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How do you buy LEGO on a budget?

omgitsrenzoomgitsrenzo Member Posts: 46
edited January 2012 in Buying & Selling Topics
Just a little question for you AFOLs out here.. Anyway, Being a student and a serious Lego collector is a really bad combination. I often did myself running out of money and being to broke to go out with friends since I spent most of my cash on legos.
To supplement my Lego collecting I often ask friends to buy sets for me as a favor in return for work.. I also even thought about doing peoples homework in exchange for legos or Money for legos

I work hard to earn my keep of Lego and Im curious to know how you AFOLs out there would use to get extra money to buy legos when you were a teen

Oh .. And I'm willing to work for legos .. Just saying :D


  • BTHodgemanBTHodgeman Member Posts: 622
    edited January 2012
    I didn't have a single LEGO set until I was 15-16 and got a job. At that point, my job paid for my LEGO hobby. Nearly all of my income was "disposable," other than car insurance and cell phone bill.

  • omgitsrenzoomgitsrenzo Member Posts: 46
    Woah .. Well I amcurrently 16 right now but no Job yet sadly :/ I work for local concerts and stuff as a manager since I always go and I'm a mosh pit warrior and stage diver but I make 40 a month picking up my neighbors paper so it helps
  • BTHodgemanBTHodgeman Member Posts: 622
    Well, then I'd say you're doing the right things. One way to make your money stretch a bit further may be to check Craigslist and garage sales.

    This won't always get you sets, but it can be a cheap way to get a lot of bricks.

  • IstokgIstokg Member Posts: 2,366
    1979-92.... plundering the toy stores of Germany and Austria... back then the USA line of sets was only a fraction of what was available in Europe... and there were no parts packs available in the USA, except thru mail order.

    Picked up a lot of rare parts and sets that way, especially hitting the small town toy stores...
  • legoDadlegoDad Member Posts: 529
    @omgitsrenzo...when I was your age I worked a couple days a week at night washing dishes, sold some of my collectables (baseball cards, comic books) to have going out money with my friends (no eBay back then). Even when I was 10 - 12 I shoveled snow and dug out peoples cars for a couple of bucks to buy junk food and comics (I miss that time).
    Look around for part-time work after school. You seem to like music so maybe you can find partime work in the electronics and music sections of retail shops in your area.
    Maybe at those local concerts ask the bands if they need help (especially if they're new) with designing promo for them or handing out or selling their promo for a few dollars. Couldn't hurt to ask. You never know...:)
  • LambringoLambringo Member Posts: 104
    Unfortunately you may have to get a part time job. From personal experience the best job that is reliable and readily available is working in a supermarket or something like a target/kmart but work on the floor, not checkout. I did that from 15 to 18 and it was decent money. From memory (10+ years ago) I was getting $9 to $16 an hour but this is in australia but the dollar value is about the same as usa. Avoid fast food places or anything where you go home smelling like a food.
  • MinifigsMeMinifigsMe Member Posts: 2,844
    If you've got a bit of start up cash, get a bulk buy of lego on ebay and part it out for bricklink, or separate into sets and sell individually. time consuming, but would make you money.
  • trypticontrypticon Member Posts: 61
    Omgitzreno, as a serious Lego collector and a college student, I'm kind of surprised you had friends to go out with, anyway. No offense intended at all. As a lifetime serious lego collector, I've more often than not realized that my hobby meant I was left out in the cold in terms of peer groups.
  • omgitsrenzoomgitsrenzo Member Posts: 46
    Omgitzreno, as a serious Lego collector and a college student, I'm kind of surprised you had friends to go out with, anyway. that my hobby .
    actually Im a Highschool Student AND a serious collector the sets I buy I keep in mint condition , stored in a room temperature area , disinfected hands when I handle ( to limit oils on the pieces). haha and no offense taken! im open with my lego collecting habit and most people think its rad. As I said before I go to alot of concerts and I do sports ( track , swimming), I perform alot, go to the movies and dinner with friends so Im pretty much an average Highschool student... but at the same time not average with the fact that I seriously collect lego's
  • vwong19vwong19 Member Posts: 1,191
    I didn't come out of the dark ages until my late 20's after I stopped playing with Legos when I was probably 10 (I can't recall the exact age, but baseball cards became a priority). When I was 10 I didn't buy any. When I started collecting again, I had a decent job and I now find it funny that I was wondering if 2 Imperial Dropships was too much.

