For people who are on a limited budget, collecting doesn’t need to be a financially stressful hobby. You can collect on a budget and enjoy it immensely.
It’s easy to rack up a tab on even cheap collectibles if you aren’t careful. Magic the Gathering booster packs can add up to hundreds of dollars, and those huge stacks of Tsum Tsums are worth more than a fancy new car in some cases. At what point does collecting become fiscally irresponsible, and how can a young person working with a fixed income also experience the thrills of collecting? Fortunately, amassing both a savings and a collection are not mutually exclusive endeavors, and we’re here to help you find the happy medium that many collectors enjoy.
Step 1: Limit the scope of your collection
For anyone looking to build a collection without spending too much money, it’s essential to clarify exactly what you want to collect.
As an example, Funko Pop! figurines are extremely popular collectibles due to their low price point, but building a complete collection is unrealistic for all but the wealthiest collectors. Even if each figure only costs $9-$12, there are literally thousands of unique Funko Pops out there! This is no reason for the average collector to shy away from collecting Funko Pops, of course; you just have to set a realistic goal for yourself.
Perhaps you may decide to only collect your favorite characters while holding off on less tempting figures. You may also decide to only collect one specific series of Funko Pops before moving on to another series. Maybe you’ll pick an entirely different criteria that appeals to you while limiting your scope! Either way, setting specific goals for any collectible prevents the hobby from feeling too overwhelming, and your wallet will be happy with your careful planning and foresight.
Step 2: Set a Budget
Okay, this is probably a no brainer if you are already on a budget, but it’s an essential point to clarify either way.
In short, ask yourself how much you are comfortable with putting towards collectibles on a weekly or monthly basis. Even if we’re only talking about a couple dollars a week, it’s important for you to be honest with yourself and your budget. Allocating your money this way will keep you from overspending, and you’ll be able to enjoy the thrill of filling your collection on a consistent basis.
Step 3: Shop Around
While a local comic book store may have many items that interest you, it would be foolhardy to exclusively shop at one venue for your collectibles. Fortunately, with the explosion of the internet over the past 20 years, modern collectors have a plethora of digital storefronts at their fingertips. While big names like Amazon and eBay may have been traditional starting points for online collectibles, a site like hobbyDB, designed by collectors, for collectors is a more focused way to bring buyers and sellers and enthusiasts together.
Step 4: Do Your Research
The marketplace is a strange unusual thing. One minute an item is selling for a sky-high price, then another minute the market gets flooded and prices plummet before rising back up again. As a potential buyer, your goal is to capitalize when prices are low.
It may sound like we’re talking about the stock market here, but the principles apply regardless. Keeping a tab on the value of your most wanted collectibles is a great way to ensure you get a good deal, as you’ll have a greater chance of knowing when a price drop occurs that you can take advantage of. To help you out, there are numerous resources available online that track the price history of collectibles and inform you when prices are high or low. For instance, if you’re interested in Pop! figures, poppriceguide.com lets you look up every individual card and see how the prices have fluctuated for up to a year. Anyone who’s looking to avoid overpaying for their items has everything to gain by informing their purchasing decisions.
Step 5: Have Fun!
At the end of the day, collecting is something that we do for fun. The joy of adding a new item to your collection cannot be matched, and there’s no reason for the hobby to cause you undue stress.
The tips we’ve described above are designed to enrich your collecting experience while saving you a few dollars, but remember, there’s no singular “right” way to collect. Get into a groove that works for you, and remember to enjoy yourself along the way. Even if all the Funko Pops in the world can’t be yours, relish the special collection you built with the figures you chose especially for yourself.