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Hobby / Obsession?

princedravenprincedraven Member Posts: 3,764
edited April 2011 in Collecting
I am fairly new to collecting/building, but am a tad concerned that this is starting to become an obsession.
Judging by the size of some peoples collections and the multitude of posts about sorting and storing etc I am guessing that I am not the only one getting (addicted?) obsessed.

I have spent a small fortune over the past few month, and REALLY could not affort to :(

Has anyone tips on how to keep your spending under control, or am I alone in this feeling and everyone else has it in check?

Just posting this to see peoples thoughts.


  • veedubguy83veedubguy83 Member Posts: 29
    Haha, you are definitely not alone my friend... I recently started re-collecting LEGO's back in October... I originally told myself I only wanted to collect Star Wars themed lego, then I saw the Kingdoms sets and was like I always loved Castle and the medieval themes so I started collecting those, then came Ninjago, although I am not a fan of the spinners and game, I like some of the sets... I recently started collecting city as well and now when I can get my hands of the new Pirates of the Caribbean sets I know I am going to drop more money that I don't really have. I know I have easily spent at least $1,000.00 or more... My rationalization is that my wife and I are expecting our first child in May and I know he is going to love playing with all of Daddies LEGOs when he is old enough :)
  • TervlonTervlon Member Posts: 23
    This may sound bad to say on a forum, but I find that the less I frequent the online LEGO communities the less I spend. I hold nothing against the communities, I love them! Brickset and the rest! However, when I get online it is tempting to get caught in the hype of rare polybags or collectible figs or the newest UCS set. I start to think that I really need this or that. However, its not the case. I've often said that the internet magnifies our passions, whatever they may be focused on. This happens to me when I get online and look at LEGO.

    I'm trying to keep my LEGO budget responsible, too. A few things that have helped me this year to improve. First, a set monthly budget. Whether $25 or $100 the budget is set out from the beginning of the month and discussed with my wife, thus ensuring accountability. If I want to spend more I have to clear it with her and/or get rid of something I have.

    Second, I've decided I'm not a collector, I'm a builder. I don't need everything. I can't get everything. So I'm focusing on certain themes and shifting the spending more to Bricklink piece orders.

    Third, I have a space problem. I simply can't keep things sealed and collecting dust. This keeps me wary of buying too much.

    Find out what aspect of LEGO applies most to you and focus on it. If it is building try to spend more time at the desk building and less in line at Target.
  • princedravenprincedraven Member Posts: 3,764
    Veedubguy83, very very simular experience.
    I too only wanted to collect Star Wars themed.
    I havent branched into Kingdoms or Ninjago, but now have 3 Trains, Hogwarts, Imperial Flagship etc... and am eyeing up the POTC sets :(
    Where there is a slight difference is that I think I have spent in the region of £3000!!
    I have a 4yr old and a 2 month old so I too had convinced myself that they will love them when they get a bit older (the 4yr old loves the small sets already), but in reality that is an obscene amount of money for 'toys'.
    I suppose I kinda fool myself into thinking they are also 'investments' but in reality if you are spending money you havent got its often gonna cost more money in the long run.
    Thanks for the Tips Tervlon, think I will set a firm budget each month going forward.
  • korkor Member Posts: 392
    "spending under control" What are these strange words? They don't seem to make sense together....
  • veedubguy83veedubguy83 Member Posts: 29
    Tervlon, very good points and ideas. I completely agree that if it wasn't for the internet, I would probably have save a lot of money. The other very very big issue for me was that I started working as a seasonal employee for TRU back in the fall for extra money, they have since then kept me on part time, so in essence they fuel my LEGO addiction, and that extra money... Well we know where that goes.
  • davee123davee123 Member Posts: 852
    Spending can definitely go out of control. I tend to find that the most rabid spenders are newcomers to the hobby, coming out of their dark ages. When I entered the online LEGO community back in 1999, I probably spent $50,000 on LEGO within the first 5 years. Luckily, I could afford to back then. But despite having not much of a change in budget, my spending started to drift off, and now I spend a lot less on LEGO every year.