    So to answer your question, I used to buy Lego thinking they were over priced and meant for children. Had I known then what I know now...

    I worked in food service when I was in H.S. and it sucked. Stay away.
  • cavegodcavegod Member Posts: 811
    Well i'm a student and Bricklink pays for my hobby, i also buy lego from ebay, car boot sales and charity shops, sales in shops etc. i sell the parts i don't want to buy the parts i do want, don't really buy sets to keep just to sell. I have never bought Legos or even know where to get them??? ;-)
  • omgitsrenzoomgitsrenzo Member Posts: 46
    There aren't really that many people interested in legos where I live ( or so I think) but I get legos at my local discount stores like Marshalls but I usually get them at walmart or something ... I'm not really to familiar with how to use bricklink as a way to make a bit of cash
    hah I don't dream of working in a fastfood place... I could do better and I don't even eat fastfood
  • BTHodgemanBTHodgeman Member Posts: 622
    "Technically," BrickLink also doesn't let minors use the site...

  • nodnarb162nodnarb162 Member Posts: 58
    @omgitsrenzo im in the same boat, only worse :O! im about to turn 17 and I just moved across the contry to canada from the states last march, I cant even work yet because I cant get my social insurance number until I have proof of citizenship, so its all a long icky process, but I should have it in a couple of weeks! and to make things better they are opening a TRU here, maybe I will try and get a job there >:D! but its rather sad...ive hardly bought any lego in 2011 because of my lack of money, i really like the AQ stuff but im afraid im probably going to miss it :(
  • trypticontrypticon Member Posts: 61
    Nodnarb162, I would strongly suggest against working at a Toys R Us unless you really love bratty kids that complain about what their parents can afford while they are checking out, often leaving the parent crying on their way out of the store.

    I was nineteen when I started working at one, and already didn't like kids. I couldn't believe how greatly working at that place shaded my outlook on them even further. I'm thirty-five now, and still don't have any kids of my own.

    To top things off there, the day I was going to quit, I was hit by a secret shopper in my line who asked what I thought about the job. I told her straight out that I didn't like kids. She promptly reported this to the manager, and I was called back into the lunch room right away so he could fire me for NOT LIKING KIDS! GASP!!!
  • nodnarb162nodnarb162 Member Posts: 58
    ^ :P thanks for the advice, as far as bratty kids go, before I moved my income was from babysitting, and I had some bratty kids....once they even tried to strangle me. so I've dealt with that a lot, I have a lot of younger brothers and sisters so I know how to deal with kids, and I'm far from disliking kids :) but I still wouldn't want to deal with that on a daily bases
  • omgitsrenzoomgitsrenzo Member Posts: 46
    edited January 2012
    woah... Really? I expected toys r us workers to like .. Love kids ... Do you get any cool like discounts on merch?

    @BTHodgeman .. Don't you have to be at least 18 to use bricklink?
  • BTHodgemanBTHodgeman Member Posts: 622
    Yes, 18.
  • pantenkindpantenkind Member Posts: 258
    A lego hobby on a budget? Its called a Mega blocks hobby :-)
  • doriansdaddoriansdad Member Posts: 1,337
    edited January 2012
    When I first started collecting 7 years ago money was tight and I couldn't buy many sets. I purchased multiples of a few star wars sets on clearance. A few years later I was surprised to see their value and quickly sold them on ebay which allowed me to purchase more sets. Every year the cycle keeps going and my collection and funds for the hobby keep growing. I make sure never to pay retail, always wait for a sale or clearance to maximize value, never buy newly released sets unless they are gifts, always buy the sets that will be discontinued first. Plenty of credit card promos, bonus cash, groupon deals etc helped get my collection where it is today.
  • trypticontrypticon Member Posts: 61
    edited January 2012
    woah... Really? I expected toys r us workers to like .. Love kids ... Do you get any cool like discounts on merch?
    Nah, I liked toys, not kids. I also liked some of the moms who had kids, because some of them were around my age at the time.

