|2018 MLP Fair purchases, pick-ups, and prizes, Day 1|
I also spend a lot of money and come home with a lot of new pieces for my collection. And when I say a lot, I mean let's reorganize the entire pony room to find space for this stuff kind of a lot. Does this look like pony gluttony? Perhaps, but for three things: budgeting, planning, and time.
If you've read any of my blog before, you probably know that budgeting is my be-all and end-all as collecting goes. I would not get nearly as much enjoyment from my collection if I felt bad about the money I was spending on my purchases. So before I go to a con I have to think about three things: how much do I want to spend, how much do I have to spend, and how much am I comfortable spending? If I can come up with an amount that answers all three of those questions, I'm ready to start spending.
How much do I want to spend is easy: all the money for all the ponies! But of course that's not realistic, so I have to consider how much I have to spend. This amount depends on what my 'fun money' budget looks like at the time. Back when I was paying off my student loans, that amount wasn't huge. Now that the loans are paid off, I have more money to play with. That leads to the third question, how much am I comfortable spending? I have never brought as much money as I could have to a con, because I have never wanted to (actually) spend all my money. I feel much more comfortable having a buffer, which also gives me the option of spending a little bit more if either I find a rare piece or a fun, unexpected side excursion comes up.
Planning goes hand in had with budgeting, because you have to know how much money you have before you can decide what to spend it on. I always make sure my wish list is updated prior to a con (I actually try to review the wish list several times a year, at the same time that I'm updating my collection catalogue. That way it's not a huge project at any time). As much as I know what I have and what I want, it's easy to get overwhelmed in a room full of ponies. The wish list also helps keep me on track while I'm shopping. I don't like to start a con by looking for one or two specific things, because I feel like I'll miss other things I'd be interested in. I prefer to just look around and see what catches my eye. Later in the con, I may choose one or two pieces to hunt for, but I like to keep my options open and be on the lookout for things I didn't think I'd find.
Although I don't do any buying beforehand, I do tend to spend a lot of time on ebay, but looking at sold items. It's good to get an idea of what the current market value is for items you're interested in, so that you know a good deal when you see one, and a bad one too. Buyers and sellers should both be doing their homework before a con, because if you get taken for a ride, you have no one to blame but yourself.
|2018 MLP Fair purchases and prizes, Day 2|
I do about 80% of my collection buying for the year on my Fair trips. So when I come home with a car full of ponies, it doesn't feel like gluttony, it feels like Christmas. Buying this way means I have to bypass those fixes of getting things through the year, but I do save on shipping (and therefore have more money for ponies). The 20% of buying that I do during the year is mainly new items, and the occasional second-hand local find, so I do get some fun additions throughout the year.
I do posts like this not to justify my own collecting, but as a way of exploring the possibilities of collecting on a budget while still enjoying the act of collecting to the fullest. I've been actively collecting for 20 years, I'm not in a rush to 'catch 'em all', and I'm still excited every time I add a new piece to my collection.
Oh, and this year? I get to go to TWO Pony Conventions! Come on Canadian Pony Collectors Extravaganza!