » Tue Oct 15, 2019 3:42 pm

AND I get to enjoy cheeze whiz. Something I wouldn't ordinarily have. Hi Savannah!!!
Those aren't buttermilk biscuits I'm lying on Savannah

Pictures or it didn't happen Greycoyote

Talent hits a target no one else can hit; Genius hits a target no one else can see.
Arthur Schopenhauer

User avatar
Savannah
Moderator
Posts: 12672
Joined: Mon Sep 01, 2008 8:33 pm
Burning Since: 2023

Re: Cost Preparation

Post by Savannah » Tue Oct 15, 2019 7:40 pm

Hi Ratty! Sorry I didn't get a chance to socialize. I worked too much this year. :lol:
*** The Burning Man Survival Guide ***

"I must've lost it when I was twerking at the trash fence." -- BBadger

"Snark away, ePlaya, you magnificent bastards." -- McStrangle

User avatar
Elorrum
Posts: 5415
Joined: Sat Mar 15, 2008 9:09 pm
Burning Since: 2007
Camp Name: Baby fell in the Bucket
Location: Reno

Re: Cost Preparation

Post by Elorrum » Sun Oct 20, 2019 9:40 am

I have a small direct deposit made to a little used account with every paycheck. It's painless, and adds up to burning man over the course of a year.
"Ask again later." - Magic 8-Ball

User avatar
unjonharley
Posts: 10380
Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2003 11:05 am
Burning Since: 2001
Camp Name: Elliot's naked bycycel repair
Location: Salem Or.

Re: Cost Preparation

Post by unjonharley » Mon Oct 21, 2019 8:55 am

Food, There is no nutritional value in heat .. BUT .. Serve cooked food at 140/+ degrees.. Don't ruin a burn by food poisoning .
I'm the contraptioneer your mother warned you about.

Post Reply

Return to “Q & A Tips and Tricks”