    Unfortunately, employees at Toys R Us enjoy NO discounts on ANY for of merchandise. At least, they didn't at the time. Perhaps they felt it was a convenience even for the people who worked there to be able to pick up things at jacked up prices. The hours were few, and the pay was little. Gas to and from the place was a load though, and it meant that I wasn't able to really save anything from that place.
  • omgitsrenzoomgitsrenzo Member Posts: 46
    @doriansdad yeah moneys tight for me to! since my parents make me pay for all my own stuff and schoolwork is getting in the way of money ..i like you little cycle of buy,keep and resell though.. I might try that out

    @trypticon woah...I was really hoping to work there for a year just to get discounts but then again I just wanted discounts on lego, So I think Ill just work at the Lego Store in Downtown Disney Orlando...problem is...its an hour and a half away
  • nodnarb162nodnarb162 Member Posts: 58
    ^ That was my same thought for working there...not so much anymore. And my money is uber tight, I have hardly been able to buy anything except CMFs this year :/
  • momof2boys99momof2boys99 Member Posts: 322
    You sound like you are on the right track. My son is 15. He works around the house for money. He also does yardwork at his grandparents in the summer to earn Lego money. He also had the benefit that he has been collecting since he was 3, so he sometimes resells to get money for sets.
    >>>On a side note....I did work fast food at a young age and it didn't kill me. I made good money and it was very flexible hours. Did I like it?.....not really, but if you need money it is an option. Good luck to you. Lego is an expensive hobby.
  • OdinduskOdindusk Member Posts: 763

    I hear ya. The day I turned 16 I ran up to McDonald's as fast as I could to apply. Did I know the job would suck? Of course! Did I care? Not a bit! My life pretty much revolved around video games at that time, and having a job meant going from receiving a video game as a gift a couple times a year, to being able to buy 1-2 a week.

    Not a terribly responsible use of my money, but hey I was 16! It was great fun.
  • omgitsrenzoomgitsrenzo Member Posts: 46
    @nodnarb162 me neither actually :/ mostly CMFs ... when I was looking through the boxes, alot of them were actually opened and it was tempting not to take any. Most of the sets I got this year were from persuasion :/

    @momof2boys99 yes lego is an expensive hobby... and it doesnt help that my parents arent AFOLs like alot of Brickset forum members...I mostly buy all my sets myself or as I have said earlier , presents from people

    @Odindusk hmm I was actually really tempted to work at a fastfood joint for money ...but its really at the bottom of my list of things to do right now
  • nodnarb162nodnarb162 Member Posts: 58
    ^ I wish I could persuade my parents to buy stuff for me, but they dont have to money to, my dad still doesn't have a solid job, and we have a family of 12 to feed.

    My parents dont like LEGO either, so I buy my own stuff.

    And as far as working somewhere...if it pays well I dont care :P
  • omgitsrenzoomgitsrenzo Member Posts: 46
    @nodnarb162 hah actually I meant persuasding like ...friends haha They buy me legos, I work for them I said, Im happy to work for my fix!
  • nodnarb162nodnarb162 Member Posts: 58
    lol :P well thats another down side to moving...I dont know many ppl close by Haha..
  • MaverickDengoMaverickDengo Member Posts: 25
    Hi! Nodnarb162s twin here! I'm in the exact same situation as he is. So I would like to join this conversation! :P

    Also this is my first post on these forums! :O

    Unfortunately, I haven't been able to buy ANY sets for nearly a year. :'(
  • vwong19vwong19 Member Posts: 1,191
    I had to save all my gift money when I was a young teen to get baseball cards... what a waste of money that was. I wish I spent it on LEGO like you guys are.