    1) When you're still new to the hobby, you're more likely to buy more. It's still got that "new LEGO smell".

    2) When you're surrounded by crazy AFOLs buying up MORE than you, you'll want to act similarly, and will likely buy more.

    3) Try to remember that luckily for us, there are re-sellers. Back in the early 2000's, people started to catch on that LEGO is valuable on the collector's market, so if there's a set you want from 2000 to present, chances are good you can find a copy. It might be more expensive, but it'll be there waiting for you.

    4) Learn which types of sets come out at what pace, and set yourself a budget accordingly. A lot of hobbyists set a budget, buy a ton, and then are totally caught off guard when a big set comes along (like the UCS Millennium Falcon) that they can't afford. So keep some of your budget in reserve for that set that you know you can't live without!

    5) Sure, LEGO's an investment, but you can still live just fine without it. The difference between being "complete" and "not complete" is psychological-- try to ignore it (if that's contributing to your buying urges-- it was for me). Try to buy what you want, not what you need to be complete.

  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    I've recently made this point elsewhere, that collectors definitely hold tendencies towards obsessive and compulsive behavior. That is OK, as long as one is able to recognize those tendencies and does not let it become a negative life impact.

    The truth is this is a hobby and it provides entertainment and enjoyment. This is what disposable income is for. It's up to you whether you want to go to the movies, skydive, read a novel, play video games, go gambling, etc... or collect and build Lego. All of these activities require an investment of time and money and prove enjoyable activities to participants. It's up to you to decide where you would rather spend your free time and disposable income.

    Now, if anyone finds that they are spending beyond their means or that quality of life suffers because of the time spent on Lego, then I would strongly recommend seeking help. That said, I think that despite all the comments of hurting their wallets and spending too much, most people probably have a healthy, only slightly obsessive relationship to the hobby.

    Overall, the more honest you are to yourself and others about what you enjoy about the hobby, why you do it, and how much you spend on it in terms of time and money, the better off you'll be.
  • PaulTRPaulTR Member Posts: 115
    I don't currently have a full-time job (I'm in my last year of HS, so my life is a mess), so I find it pretty easy to control my "obsession." In fact, I rarely buy LEGO sets: I just get these random flows of a pound here and there from people for free; I think that's a good thing, because like me and video games, I'm pretty addicted to LEGO, but I don't really get a lot of them.

    Where I DO have a serious problem is following the online community waaay too much: I sometimes spend 45 minutes doing nothing but checking up on all the latest LEGO news and deals, even though I probably won't buy anything the deals are talking about. Wait, does that make me a wannabe!? Drat! To steal a phrase from the Slythmonger from "Attack of the Clones" : I need to go home and re-think my life... :)
  • LuciusMalfoy7LuciusMalfoy7 Member Posts: 107
    I'd say to really focus on what you want. Establish a budget - tell yourself how many dollars (or usually hundreds of dollars) to spend in a year. Then, when new sets are announced, pick a few sets that you really, really want. Do you really need every Atlantis set in the theme? Unless you love Atlantis like I love Harry Potter, probably not. I also find that when going to buy (online or in stores) head directly to the set, pick it up, and go to the check out. While your money is in your pocket, you're more tempted to buy that $15 Castle set that you might like a little bit but don't really need.
  • 50missioncap50missioncap Member Posts: 96
    Establishing a budget is a great idea. Problem is sticking to it. I struggle with this as well. I cringe to think of how much I have spent on BL and various purchases in the past year...
  • 12651265 Member Posts: 1,145
    Within the last two years I've been more serious on buying and collecting Lego sets than in the past. Back in the early 1990's, I bought and collected sets but nothing like I do now. It's been like a 15-year gap between my early to late interest in Lego sets.

