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How to fund the Lego hobby

zenparticlezenparticle Member Posts: 38
edited December 2011 in Collecting
I came back to Lego earlier this year. When I got back into it, I realized just how much I had missed it. It quickly turned expensive when one trip to the Lego store was well over $300. Do you have certain rules, self-imposed or otherwise, on your shopping trips, or is it more like a sudden Lego binge? How have you budgeted for collecting Lego?


  • brickupdatebrickupdate Member Posts: 1,020
    Personally, I search for deals (and thanks to all of those in this forum who post them!) in order to get sets below retail pricing. I don't have a set budget, but for nearly everything I buy, I justify that I could earn my money back (or more), if and when I sell it.

    I do buy multiples of some retiring sets with the idea that I could sell one or more of them down the road after the price rises on the aftermarket, and that money would help fund the hobby overall.

    But mostly: I just can't pass up a good sale on a set I really like!
  • dimefielddimefield Edmonton Alberta CanadaMember Posts: 314
    My biggest rule now (about a year out of my dark ages) is only buying sets that are on sale. After watching the cycle of sets coming and going and realizing at some point they all end up on sale sooner or later you can save alot of money. The only sets ill pay full price for now are the exclusives on [email protected] that i cant find here (no Lego store). I budget by whats in my wallet generally, if i can pay cash and the bills are paid I'm buying!
  • vwong19vwong19 San DiegoMember Posts: 1,174
    One word.... Bricklink
  • allmybricksallmybricks Member Posts: 156
    My rules are #1 Pay all my bills (including paying myself long term savings) and #2 Don't buy on credit. Any money in between those 2 rules is open for Lego (among other things). As I came out of my dark ages, I definitely went on a binge, but kept it within my rules above. One thing I did was find a bunch of stuff that was gathering dust from around the house and sold it on eBay... I used that money to fund the binge. Next year, I'll probably carve out a specific amount for Lego each month and will most likely try to save a big chunk of it for the end of the year sales. Sales for me are part of the fun. Nothing is beating building and MOCing, but I'm having some fun right now trying to find the best deals. As other have said, I'm only trying to buy stuff that is less than retail pricing.
  • doriansdaddoriansdad CTCMember Posts: 1,337
    We make sure to only by sets from themes we really like and pass or get minifigs only from themes we are only mildly interested in. We never pay retail...plenty of sales and even better giftcard sales throughout the year double the budget. Selling on the side helps too :)
  • devilheaddevilhead Member Posts: 280
    When I can't buy groceries, I know it's time to stop buy LEGO for the month.
  • zenparticlezenparticle Member Posts: 38
    I can tell you that one of the things I have done to help offset cost is to do online surveys that pay out to Amazon gift cards and Paypal. I get about $50 per month or more for Lego spending through those, though I am thinking a part time job might be needed to continue this hobby.
  • akunthitaakunthita USAMember Posts: 1,028
    A great way to fund your LEGO hobby is to sell some of it on Bricklink. I own all my LEGO free and clear. My rule is what whatever profit comes in from sales is the only money I use to buy new sets. Half of that will go for restocking my shop, and the other half to buy LEGO fo myself..(c;
  • GIR3691GIR3691 Member Posts: 658
    My rules for myself:

    Budget yourself out. Always make sure you can afford to spend X amount on LEGO. I buy the modular buildings (one per year), and then whatever is left.

    Never buy something just because it's on sale, unless you think you can actually use it for parts or think it has resale value. Don't get stuck with worthless crap.

    Never buy at retail. 30% off at the minimum (easier than you think when you're involved in the LUG Showcase window program ;) ). This also usually means never buy from TRU because they very rarely have anything more than 20%, when adjusted for markups.

    When buying stock with the intention of reselling, never buy merchandise at than 50% off. Keystoning allows me to double my investment while still charging around retail (unless the aftermarket value is higher than MSRP). This allows me to resell for profit without resorting to price gouging. I make money, and customers don't charged outrageous prices.

    Create a hierarchy of stuff you want. Have a plan when shopping.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,356
    The simplest way to is buy on sale.
    Watch Brickset for these sales as someone will post a thread or a moderator will put something on the main page
    Also keep an eye on Amazon (add an item to your cart, save it for later, so when you go to your cart at Amazon it will tell you if any prices changed and what the price now is) You have to be quick with Amazon though as sometimes the prices are only good for a night then back to normal the next morning.
    As for TRU, compare their 'retail' prices with LEGO at first before purchasing, that way even BOGO (Buy one get one 50% off) you will have a good idea about how much you are really paying per set (as TRU tends to overcharge now)
    Bundle similar priced items for BOGOs (like two 50 dollar sets, or 2 100 dollar sets)
    Target is only for Clearances as they do not have many sets for sale online or in general, well any sales that really are worth it. Right now they Clearances online, Also check for clearance LEGO IN STORE as they sometime have amazing deals.. That is if another AFOL does not go to the store and buy out the deals.

