I just started a Seminars and Events
page on my web site that covers Midwest(USA), Chicago area and National Ki Society events. One thing I've noticed is that there are a lot of seminars going on with only the bigger ones getting publicized.
There are many good teachers. Not all of them have a reputation or are from Japan. The seminars that they do draw mostly from one dojo. They're usually less expensive also.
Another way to save money and fit a seminar into your schedule is to look for an add-on
class. For example, say Shihan A has a Fri.-Sun seminar that costs $200 US. This seminar is sponsored by the Big dojo. However on Thursday of the same week, Shihan A is holding a class for $25 at Little dojo, to help publicize it and raise funds.
Shihan A only gets out of Japan once-in-a-lifetime. You're working on one of the seminar days or don't have the Big dojo fee. Your only chance to see him is the Thursday class at Little dojo.
The most straight forward way to save on a seminar is to pre-register. Most large events give a savings to those who let them know that they are coming. This avoids at-the-door disappointments like finding out the seminar is already full.
Of course the cheapest
way to attend a seminar is to go and just watch. Most dojos allow you to do this and don't charge anything for spectators. You may not be able to practice, but you might be able to learn more by just observing.
I've also been at seminars where the instructor was so popular, the mat was wall-to-wall people and you didn't even have room to throw! In those cases, I could have saved money and learned more by just watching.
As a consumer, the more knowledgeable you are, the more your money will purchase. This doesn't matter if you're buying a car or attending an Aikido seminar. Try and pre-register for seminars. Look at all events by contacting the local dojos.