Musings – Strategies to Beat the Toy Budget Bursting Syndrome

24 10 2007

Following the subject of how toy collectors like us can stay financially sound while up keeping our wallet-taxing hobby, here’s a sharing of strategies that have worked for me. Some seem delusional but hey, whatever it takes to have some financial sanity in this hobby.

Every collector has their way to dealing with the Toy Budget Bursting(TBB) Syndrome. Feel free to share yours too in the comments area. This post is beginning to sound like an anonymous group discussion!

Onto the strategies!

Strategy #1: Use the plastic ONLY when all else fails

Here’s something that everyone knows but tough to adhere to especially when a cool toy is released earlier than expected. With credit cards such a convenient way to buy something these days, it’s a major temptation to swipe them to get the toy you are crazy over out of the shop. It’s really delaying payment and seeing the deferred debt can be depressing.

But this is probably the number 1 way to burst your toy budget every month making it a terrible cycle – every month you are paying for last month’s credit card purchases. And if one is not careful with prompt payment, late charges from the banks will eat up any discounts you get for your toy purchases! Not good.

A sister strategy to this is to buy from shops that do not accept credit card transactions. It’ll be a forced discipline to curtail any obscene readiness to flash that plastic. The only exception to this strategy is when there’s a case of Medicom’s Jango and Boba Fett being released together(substitute the Fetts for any top 2 figures that you are getting).

Strategy #2: Do nothing and let nature run its course

*Beep beep* I pick up my mobile and the SMS from a local store reads, “HT Rambo M65 12″ figure and Predator 2 arriving in stores tomorrow. Availability on a FCFS basis. Whilst stock lasts.” I take some seconds to stay calm, delete the message, put back my phone and go back to work.

Do nothing. Don’t plan what time to head to the shop after work. Sometimes this is the best restraint against unfocused buying due to the many good figures released. After work, go straight home, watch the TV, play computer games… just do something to take your mind off the missed figures. Let others with the budget clear out these figures and render your chance of getting them anytime soon zero… for now.

Strategy #3: Be space conscious and focused

There were several occasions that I wanted to divert some budget to acquire some Hot Toys military figures after seeing their awesome pictures on the Internet. Furthermore, I’m a military movie fan. However, when I remember the limited shelf space I have in my study, it makes me stay focus as I do not want to handle a space problem later on.

But the space issue may not be difficult to get around. You would just have to consider ‘taking over’ other alternative space in the house! Maybe slowly let your 1/6 figures creep into the master bedroom or hang them from the ceiling? The question is how to get buy-in from the missus!

In addition, don’t forget about the storage for the toy’s box! It’s gonna pile up even faster if unfocused buying comes in. And guys like us often just pile them up haphazardly which invites nagging from the females in the house. Not something you want on a daily basis!

Strategy #4: Do homework on a potential purchase

I cannot emphasize this enough. It’s important to do some homework about a toy before marking it down as a definite purchase. Not exactly easy to to adhere to for myself. I have bought my fair share of toys that I quickly regretted after my expectations were not met when the toys are scrutinised.

A toy you regret buying(for whatever reasons) also represents toy dollar that could have been used for another purchase. Maximise the use of your toy dollar by finding out more about a potential buy. You can read up reviews, scrutinise toys on displays or find out from fellow collectors in discussion forums.

This is also the reason, I put out reviews here on SWFToys. While I am not a professional reviewer, I highlight points I notice as I fiddle with my purchase. I try to take pictures of different facets of a toy to give others (hopefully) a complete picture of it. Readers, thereby, can review it themselves from the pictures and my comments and determine for themselves the push factor to buy.

Strategy #5: Think like a millionaire

This is my favourite self-help to beat the TBB Syndrome. I tell myself that the money that I use for investing instead of buying an unbudgeted toy will multiply. I’m going to keep doing this until I’m a millionaire. When that happens, getting a toy years later even at a higher price is no big deal. Maybe then, you can even pay someone to locate a piece for you!

Delusional maybe but spending the money meant for your meals and family needs on a toy you are afraid on missing out on despite bursting the budget isn’t rational as well.

Bonus Strategy: If you need credit, pay the interest to the girlfriend/wife.

This bonus strategy was contributed by one of the SWFToys readers(Ian). When he exceeded the quota of figures for the month, he got his wife to buy it so it would not be unavailable when he had the dough. He would then buy it from his wife the next month at a higher price. Given that the ladies’ purchases(shoes, clothes, etc.) are often cheaper than our indulgence, I would think that the extra $$ in the higher price could mean extra shopping bullets! Win-win for she and you!

Why struggle and pay interest to the bank for unpaid credit on your cards? Pay your girlfriend/wife instead. You’ll get brownie points too for shelling out for her next pair of shoes and you need not miss out on your toy. This strategy hinges on the promptness of you paying the lady back the next month to keep this strategy well-oiled for the next adhoc request.

A downside to this strategy is that the lady will know how much the figure cost. Think Medicom and Enterbay!

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So this sums up some strategies I hope will help all toy collectors who battle the money issue every month. I believe what is important is to enjoy the horde of toys you already have instead of fretting over toys yet purchased.

Feel free to share your thoughts!

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3 responses

21 11 2007
Kenny

Haha interesting read. One thing that I often do is plan my purchases a few months ahead and start saving up for them.

22 11 2007
Toy links : Fanmode

[…] Strategies to beat toy budget bursting syndrome. Suggestions on how to stay within your toy budget. […]

26 01 2011
Jeni

*Spot on with this write-up, I truly think this website needs much more consideration. I�ll probably be again to read much more, thanks for that info.

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