    Be wary of good deals on eBay for 'in production' sets (sets that can be found in stores now, not sets that have been retired, that is, removed from production by LEGO) as there are a TON of scammers out there...
    You can tell these auctions a few ways.
    1) Prices are WAY too good for the item (75 dollars for a set that is normally 200 in the store, for example)
    2)Check the Sellers other items, chances are they have multiple auctions of the same set, all for the same price
    3) They have a low, or zero, feedback number.
    4) They have a catalog pic, not a pic of the actual set that they took, and their description looks like it was taken from a catalog.
    5) They specifically state 'No Resellers please' sometimes in the auction.
    6) Their responses to messages are often in broken English or are very fragmented
    7) I'm sure this will cause some interesting responses, but I have found to not trust buying from certain countries, all in all I would say buy from your country if it is a big or expensive set, not from overseas (regardless where you are). I believe it is easier for them to get away with your cash overseas, although Paypal prevents some of this.

    Usually these guys 'drop ship' from LEGO using stolen Credit card information
    Before it was one or two guys doing this... Now it seems that there are multiple sellers doing this (I'm guessing they may be a ring of them out there)
    Buying from one of these guys will get you on the notice of Credit card companies, LEGO, or the Police... or all three.

    Now there are instances where there are good deals to be had that are legit.
    1) The seller takes an actual picture of the item.
    2) The description is a 'honest' description (you can tell they wrote it themselves and it is describing the item in some form (and does not look like someone took it out of a LEGO catalog), even if only one sentence-although best to contact the seller if you have any questions)
    3) This usually can occur after a big sale, such as the upcoming LEGO Christmas sale or after Black Friday.
    4) They have more than 0-20 feedback, although this is not ALWAYS the case, sometimes someone gets an eBay account to sell a present someone did not want
    5) Some resellers will have an auction with multiple copies, it seems like the fraudulent sellers have multiple auctions they sell with.
    6) They answer questions with speaking 'broken' english, or other languages I'm guessing

    To be honest most legit sellers on eBay are going to be wanting around retail for their item
  • bellybutton290bellybutton290 Member Posts: 453
    much like most people sensible bugeting is the way to go for me in addition to sets in sales. I think like a lot of people I have had the crazy first "got to have em all" year so I am luckily able to focus on new sets only and limit myself to certain themes and then I rarely buy the big sets. I am also trying to keep to sets I think my young son might want to play with I.E city and star wars but not lotr for example,to get further value from them. Going forward starting next week I will be limiting myself to the sets I really want not just getting ok sets with good figs unless they are cheaper sets and again ones I think my little boy may like in a few years time and then just getting each modular and sw ucs set each year which are totally excessive sets but are amazing, my hope is having this approach should keep me within a £600-£700 per year budget (maybe) . As we know most of the sets to be released for the whole year ahead by christmas (seemingly) this helps me set a tentative budget for the next 12 months and also a plan of how to find the money.
  • legoleppylegoleppy MarylandMember Posts: 71
    I can tell you that one of the things I have done to help offset cost is to do online surveys that pay out to Amazon gift cards and Paypal. I get about $50 per month or more for Lego spending through those, though I am thinking a part time job might be needed to continue this hobby.
    I do the same thing! I got a IF for 98 cents cause of surveys. @zenparticle, which sites do you use?
  • zenparticlezenparticle Member Posts: 38
    The sites I use are:

    They have all been decently valuable, though I have made the most from the first three on the list. It's a simple way to get some extra spending power.
  • legoleppylegoleppy MarylandMember Posts: 71
    I also do OpinionOutpost and: (VERY slow but they do eventual pay)

    and a few others that I am trying out. Simple, kinda addicting and fuel my newly found Lego habit.
  • alaskaguyalaskaguy Member Posts: 333
    I cut back on hookers and blow.  Leaves a surprising amount available for buying Legos.
  • andrewtandrewt Member Posts: 10
    edited November 2017
    ^ Someone please ban this poor and confused soul. Definitely not needed in this discussion or forum. (not to mention needless bumping).
  • JRLJRL UKMember Posts: 86
    I find atm I’m only keen on newly released sets, so sales don’t work for me (and I’m way too impatient). I limit £100 p/m MAX on Lego across all sources, I’m often under so the roll-over adds up.
  • alaskaguyalaskaguy Member Posts: 333
    andrewt said:
    ^ Someone please ban this poor and confused soul. Definitely not needed in this discussion or forum. (not to mention needless bumping).
    Man! Talk about no sense of humour.
  • willobee498willobee498 CanadalandMember Posts: 349
    andrewt said:
    ^ Someone please ban this poor and confused soul. Definitely not needed in this discussion or forum. (not to mention needless bumping).
    Maybe six years ago the joke would've been funny?
  • alaskaguyalaskaguy Member Posts: 333
    You may find it difficult to believe, but not everyone checks the date on every post before they respond to it.
  • pharmjodpharmjod 1,170 miles to Wall Drug, USAMember Posts: 2,877
    Pro tip: if you have to go more than a page or two into any given subtopic on the forum, it's probably an old post. When you go nearly 50 pages in, you are a necromancer if you post to it. 
  • RecceRecce Tiny Little Red DotMember Posts: 897
    A post from Dec 2011!

    It was around that time that I've started to buy Lego en mass. I funded my Lego purchases by cutting back on purchases for my other toys (chogokin, Transformers, other robot toys etc). 
  • MrJacksonMrJackson Member Posts: 323
    I remember '11 well. Had a great summer break from work, started dating my now-wife, watched my Phillies steamroll to 102 wins and a heartbreaking playoff loss. Hadn't gotten back into Lego yet, but it was right around the corner. 

    And I agree about the necromancer comment. Like, c'mon. Can we close this thread?
This discussion has been closed.

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