5 ways to make fandom happen on the cheap

May 6 | Guest post by Kathleen
Here's a collection of the fandom merch found in ONE room of Managing Editor Megan's apartment.
Here's a collection of the fandom merch found in ONE room of Managing Editor Megan's apartment.
My husband and I are both nerdy. Between the two of us, our nerdy obsession list is quite long: DC comics, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Disney, Bruce Lee… etc. And I have a sneaking suspicion that some of you other Homies might also be in a similar nerdy fandom boat.

Unfortunately, when you combine all the orgasmic merch available for each of these fandoms with our limited disposable income, you create a perfect storm for massive credit card debt.

In order to practice self-restraint, these are the five tactics that we've come up with to protect our checking account as we grow our nerdy collections…

1. Prioritize

There's SO MUCH stuff out there and a lot of it is fantastical. But I always try to stop and ask myself;

  • Is it unique? There's less of a rush to purchase something if it's mass-produced than if it's one of a kind, and there's not a whole lot of point in buying something if I already have something similar. That second point can sometimes be a hard sell because I usually want ALL OF IT so I have to really reason with myself
  • Is it worth what they're charging TO ME? Would I feel comfortable spending that specific amount on that specific item? What makes it worth it to me?
  • Do I have a home for it? It's easy to wind up with unnecessary clutter when it comes to collections. If you don't have room for it and can't picture a place where it could go in your home, then it's probably going to wind up being just that.

2. Save up

This one is a no-brainer, but if we don't have the money for something and we decide we really want it, we'll save up for it. Sometimes we will actually include it as a line item in our written budget, other times we will put the change we save up in a jar toward something we've been lemming for. There are lots of saving hacks out there, and if it's something you really want — don't put yourself in debt for it, make it attainable in a money savvy sort of way.

3. Settle

Not really what anyone wants to hear, but sometimes you just have to settle. I really wanted the Harry Potter DVD box set, in fact, I never bought any of them over the years because I wanted to wait. However, a store nearby had a Black Friday sale on movies, and all of the Harry Potter movies were included, for $2 per DVD. At the time, that was around a $60 savings. So I had to make the call whether I was going to settle, or if I wanted to wait longer. I decided to settle and enjoy all 20 hours of Harry Potter right now.

4. Ask for gifts

Not in a weird obnoxious way. But, when your family/friends ask you what you want for Christmas or your birthday, TELL THEM. Be specific. They'll be glad to get you something you really want instead of something generic.

5. DIY when possible

Make your OWN fan art! Between your computer and the craft store, you'd be amazed what you can come up with on the cheap. And then you can submit it to Offbeat Home!

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  1. What about opting for experiences rather than goods? For example, some of my friends and I have silly parties where we dress up and eat a potluck dinner for the TV shows we love. Or rather than spend a lot of money over the year I pick a convention I really want to attend and save like crazy for it. That money is intended to cover badge, transportation, and lodging (though I go in with people on as much as I can with that). Whatever is left can be spent on photo opps, autographs, artwork, or events that require an additional fee.

    6 agree
    • Absolutely! Definitely applicable to experiences as well. Cons can get crazy expensive, so that's a great way to not only fully experience one but really make it special. Love it!

  2. To be honest, this is fantastic advice for buying ANYTHING for the home. The kind of article I print off and stick to the fridge. Thanks!

    1 agrees
  3. just an idea of how to save painlessly, whenever you have loose change put it in a jar, that you won't open until you are ready to go to the con. A friend of mine does this for Ren Faires.

  4. My trick- volunteer to work local conventions. Most will pay you and you get free time to wander the convention and often meet the celebrities for free! Also, the money I make working the convention I allow myself to spend at the convention because it's added funds I didn't have to include in my budget!

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