    I'm a collector not a builder. The last set I opened and built was set 7566 Farmer. I consider this a hobby and I'm obsessed about. I love the hunt....whether it be store sales, online sales, or eBay auctions.....I like the deals.
  • CrackseedCrackseed Member Posts: 90
    Man, it's like I found a support group who all share my same issue >.> I've also recently emerged from my Dark Ages and boy, eBay and the LEGO store in Hawaii are just having a field day with my wallet xD

    Still, I'm enjoying the feeling of collecting LEGO again - I've missed it. I always maintain that LEGO is a timeless item - even if you grow out of it, these things never become useless. You can break them down and create new things and kids always love it. So in a sense, I'm not just building up my collection, I'm also providing my future kids with awesome stuff to enjoy.

    Thankfully my girlfriend also supports my hobby and has actually surprised me with some gifts [bought me the AT-AT for Valentine's Day :O] which has spared my budget a bit of pain, but now with the new Alien Conquest/Star Wars sets looming,'s gonna be a fun year :D
  • mackrelmackrel Member Posts: 75
    One good way to keep the spending under control is to only buy the big sets. That is correct spend more per set = spending less. There is greater satisfaction in building the Shuttle Adventure 10213 vs. the Space Shuttle 3367. I have both. Also, it's a great way to reduce the clutter. The picture below illustrates my point.


    That photo doesn't include my Star Wars, Sponge Bob, City Airport, and so on and so on. My Cafe Corner and Green Grocer are buried under nonsense. I could have done without the Fuel Truck, Camper, and more. But, because I used my money to fuel my OBSESSION I missed out on so many cool sets. The list to long to mention. Also, really try to stick to one or two lines. Bigger sets = a more satisfying collection. Just my opinion.

    Lego.JPG 935.4K
  • pantenkindpantenkind Member Posts: 258
    I think there is something to the coming out of the dark ages argument. I came out after about 20 years last november, and since then I have dropped over 10k..(had to make sure my wife wasnt around to say that :-) ) Now I basically have all the sets I want that are out now and some older sets so I only will have to keep up with new sets as they come out. I dont buy doubles so that helps me as well. Either way we are all obsessed, but we are all happily obsessed!
  • korkor Member Posts: 392
    I'm lucky in that my wife doesn't have any issues with me buying as long as we have the extra money. I sell a lot on Ebay so most of that is my "play" money.

    I don't collect like most people seem to here. There are very few sets that I buy to build as actual sets. I buy mostly for my inventory for MOC building. There are a few exceptions like the mod. buildings and the Medieval Market. I also have a handful of classic sets displayed because it takes me back to when I was a kid.

    I came out of my last dark age about 8 months ago. I used to have a massive collection so I've been buying heavy on bricklink to try and get back to a point where I have enough to start working on some larger MOCs.
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    Keeping track of expenditures is a great way to keep spending in control. It is the same logic as keeping a food diary when you're on a diet: by seeing the actual amount you spend, especially in comparison to your budget, it helps you keep your spending habits in perspective. The ACM in Beta right now is an awesome tool to help you keep track of how much you're spending.
  • Cam_n_StuCam_n_Stu Member Posts: 368
    I too am just out of my dark ages but have so far resisted buying too many sets.

    Brickset's ability to track sets you want is both a blessing and a curse! What is stopping my going overboard on the 'wants' purchases is actually a number of factors; my house is already cluttered, I have a 4 year old son and I like to 'share' the build of most of my purchases with him which is stopping me buying lots of Technic or the Modulars for example and my income has recently taken a hit. So I have resolved to do a number of things:

    1) Never get in to debt buying LEGO (if I did I would have to sell sets or some other cherished possessions on eBay/BrickLink to get out of it - and I really don't want to do that!)

    2) Sell some of the clutter in the house on eBay/Gumtree and then use those funds to buy LEGO. This is versus buying the LEGO now and thinking I'll sell the clutter later! ;-)

    3) Only buy sets that I REALLY want*

    4) Finally, I can see lots of sets due later this year that I really want and I need to make sure I am not all spent out before they are released! I need to be saving now...