  • omgitsrenzoomgitsrenzo Member Posts: 46
    @vwong ...its a hard not to mention hobby my friend but its fulfilling

    @MaverickDengo Welcome to the forum! I joined about a month ago so im still fairly new! yeah man I just get CMFs most of the time...its not much compared to what all these other AFOLs can buy but hey moneys tight gotta spend it wisely these days
  • MaverickDengoMaverickDengo Member Posts: 25
    @omgitsrenzo Thanks! I have recieved some lego, but not much, And none of it I have bought myself. Anyways, I hope to get a job soon... 2012 looks like it's going to be an expensive year to buy lego.

    Also, it turns out that was my second post... I posted on some topic back in June, But I had completely forgotten. :P
  • omgitsrenzoomgitsrenzo Member Posts: 46
    @MaverickDengo thats why I mostly wait for sets I want to go on clearance !
  • Mad_DogMad_Dog Member Posts: 71
    Hi, for new sets you have to decide what you can and cannot afford, for second hand it is a bit more tricky, for eBay auctions I set a max price that I would pay, and NEVER NEVER bid over it, no matter what, to avoid being sucked into a bid-increase bid tornado that may get you paying much more that you should.


  • Silber334Silber334 Member Posts: 147
    If I can, I try to buy them off ( ie, the american site ) and have them shipped to where I live. Despite the shipping fee and import duties, it's still much cheaper than buy them here at discount prices.
  • emilewskiemilewski Member Posts: 482
    While I am older now and have a good job and income, I try and keep my hobby self-supporting as much as possible. To that end, I only buy on sale/clearance now. I go to tag/yard/garage/boot sales that are in my local area every Saturday in the summer months in the hopes of the "great find". I have been lucky twice and either keep or sell it depending on the find. Open a bricklink store to sell the stuff you don't want/need.

    And don't forget the power of networking. Personally I am proud of my hobby and mention to anyone and everyone in passing about my LEGO hobby. On more than one occasion people have given me old sets they had lying around with no use for anymore, which I quickly sold to buy sets I wanted.
  • Brewer51Brewer51 Member Posts: 248
    I'm a University student and I only buy sets when they're discounted. I don't think I've paid full price for a set since I started collecting, but I've never bought a set that was worth more than £50. My advice would be to be patient. I'm waiting on my next cash injection to buy the Tower Bridge, which is 160 Euros on the Spanish Amazon, so as soon as money comes in I'm taking advantage of that. It's about being patient and waiting for the right price for the right set.
  • CCCCCC Member Posts: 20,556
    edited March 2012
    On some sets you can often strip out minifigs and sell them for more than the value of the set. I've done that with quite a few star wars and harry potter sets. It gives you a little cash over, and lots of free parts!
  • GalidorneveragainGalidorneveragain Member Posts: 89
    I buy most of my Lego full priced, the reason why I do this, is because I want to help the company to prosper and succed, we don't want what happened in the late 1990's and the 2004 era to happen again for Lego...
    But for other items I purchase at dscount prices such as books or electronics, this is sought of a way to counter balance the money I have spent on Lego.
  • gmpirategmpirate Member Posts: 1,654
    ^ I know you're coming from a good place, but really this practice does not help Lego. The only thing that keeps a company afloat is creating a great product that people want, marketing it well and running an efficient operation.

    The minute any company or individual is paid, or subsidized regardless of output, it will flounder without incentive. If you want evidence of this you can visit any government office or subsidized business in the US like the auto or airline industry.
  • legoleppylegoleppy Member Posts: 76
    I do a lot of online survey sites. They pay ~$1-5 per 20-40 minutes. Not the best but while watching TV I do surveys and make money. I have bought the 3 winter sets, IF, 2 FLW architecture and the Black Pearl all for free; and I have only been out of the dark ages since last spring/summer.
  • CaptAPJTCaptAPJT Member Posts: 223
    Buying anything on a limited budget requires planning and discipline. No matter how old you get there's always something that makes your money disappear, in many ways the money I made from my first job was the best because it was all absolutely disposable to spend on whatever I wanted. Admittedly at the time this wasnt Lego, it was Driving lessons and socialising etc. Now almost a decade later I reckon I have very little extra disposable income as I'm paying things like rent and bills.

