Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A Year of Frugal...uh...Dolling?

A few years ago, I used to visit a blog called A Year of Frugal Gaming. The author intended to devote a year to spending less money on his hobby of miniature war-gaming and focus on modeling, painting and gaming with what he already had or could obtain inexpensively. As I recall, the blog and the project lasted quite a while longer than a year and inspired a number of other folks to try something similar.

 Let's face it, there's a certain aspect of the doll/action figure hobby that is focused on acquisition...maybe obsessive collecting.... OK, hoarding! Not only can you end up with a house full of stuff but for all but the most thrifty few of us, it can be pretty costly as well. Sure we know of people who take thrift store Barbies and create brilliant masterpiece OOAK dolls for next to no money but I'm certainly not that person. So, like a lot of you reading this, I spend a fair amount of money on my hobbies and end up with a fair amount of stuff. I certainly do bargain hunt and have been pretty successful at my "under $50" project I started a couple of years back-LINK. The thing is, I haven't really documented that in a consistent fashion. Also, because it has been a successful project, I've managed to acquire quite a bit more stuff. As I mentioned at the time, I was inspired to find alternatives to to boxed military/action/adventure figures which have now trended in to the $150 USD and up price range. But if you spend say $30 each on five older boxed figures instead $150 on one, you have five boxes taking up storage space. I won't deny that I've found a lot of cool stuff for relatively cheap the last couple of years but I have A LOT more cool stuff to store! If I spent the next year just documenting what I have and didn't buy anything at all, I could stay quite busy. I don't have an exact inventory but I think I could post weekly for a year and not run out of material.

So, with my recently announced GI Joe and Obitsu projects for 2015, I started thinking about what I would need to prepare the figures I'm going to feature. And yes, I have some items to buy but for the most part, I'm planning to use what I have. This wasn't initially a conscious decision but as I started to compile my project lists, it occurred to me that there weren't any real major purchases needed for me to do it. Carrying this line of thinking through to its apparently logical conclusion, I wondered, if I have most of what I need to carry out my plan for 2015, then what DO I really need? Hmmmm....
I'm sure I'm not alone in needing to spend less money more wisely. While I try to keep personal stuff to a minimum here, the last few years have seen household income remain stagnant while expenses have increased considerably. And while I'm not suggesting that I simply stop spending any money on my hobbies, I'm curious to see how far I could go without spending very much.

Of course, all this circles back to the acquisition side of the hobby. There are always those things that you already want and those things that will become available in the course of the year. There's that grandiose plan that hasn't occurred to you yet. A certain degree of impulsiveness also comes with the territory, so I can't tell you now, in November 2014, what I might want to buy or do in May 2015. I might be totally satisfied at the moment but the "OH EM GEE must have now!!" item(s) could be just a few months away. So yeah....

I guess my challenge for the coming year then is not to stop spending entirely but to keep focus. Spending less and doing more with what I have is important but I also need to avoid the temptation to buy something, especially multiples of something, simply because it's cheap. Can I do it? I'm not sure but I can certainly try!


  1. Hi, I know what you mean! I also spend a lot of money on dolls, mostly second hand and discontinued lines, but still... too much :-). I break my rules every now and then to buy new dolls too. Right now I decided to focus on 1/6th scale dolls and get rid of a lot of the larger dolls, also to have a more uni-look on my shelves. Good luck with your challenge!!!

  2. What a challenge you have set yourself, I commend you! I hope i can take a leaf from your book and do the same, but knowing how impulsive I am, I doubt if I will suceed. i certainly wish you the best of luck though.

  3. Admittedly, impulsiveness is a major issue for me. I have a bad tendency to shop when I'm online and of course, I can ALWAYS find something I just have to have. I need to try and do better, so here's hoping this goes well!

    Night Owl, I love hearing that you're planning to focus more on 1/6 scale. I enjoy dolls and figures of all scales but 1/6 is closest to my heart.