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Ugh, this hobby is so expensive!

Not really complaining, just stating a fact. How do you guys do it? In what ways do save money?
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Comments

  • SchwallexSchwallex Member Posts: 121
    I don't own a car. Easy as that.
    brickupdatebobabricks
  • BuriedinBricksBuriedinBricks USAMember Posts: 1,367
    I focus as much as possible. I pretty much only buy Super Heroes and modular buildings. Anything else is only if I find an amazing deal.
    piratemania7
  • suprajamessuprajames UK SussexMember Posts: 366
    edited August 2014
    Shopping around for sets is one way I try to save some money, I always look on Ebay then check Bricklink as sets are usually cheaper on there. Take advantage of the Amazon deal checker on the main site and also the shopping section on the forum for current deals. Depends if you collect one main theme (mine is Star Wars) or you just collect all Lego in general, which I guess would be much more expensive as so many themes out there. Vintage sets are always going to be more money and are more desirable, I am missing loads of old SW sets mainly due to their very high second hand prices. Buying direct from Lego also helps, get a VIP card and collect the points, make use of the double points months, them use them on sets you really want. I currently have over 1000 VIP points, I am saving for the UCS SW set due at the end of the year. Like anything you buy just shop smart and look for bargains , they are out there :)
    carlq
  • 12651265 The Great State of TexasMember Posts: 1,031
    Having a good paying job also helps. ;)
  • LegoManiaccLegoManiacc Member Posts: 116
    I've been buying sets half off from CA and AZ but those outlets have dried up recently.
  • 12651265 The Great State of TexasMember Posts: 1,031
    ^^
    Plus Long Island New York.
  • brickupdatebrickupdate Member Posts: 1,020
    So, you can use forums such as this one to find really good deals (usually seasonally.) The DOWNSIDE I found with this is that you may end up OVER-buying. That happened to me. It was hard to resist Fire Brigade at $119, so you end up with 6 of them.

    I got rid of most of my LEGO last year, and now just buy sets I LOVE, and try to stick to a handful of themes. For me it is modulars, superhero minifigs (not sets), and then a couple of the cars (Back to the Future, VW Bus, Ghostbusters.) I have a VERY specific shelf space available for LEGO, so anything I own MUST fit on that shelf.

    This means I have to "let go" of the idea of owning other really cool sets. Little to no Star Wars (even though I love the theme, no Simpsons house (even though it looks cool), etc.

    Setting self-imposed boundaries really matter here.
    LegoboymadforLEGO
  • DoubleDDoubleD Oklahoma, USAMember Posts: 488
    edited August 2014
    You don't have to end up buying 6 of something because it is a good deal. You can just buy 3 of them.
    JenniLegoManiacccarlqLegoboyMatthewRonyar
  • brickupdatebrickupdate Member Posts: 1,020
    @doubledbrick‌ Ha! Excellent point! :)
  • rancorbaitrancorbait Manitoba CanadaMember Posts: 1,850
    Legoboy said:

    I only have one kidney.

    Your wife and kids probably each have only one as well.

    ;oP
    bobabrickscarlqGothamConstructionCo
  • tamamahmtamamahm Member Posts: 1,979

    I've been buying sets half off from CA and AZ but those outlets have dried up recently.

    Did you see the post about the seller in AZ that got arrested? Person selling sets, some of which had been stolen. ;-)


    My discounts have been slowly drying up.
    After Christmas sale at Lego? Gone.
    Good after Christmas at Walmart after Christmas and in the summer? Basically gone.
    Target sales? Eh. I lucked out this year, but it was sheer luck.
    Barnes and Noble discount? Gone.
    10% off coupon at the Lego store? Gone.

