Wednesday, January 4, 2017

How much money do I spend on cards?

As of this writing, I've spent exactly $0 on cards in 2017.

Obviously, that'll change in due time, but a part of me has always wanted to find out what I spend on this hobby in a given year. Although...I've never had the courage to track such a thing, because I'm not altogether sure I want to know the answer. (Not that I'm a big spender or anything, but still.)

One problem is that I've never been much of a budget guy, which sets me apart from Robert of the "$30 A Week Habit" blog. Robert and I have been trading buddies since near the dawn of my blog, and he sent me a couple top-notch PWEs during my hiatus. (I'll be sending something your way shortly, too, Robert.)

This '81 Topps Traded Danny Ainge rookie was a Dime Box Dozen need at the time, and unless there's some wildly obscure oddball out there, I'm almost positive I now own all the baseball cards ever issued of Ainge between 1981 and '82.

I have to say, I'm seriously considering tracking my spending here in 2017, possibly by adding a little ticker to the side of this blog.

One question off the top of my head is whether or not I include shipping costs in the total budget. Should every PWE I send out tack on 49 cents to the yearly number? Or should it only consist of cards I purchase directly?

Retail most definitely counts towards the budget, but hopefully if enough people like Robert hit my various current needs I won't need to buy as much.

Thank God I'm not much of a set builder, because my budget would just about explode if I had to track Heritage SPs like this one down.

In the grand scheme of things, I'm probably on the extreme lower end of the financial collecting spectrum.

I'd guess I spent more on cards in 2016 than ever before, but that's only because last year was the first time I had a steady full-time job.

I hit maybe five or six card shows a year tops, and unlike I've done in the past, I don't buy retail for the sake of buying retail anymore. 

Sure, I'll sample most products that hit the shelves, but once I have most of the base cards covered, I start to let the inserts trickle in through card shows and trades, like these two Wrigley-themed inserts from Robert.

More 2016 inserts from Robert included a hearty batch of last year's "Berger's Best" reprints.

While I'll grant that reprinting cards from less than a decade ago is a bit of a stretch, I do still seem to be one of the few collectors remaining who enjoy reprints.

They're a good way to at least partially feel like I own cards that are, in reality, way above my budget.

I'd bet that a decent copy of Hammerin' Hank's 1954 Topps rookie would set me back more than I spent on cards all of last year.

It can be a conflicting thing sometimes, collecting baseball cards. I usually treat my cardboard purchases as separate events, but tracking and culling them across an entire year could be an interesting -- and perhaps eye-opening -- study.

We'll see if I actually have the wherewithal to do it, but maybe 2017 will finally be the Year I Actually Find Out How Much I Spend On This Hobby.


sg488 said...

Keep track ,just for curiosity sake.

Mike said...

I've wanted to do this with records/cds/etc purchases..I think you've got spending pretty under when I was telling you "buy the '52 Hoyt!" at the card show,and you looked at me like I was nuts!..ha-ha!!

shoeboxlegends said...

I track mine, have for a few years and it's interesting to see. I'm an OCD person in many ways, including financially, so it makes sense I guess. I don't count shipping for cards I send out in my totals though, just whatever I spent on cards coming in.

Fuji said...

I tried to do this a few years ago as part of a New Year's resolution... but after seeing what I spent in the first few months, I realized I didn't really want to know. However... that's why I add prices on most of my posts. So one day, I can go back and add everything up and see how much $$$ I spent on my cardboard addiction.

Brian said...

I agree with Fuji that I think I would prefer not to know how much I spent, but I think it is a worthy study to undertake.
I would keep the shipping cost separate, but probably track that too.

Anonymous said...

I tracked my hobby spending in 2016, just out of curiosity and I'll probably continue in 2017 just because I'm already in the habit.

I only went to one card show, and I'll admit I ended up figuring out "Well, I went in with X dollars in my wallet and I came out with $Y". My memory isn't exactly legendary, and I can never remember everything I spent at a show.

If one *really* wanted to get exhaustive in tracking spending, there's postage and envelopes, there's supplies like binders, boxes and plastic pages and - for me, anyway - there's gasoline spent driving to shows. I live in a "hobby desert", even the closest show would use up several gallons of gas round-trip and it's usually a dedicated trip, so that's certainly a hobby expense.

It can be a bit of a pain to remember "Oh, I bought that hanger pack at Target during lunch on Tuesday" and then log it, but when all was said and done it was interesting to see how much I spent on cards last year.

GCA said...

I AM a set builder, and I REALLY don't want to know. :)

I used to limit myself to only spend what I made from side tech work, but that has dwindled (by choice) and I can afford a certain level of spending since my car is paid off and a few other expenses have dropped lately. So now I don't really care. I've been going way off the wagon in the last few weeks. Two big Sportlots orders and one from COMC have really blown any conservatism I may have been thinking about.

When I trade, I figure shipping costs for me and whoever I'm trading with basically cancel each other out. So it's not figured into the trade itself or considered if I was keeping track of spending.

Anonymous said...

I think Stale Gum used to track his spending with an updated widget on the side, inspired me to track for a year. Man, what a shocking experiment that was. Kinda felt like I was spending just to track it too. It did get me to set a monthly budget though and set a limit for each show I go to.

Good luck if you do it!