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Life, Comics and Budgets



Where to spend money on?

Ever since my elementary and high school years, I'd always envisioned a time, in the future, wherein I'd be able to raise a nice, happy family (1st priority) and get myself a job which will support my comic book and collectible hobby (2nd priority, yes!).

Lo and behold, I have been ticking off these things in my "to do" list continuously. Have a happy wife (at least that what she tells me :) and two wonderful kids with whom I spend equal amounts of time working homeworks and doing fun stuff like playing videogames with.

My work has also been a blast; not only do I enjoy it immensely (both the work and the people I work with), but it also pays enough (after normal household spending and forced savings) to support discretionary "hobby spending" (comics, collectibles, games etc) of about $400 to $600 a month.

Alas, therein lies the dilemma: what to purchase, with my hobby spending money?

Video games, less of an issue. I try and control this spending more, and only focus on games which I know I will fully complete and possibly repeat. Recent buys have been COD: Modern Warfare 2, RE/BioHazard 5 and Heavy Rain for PS3. Immensely satisfied, still playing now. Since great games like these come out very seldomly, I feel this is an area of my budget which I can control well.

Comic books, well, is more of a problem. Do I spend time and effort bidding or buying my favorite CGC graded, or books I will send in to CGC to get slabbed and graded, online? Or do I spend money buying the latest reader's issue, TPB or Hardcover?

This came to a head recently, when a 9.2 graded issue of Dell Turok Son of Stone #1/FC 596 (2nd highest graded) came out in Ebay. Been looking for this for a long time (I currently have 2 copies, a 3.0 unrestored and a 7.5 qualified). I knew it would probably end up being sold for over $1,000. If I pursue it, would be a great addition to my collection, but also means I will need to curtail spending for 3 to 4 months, more if the bidding goes higher (which was likely).

So I made a decision, to go for an absolute limit of $1,800, right near the end of the bidding. The highest I have ever bid on a single issue. Said to myself, thats the maximum I would pay, anything more will give me diminishing returns in as far as my personal fullfillment in the hobby is concerned.

The bidding ended March 7, with the comic selling for $ 2,088.

Did I feel like I lost something? Well, of course, it made me think, what if I'd gone the extra mile and put in a higher bid, would I have gotten the book or not? What's an extra $200 or so, if I was already willing to shell out $1800 for this?

But then, who knows what would have happened, if I sniped at say $2200? One can easily argue, that the winner of this book may have had a higher max bid/ book meant more to him or her than me.

Was I happy? You bet! A few days after the bidding, I made a trip to Books Kinokuniya (the largest retailer of US comic books and trades in Bangkok where I live), and spent about $200 on TPB's and hardcovers which I'd wanted to purchase and try out for some time. Just finished reading the last 2 TPB compilations of Vertigo's Fables, and Ed Brubaker's Criminal deluxe edition compilation - among the most satisfying and enjoyable reads I'd had in a long time, and to think I would have probably been able to only read this late 2010 had I purchased the slabbed Turok # 1.

This (cost avoidance) has also enabled more aggressive bidding and purchases for less key/ more affordable slabbed books (eg 5 9.6 graded non-key Avengers titles I'd purchased from Worldwide for a little less than $25 per book, shipping included, which I'll be registering soon).

So all in all, not a bad deal.

I enjoy this hobby tremendously, as I assume most if not all of you in this forum do. I look forward to making more of these, well, "tough" but "happy" choices in the future, knowing that in virtually all instances, the result will be well worth it.

Happy collecting!



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