Oh and one more thing, so we don't plan our camping spot ahead of time?
That's right--unless you're in a theme camp with placement, you don't plan exactly where you're going to camp. There are certain things you can take into account, however. Large raves tend to crop up at 2 o clock on the map and at 10 o clock as well. There will be a map released closer to the event, and given at the door as well. Study it . . .
In general, the Esplanade and the inner street (streets A through D) tend to be noisiest, the most spoken-for, and the closest to the action. It's good not to camp right
next to the porta potties, 'cause the doors slam all night long.
Watch out for theme camp areas. To avoid misunderstandings, talk to your neighbors on both sides before you start pounding stakes.
And how much money do you usually spend on supplies for the week on the playa? I'm broke but that can't stop me! Thanks everyone! I'm reading the links right now.
Good! Read everything you can. Ill-prepared people tend to be miserable out there. Well prepared, mentally flexible, well-hydrated people are much more likely to have a fantastic time. No promises.
Cost varies wildly depending on how you're getting there, and how much stuff you borrow or get cheaply or already own, and how pampered an experience you crave. No one can tell you exactly how much it will cost you on the whole. Might want to start a spreadsheet, seriously. Use the list of "at minimum, you need" items from the Survival Guide as a template. Be prepared for costs to stack up in strange and surprising ways.
Note that you do not need special food or MREs out there if you have a can opener or better. Call in some favors w/ family and friends. Borrow supplies from people who camp only once every decade. Hit Army surplus. Get a canteen and a little backpack. Don't spend money on gifts your first time out. Just participate, & don't be a drain on the city, and you'll already be a stellar virgin.