“There is no way I would pay $250 for a Yoda lamp!”
The fact is, some people would pay that much for a Yoda lamp. There are those who spend thousands of dollars to buy collectibles and support their hobbies. It’s great if you have the funds to do this. Follow your passion! However, I and many others fall into the poor nerd category. Fandom and hobbies often fall at the end of the budget. I’m a bookworm who loves all sorts of fandoms. It’s really hard not to blow all my money on it. Books are an especial weakness. I still really want to purchase a few figurines from Hot Toys. I know it’s just not possible. There is always a bill that comes first. However, there are some ways you can still snag some goods and nerd out to your heart’s content.
(All advice is based on personal experience of the author and others.)
First, try your local library. You don’t always have to own each new book that comes out. It’s a hard thing to resist, but you can do it. I checked out Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology from the library. What if you spend the money on a book and it’s terrible? The library is a good way to experience the book first and then decide if you want to purchase it later. My local library also has a good fantasy and science fiction section to read. Another bit of advice is to check out free book websites. Freebooksy is great for posting daily free deals that are available on Amazon. ManyBooks.net is also great.
For the Convention Goer:
Try to shop ticket presales. They are usually better than door prices. Put money aside for conventions as well. It’s no fun running out of money at a con — or standing in long lines at the ATM hoping it does not run out of cash. Believe me, a con is a merchandise and fan-op temptation. I indulged once for a photo with Stephen Amell and John Barrowman. However, it was pretty expensive. Be sure you have the money to do such a thing.
I’m usually months behind on games. $60 is way too much to pay for a console game. I consulted the experts, as in our editor Jason, who says:
My biggest tip would be to watch for sales and discounts. Games usually drop in price very quickly after release, so it’s almost always best to wait at least a few weeks after release, if not a couple of months, before picking up a new game. There are websites that can help you track when and where to find the best game sales.
I’ll admit to being a cheap cosplayer. I don’t have the money to spend too much. However, I love to dress up. I consulted Celeste on her best money-saving cosplay tips:
For cosplay, I would say look at thrift stores, not just for actual clothes but fabric (or linens that could be used as fabric), notions, patterns, etc. Also of course sales and coupons for places like Jo-Ann or Hobby Lobby. Apps like SnipSnap and RetailMeNot are good for coupons.
Shop sales and use promo codes. Try not to pay full price if you can help it. Websites like ThinkGeek usually have a promo code you can use or they have a sale going on. Search sites like eBay for reduced prices on collectibles. Facebook has groups devoted to selling anime items and collectibles. Never give up the search!
I hope these tips helped. Of course, there is no price on loving a fandom.