    So, my advice;
    First, as much as its a cliche, "Beggars can't be choosers" No matter how much a job sucks money is money, at 16 your probably not going to get a great job. Just remember its a means to an end.

    Second, Budget and Save. Don't blow all your money on sets as soon as you get it. Try and work out how much you need for the month and then spend what what you have left, it's good training for future life
  • Lego_Lord_MayorcaLego_Lord_Mayorca Member Posts: 619
    To make a long story short, do what I, a fellow meticulous collector and care-taker of Lego, did in his high school and college years: sacrifice. Learn to accept that you can't have it all, and develop a discriminating taste for what exactly you really want. In the long run, you'll be happier, save more money, and be able to maintain that same balance in your social life. Then, once you get a job, you can go back and get a few of those sets you missed from back in the day. It's what I did (and doing), and so far, it's working out great!
  • jwsmartjwsmart Member Posts: 298
    Good money can be made by scouring the clearance racks, picking up discounted sets, and selling off the minifigures. Especially Star Wars, which fetches some stupid price for minifigures.

    It might pay better per hour than a burger-flipping job...
  • BrickarmorBrickarmor Member Posts: 1,258
    edited March 2012
    This kinda follows from the Brag thread and the How do you store your collection, two prime sources of my Lego envy...

    I'm new. My wife is, let's say, bemused by my recent spending splurge (of her
    money, I might add). I guess it's gotten to be around $500-600 since the new year.
    I claim somewhat honestly that all my purchases are "for our son." Except the
    Hypersonic Aircraft, that's Daddy's. So, a question for all you vets from the
    diehard to the occasional: what's realistic for a new collector? How do you (or
    do you) determine a budget? Or is it a completely irrational monkey-see-monkey-buy
    phenomenon? Does it get easier over time??? I know, I know, everybody's financial situation is different, some
    buy to trade, others buy to build and keep, money's a sensitive issue... Just scratch my curiosity itch
    however you please... And convince me, I dare you, that no "man-cave" can be built in a day.

  • littletokilittletoki Member Posts: 519
    Step away from the bricks now while you still can. ;)

  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas Member Posts: 8,404
    Step away from the bricks now while you still can. ;)

    Amen to this...

    $500 you say? Ha! You think that is a lot, wait a few months, it'll be $5,000. It happens so easily...
  • beatlefan1966beatlefan1966 Member Posts: 31
    Oh, you just made me laugh!! A few years ago, while visiting the Lego store at Downtown Disney, I picked up a $5 polybag of a pumpkin and a $5 polybag of a turkey, thinking they would amuse children who came to my office (I'm an elementary school principal). I had so much fun putting them together that my husband bought me Cafe Corner for Valentine's Day. And THAT was so much fun, I had to have ALL the modulars, and we love Paris so I HAD to have the Eiffel Tower, and THAT was so much fun that I HAD to have the Taj Mahal, Tower Bridge, Grand Carousel...and then last Christmas, he bought me the Imperial Flagship, Space Shuttle, Technic Crane and Excavator, all the Winter Villages...and once I had the Imperial Flagship, I HAD to have Queen Anne's Revenge and the Black Pearl...then a friend cleaned out her garage so we bought 100 pounds of loose Lego for $500 (which included the Ferris Wheel and a Millennium Falcon!!), which I am currently still sorting...I guess all this is to say that no, it doesn't get easier! Oh, and we bought every Friends set for our five-year-old granddaughter for when she visits. (And did I mention the room we remodeled to hold all this Lego????) And to think it all started with those two polybags.......
  • SirKevbagsSirKevbags Member Posts: 4,027
    Spend what you can afford. This is different for everyone. If buying Lego means you miss the important payments like mortgage, rent, utility bills etc then you have major problems and its time to step back.
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