    Overall it is frustrating, and I have now been buying less. There are still some deals out there, but it is much harder.
  • Bosstone100Bosstone100 USAMember Posts: 1,434
    That's what happens when you broadcast things on the internet... oh and you try to make a hobby a money making venture.
  • mathewmathew Member Posts: 2,098
    I've actually hit a lot of good deals the past few months. Too many. I cleaned up on the Target clearance. But now I am holding back on purchases. Recently I hated to see two Sea Cows on Amazon Warehouse for $190 and not buy one. Like others have said, you really need to focus on one or two themes. However I will buy a single set from a theme if it strikes my fancy. In the end it's really tough with all of the great sets Lego is currently releasing. I pretty much like the whole summer Star Wars wave and would buy it all if I had the money and space.
  • Bluefairy_56Bluefairy_56 Member Posts: 320
    It sure is expensive. I started out collecting Harry Potter sets, I then went off them after I bought the Haunted House...this got me hooked on modulars and I can't get enough, I have 5 here and 3 on layby. I love trains, but won't pay the expensive price for the Emerald Express, the normal size not the little one. So I bought the Lone Ranger's Constitution Train Chase instead. I don't like the modern trains.

    I never buy more than one of any set, I'm not into selling them for profit or breaking them up for parts. So I either save up for what I want, or I layby. It's the easiest way to go.
  • legogallegogal USMember Posts: 755
    We save by not paying $100-200 a month for cable tv, which mostly plays just trash in the US. We don't get the enlightened channels available in Europe and other places. We don't watch TV, which saves us a lot of time and money. We don't go to the movies any more; netflix eventually offers most films, but the wait can be years. And we rarely buy clothes these days. Only if we need them and they are not expensive.

    For entertainment, we often relax on our screened porch and listen to the birds while watching the plants grow. It is much more refreshing than going to an expensive and noisy film. Working in the garden is relatively inexpensive and great for the soul.

    As to LEGO, mostly I buy from Bricklink the specific parts needed to build something after doing research as to pricing on eBay, etc. I rarely buy new LEGO sets; they have to be very special to end up in our house.

    If I see a set with a big discount at the store, I ask how much I need the set or the parts in it. I try not to buy doubles unless I really need the parts and they are priced cheaply.

    It is difficult exercising restraint when buying LEGO, but once your collection fills up more than the available space, it is time to quite buying for a while. And to figure out what you can get rid of or how to make space for more LEGO.

    It is hard to understand how resellers develop enough restraint to make choices that produce profits and not buy dozens of each set marked down.
    LegoKipVaderXPaperballparkxeeeej
  • NatebwNatebw Tampa BayMember Posts: 339
    Maybe I am just not deep in it enough, but I see Lego as a cheap hobby, relatively speaking. 1. Have you seen what people spend on stuff like golfing and boating? 2. Lego is infinitely reusable.

    Sure, I buy some bricklink and the occasional new set, but I spend most of my free sorting and building with existing bricks.

    But then, I am not a collector.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,444
    My buddy was just talking about the biggest expenses in ones life. Home, car and kids tend to be your biggest expenses. Depending on your priorities, I would go with House, kids and cars here in the US. I know many people in Europe probably don't own a car. We own 3 cars.

    Cable is outrageous. I just got rid of all my premium stations. We have Netflix and Amazon Prime. Netflix is a must if you have kids. I may only go to the movies once or twice a year. I mostly watch movies in our theatre room.

    As far as Lego itself; what everyone else said. Sales, prioritize and possibly selling to fund this expensive hobby
  • bobabricksbobabricks Vancouver, BC, CanadaMember Posts: 1,842
    I have a BrickLink store to sell stuff I don't want anymore to allow space and money for new stuff that I do want. ;)
    tefarrel
  • TechnicNickTechnicNick Berkshire, UKMember Posts: 279
    I had a (brilliant) holiday in the US once - how do you guys put up with the amount of ads on TV ? It's every five minutes!! God bless the BBC...

    Thanks for your charming and sincere hospitality, by the way. I mean that. Your hotel staff are the best in the world.
    LegoKip
  • ShibShib UKMember Posts: 5,442
    ^I'm of the opinion that the quality of hospitality staff has a lot to do with the culture of tipping and wages. A lot of these roles in the US wouldn't make a liveable wage without tips, and America has a much bigger culture of tipping than in the UK.
    I worked as a batman here in the UK for over a year, I got virtually f*** all in the way of tips, most people tend to just round up to the nearest £ maybe the nearest £5 if you are lucky, and that only applies to meals. If someone is just buying drinks the best you might get is someone buying you a drink.
    Fortunately, (I believe) our minimum wage is better than the US so that helps balance it out a little.
  • scrumperscrumper UKMember Posts: 323
    Shib said:

    I worked as a batman here in the UK for over a year, I got virtually f*** all in the way of tips

    bobabricksRenegade007cjhPitfall69carlqGothamConstructionCohantot
  • bobabricksbobabricks Vancouver, BC, CanadaMember Posts: 1,842

    how do you guys put up with the amount of ads on TV ? It's every five minutes!! God bless the BBC...

