For reasons I won't get very deep into here at the moment, I've decided that it's time to curb back my spending on cardboard big time, at least temporarily.
During my first decade plus back in the hobby as an adult, I held myself to a very strict monthly budget that was, for most of those first ten years, well under $100 a month. There was an occasional treat to myself if I got a work bonus or something, but for the most part I stuck to this pretty religiously. In fact, I still have fairly meticulous records of what I spent my hobby budget on going all the way back to my return to collecting as an adult in 2007.
After experiencing the unexpected and shocking loss of an extremely close loved one towards the end of 2018 though, I noticed a definite change in my mindset related to my collecting. I was reminded that life is short, and decided that with the job I'd done paying down all of my debt, buying a home, and saving throughout my 20s and early 30s I could loosen up a little and treat myself to some cards that I might never have an opportunity to land "someday in the future". Life is precious, and I decided that as long as I did so responsibly, that "someday in the future" might as well be now. No time like the present, that kind of stuff.
In the wake of that experience, a new scheme was born as far as my budgeting. For the past 18+ months I've allowed myself to effectively spend whatever I want on cardboard, as long as A) all of my bills and life obligations were dealt with first and I remained debt free other than my mortgage, B) I'm saving a good deal of money in my 401k towards eventual retirement, and most importantly C) I saved or invested a dollar outside of and in addition to my 401k for every dollar I spent in the hobby.
For better than a year and a half now this approach has treated me really well, allowing me to focus on landing some bigger fish that I hope to cherish as cornerstones of my collection for decades to come if life cooperates. As I said though, there is more than enough concern on the horizon related to my career, the economy as a whole, and this damn pandemic, that I don't feel comfortable with this approach any longer.
The solution? The dawn of a third phase in my financial approach to collecting, in the form of a challenge to myself. I'm going to try, a month at a time to start here since this will be very difficult for me, to stop spending any money on cards. This sounds extreme, but I'm actually excited about it because the other side of the challenge is that I want to increase the appreciation for the cards I've already acquired, and in turn churn out more blog content. So, not only am I challenging myself not to spend any money on cards in July, but I'm also going to attempt to post to this blog every single day for the entirety of the month!
This is going to be a hard habit to curb, but I'm confident that I can get there for three reasons. First, I'm highly motivated to do so because living through these past few months has really changed my perspective again about what's important in life. Secondly, I've built up a really large backlog of amazing cards over the years that are still waiting for their moment in the sun here on the blog. Finally, I will grant myself two exceptions that will allow my hobby to continue to feel "fresh". I have an eBay Bucks certificate from Q2 for a little over $70 to spend, and I also will allow myself to use any profits I can make from selling cards to land new ones. While I won't be spending any additional money on cards, I will allow myself to use money generated by my existing collection to pick some up if that opportunity presents itself.
So, there you have it, a challenge to myself. 31 days, 31 posts, no money spent on new cards.
Thanks for reading along with me, I know this was a somewhat personal post that is probably not all that interesting to most, so I appreciate it. Because I think every post on a sports card blog should ideally include a sports card, here's just one example of the type of awesome cards that I have backlogged and will be showing off during my new acquisition hiatus!
Like him or not, Alex could hang up the skates today and already have cemented himself as one of the top scorers in NHL history. I certainly don't player collect the guy, in fact with one or two exceptions I don't really player collect anybody these days. Nonetheless, this will make a nice little trifecta of Ovechkin cards when I group it with my Young Guns RC and the sweet acetate Ovechkin I shared last month.
Have you adjusted your hobby spending or otherwise cut back in the face of the current economic uncertainty? Everyone's situation is obviously different, but if you're comfortable sharing I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Thanks as always for stopping by!
The Weekly Clean-Up - - I think I might abandon my baseball frankenset. Thought of a new project that should be more fun. - Placed an order on Cardbarrel. So we'll see...