A COLLECTOR’S BURDEN

Colin Alston
M Colin Alston, Author, Illustrator & Consultant
Personal Finance

Mar 09,2018

I was giving permission to use a post on FB by a friend of mine that I thought would make a great article about the habit of collecting.

David Goetz, host of the Facebook group Friendly Recommendations,

https://www.facebook.com/groups/249048865587413/

briefly talked about the woes behind being a collector, and what to do in as far as budgeting your money and the items one collects so you can avoid breaking your bank. Here is what David posted:

This is a bit of an odd share…but stay with me here…

 

So, over my lifetime, just about everyone I’ve known is a collector, or something of the like. It could be games, movies, figures, dishes, statues, make-up, comics…. I have even seen lawn items, children’s clothes, plastic tubs, matchbox cars…. I’ve seen it all. I myself have always been a collector and let me tell you how I finally broke it out of me:

For myself it was primarily pop culture items and I believe my reasons always would have been,

—support this creator, 

—support that company, 

—show how much I love this “X” genre, or 

—because I’ll use it “X” amount of times. 

That last one isn’t that bad of a reason, the first few however noble, just didn’t make any sense to me any longer.

So, to break my “bad” habit, I finally restricted myself to 3 steps:

1) collect something inexpensive,

2) calculate the amount of usage, verses its worth and ability to be reused,

3) instill a constant reminder of number 2. 

 

Every time I thought of buying or adding a new one I examined step number 2. Sooner or later the collection grows to where you see you just cannot keep up with it all, even at a low rate. 

I am at an age now where my “maturity” just reminds me that too large of anything means I have no time for new things, so there is no reason to add to a collection unless it meets the standards of the step number 2. And each new item I initially wanted had the potential of breaking my bank, which made it harder for me to devote the amount of invested time I no longer have to acquire those new collector’s items.

I write this post because we all have a bit of a collector in us. Breaking that habit when it gets out of hand really does free up some of our funds (no matter how small), which enables us to do more with our free money and time. 

So, the next time you feel the itch to add to a collection ask yourself how much you’ve used that very last item you added, and one of the very first items you’ve added. It might just enable you to skip it and go enjoy something you already own.”

This was my response to what I thought was a very interesting post:

“I myself went cold turkey on the comic collecting. Mostly because there is such a saturation of the market. Unless you have a mint condition first issue Action Comics or a number one Amazing Spider-Man, you won’t get much out of your collection, except a great amount of nostalgia (which could be good or bad). It’s merely for the love of comics (artists and writers in particular) that I amassed a large collection of comics. I did think at one point that my collection could be added to my 401k plan, but like I said, a saturation of the market has ended that plan. At 45 years young, I had to say, enough is enough. How many comics am I going to have before I am satisfied. I do get the odd manga every once in a while, but as far as American comics, I’m done.”

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