    * Actually I am about to break rule 3 with a speculative purchase of a set that is about to go OOP, that I am not at all keen on so I won't be tempted to open the box, and which I expect to rise in value significantly and I'll sell it within the year to fund another purchase.
  • princedravenprincedraven Member Posts: 3,764
    "Actually I am about to break rule 3 with a speculative purchase of a set that is about to go OOP, that I am not at all keen on so I won't be tempted to open the box, and which I expect to rise in value significantly and I'll sell it within the year to fund another purchase."

    I think this is one of my problems, I have done the same on a few sets, but if I am honest with myself I dont think I will let them go.

    I have never had any interest in Trains, however I cant see me letting Emerald Knight go as it is such a lovely set and I know one day I will kick myself for selling it and have to pay double what I got for it.

    I appreciate everyones thoughts on this, lots of good advice too. Cheers. Now got to find a way to turn down the Taj Mahal for £220. Wish me luck!
  • Si_UKNZSi_UKNZ Member Posts: 4,179
    edited April 2011
    Everything I spend goes into an excel file, so I can I keep an eye on my spending rate. Also, its important to keep looking at the big scary total figure, and imagine the type of car you could have bought for it. Actually I think I'm going to drop that jpeg in there just to help keep myself under control.

    PS the answer to your emerald night problem is to buy lots of them, I have another one due tomorrow ;)

    But yes, I believe collecting is a form of obsession.
    But then again, so it love, so it's not necessarily a bad thing...
    So long as youre getting real pleasure out of it rather than just satisfying your greed.

    In toy story the toy collector guy is portrayed as a strange obsessive with no friends who sees the price he can get for things and never plays with them or seems to derive anything from them which gives him any real pleasure. A reminder of what not to become.
  • Bluefox1966Bluefox1966 Member Posts: 360
    I send too much, I don't keep a record as I think it will scare me. Basically if I have the money I will buy it.

    Over the years I have amassed several non-Lego collections, I used to sell at toy fairs as a hobby. What I do is sell stuff I am no longer interested in. I sell this on ebay and store money in my Paypal account then when I see something I like I draw from this account. I'd like to say my Lego was a self funding hobby but I regularly have a short fall of around £150 a month. Not as expensive as say smoking but just as additive :-)
  • dinobricksdinobricks Member Posts: 1
    I too spent a small fortune in the past 14 months...$8500+ USD. I use my three year old as an excuse to buy at the stores. But honestly, my purchases is a lot cheaper than psychiatric treatment:) Kidding aside, sorting my LEGO elements calms my nerves and lowers my blood pressure.
  • korkor Member Posts: 392
    ^ I also find sorting to be very calming and relaxing. I usually sort for an hour or 2 before bed to relax.
  • SenatortombstoneSenatortombstone Member Posts: 8
    edited April 2011
    I just updated my list of sets and the total RRP is $2,896. This is probably close to what I paid for them, not including sale's tax. And, if I were able to locate all the sets I want, the cost of satiating my Lego lust would be $1,725 (it would be more but there was not a RRP for the sets that have not been released). I am 32 and I began re-collecting legos in May 2010. It started out at the Downtown Disney Lego Store. I too tried to blame my three-then, four-now year-old. However, I can admit the trough to you and myself: I am a grown man who plays with legos. There is no going back.
  • fox171171fox171171 Member Posts: 45
    I figure I don't drink or smoke, and as much as I spend on LEGO, it is less than I would if I did. And the LEGO lasts longer.

    Building sets, setting up minifigs, and sorting pieces really relaxes me. With a six week old son (future AFOL?) I need all the relaxing I can get! Though spare time is hard to come by these days. (I get more than my wife does though, so I shouldn't complain!) Can't wait for him to get into LEGO though.
  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Member Posts: 2,683
    That is an excellent point. When I feel stressed or have a headache I go build something and bang I'm cured in about a half an hour. But, the best way to keep the expenditures down is to buy 1 20lb lot on ebay with instructions and you will be busy sorting and putting your " new " sets together for at least 2 months.
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Administrator Posts: 6,754
    It's a great hobby - undoubtedly therapeutic, creative, an investment in the current market, and a passion that your kids can share and ultimately inherit and gain pleasure out of in years to come, before they pass it on to THEIR kids..... Like anything else, it can become an all-consuming and expensive obsession, but if you're the kind of person who finds it hard to draw the line between reasonable and excessive time and money expenditure, you could become obsessed with a lot worse......
  • wander099wander099 Member Posts: 114
    I've found that since coming back I've had the same problem-I just want to have all the Lego :P

    I'm trying a new approach and so far it seems to be bringing my spending under control. First, keep a record of how much you spend on Lego each month. Second, be more picky about the sets you buy and plan based on the sets scheduled to be released (this avoids spending all your money and missing out on something awesome). And third, wait to buy new sets until there is a sale. If they have just come out, they'll be around for a while and unless it is a special set it isn't something that has to be bought right away.

    That's what I'm trying anyway. I need to see how it goes with the new POTC sets, which I want really badly. I think it will take all my will power to walk by those in the store :(
  • MinifigsMeMinifigsMe Member Posts: 2,844
    Ah, a lego support group! Just what I need.
    though you guys are making me feel I can justify my spends far too easily.
    I was feeling guilty about spending £150 on ebay after coming out of the dark ages!
    I also spent about £200 on new sets too.

    I'm weighing up buying 2 of things that I think will increase in price later (like the trains), so I can play and sell the other...does this work, or do you just end up with more lego and no room to store it??
  • Si_UKNZSi_UKNZ Member Posts: 4,179
    @savage_steel ... depends what you think of as working .. its a great way to justify more lego if that's what you mean ;-)

    BTW in answer to your other question about emerald night (thread got closed as i was about to reply wtf!) .. full details on motorising the emerald night here

  • rocaorocao Administrator Posts: 4,290
    ^ Buying extra sets to resell in an effort to offset the cost of the hobby is a viable practice employed by many, including me.

    Some employ the method you mention -- simply buying a second copy of the sets they desire -- and many claim that it completely offsets the cost. Others scoop up any and all discounted LEGO they can find, since most sets appreciate, but it definitely takes a great amount of diligence.

    Either way, there is never enough room :p
    There are a lot of useful tips in the "Buying and Selling" category.
  • rocaorocao Administrator Posts: 4,290
    ^^ I saw that it was closed, as well. I reopened it because I don't think there's anything wrong with it and I think there was a chance I accidentally closed it because I'm fumbling around on an iPad
  • Si_UKNZSi_UKNZ Member Posts: 4,179
    @rocao .... thanks, will post reply there.

    Enjoy yr new toy BTW (hint; if you have sky, check out their new programme guide app, its the best ipad app ive seen so far)
  • MinifigsMeMinifigsMe Member Posts: 2,844
    Thanks guys, I guess I wanted reassurance that my logic isn't too flawed.
    There's a winter toy shop and an advent calender in the loft from John Lewis's post xmas sale. I doubt I'll be able to resist the advent calender next december, but happily I have the toy shop (though at full price :-( ) so I'm pretty happy I can resist opening duplicates.
    But I've already got 2 cupboards of random lego now! Hubby has said I can get the train if I sell some on ebay.
    I've got a HP winged room complete, 7016 ( complete, a 6477 with out the minifigs and 7131 with no instructions (and a couple of tiny bits missing - might replace those before selling).
    Hopefully they would help towards a train. I figure around a tenner for each (perhaps not the fire engine as the new sets are so cheap at the mo...)
  • MinifigsMeMinifigsMe Member Posts: 2,844
    Sorry! I went into a selling whine there, completely off topic, please ignore!
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