    "England shall prevail!" I just felt like doing a quote today. :P
  • augenaugen Worcester, UKMember Posts: 317
    I have realised that trying to complete themes is futile, not only for the pocket but also due to the space sets take up. If you're interested in building your own MOCs, the best piece of advice that I can pass on that was given to me by Derfel Cardan is to just buy the pieces in bulk that you use regularly, which in his case is a lot of the small pieces like 1x2 tiles.
    akunthita
  • bobabricksbobabricks Vancouver, BC, CanadaMember Posts: 1,842
    I only collect sets that i want, it does not make sense to fill up your Lego room with half of a theme you don't like. I like to spice it up with a little bit of Star Wars over here, little bit of Super heroes over there... etc. My minifig collection is all minifigs I appreciate and am happy to own, everything else is potential BrickLink stock. :P
  • legogallegogal USMember Posts: 755
    @bobabricks,
    That sounds like a sound LEGO strategy!

    One of the most skilled builders I know has a very small collection and only buys what he needs for each build. I am happy to loan him pieces for a build if he does not want to buy them because my collection is just sitting in the LEGO room waiting to be used.

    In the US, we tend to equate bigger with better, and this can lead to too many of anything and everything including LEGO. I am just as guilty as others.

    Some of the best things in the whole world are tiny or have no permanent physical presence. Think of the last smile you received from someone you care about. It is a question of values, and each of us get to make many of those decisions every day.
    bobabricks
  • rocaorocao Administrator Posts: 4,290
    edited August 2014
    I only buy sets I want. Unfortunately I want very nearly everything.
    dougtsRenegade007cjhEddieDoesntMindcarlqbobabricksGothamConstructionCoBuriedinBricks
  • piratemania7piratemania7 New EnglandMember Posts: 2,145
    Can't really offer up any new insight not already brought up above throughout the posts.

    I think the gist is to collect what you want and enjoy the hobby. If you buy to resell or fuel your hobby then keep that in mind, but otherwise just enjoy it.
    Renegade007cjhbobabricks
  • CircleKCircleK U.S. - Columbus, OhioMember Posts: 1,055

    I only collect sets that i want, it does not make sense to fill up your Lego room with half of a theme you don't like. I like to spice it up with a little bit of Star Wars over here, little bit of Super heroes over there... etc. My minifig collection is all minifigs I appreciate and am happy to own, everything else is potential BrickLink stock. :P

    This +1000. I used to be a big proponent of the "pick a theme and stick to it" plan for controlling expenses until I realized I was buying a bunch sets that I didn't really care for while ignoring some that looked fun. I don't have set themes anymore. I get what I like and only what I like. So my collection has a little bit of everything in it. The only exception to this is CMF - I still collect full sets of 16 wether I like the figs or not.

    The way I save the most is by being patient. Sets are out months, sometimes a year plus before I buy them. I just wait until the right deal comes along. As far as non discout exclusives, I usually wait until double VIP or I sell off the freebie to help buy the set down.
    VaderXbobabricks
  • NorlegoNorlego ScotlandMember Posts: 449
    This morning I bought a boxed #8094 with a few missing bricks for £10. At least my hobby is cheap..... Avoid new and your hobby pays for itself!
  • brickupdatebrickupdate Member Posts: 1,020
    What other - MORE EXPENSIVE HOBBIES - have each of you been into. I though @Natebw made a great point that relatively speaking, LEGO can be a very affordable hobby.

    Before LEGO, I was really into high-end audio (stereo equipment), including vintage gear, tube gear, and turntables. At one point, it was just nuts how much I was spending on stuff. It's a hobby where a $1,500 turntable cartridge (essentially: the needle) could be described as "incredibly affordable" because folks will spend so much more on them.

    I'm curious what else you folks have been into, and how you would rate it on the "expensive" scale as compared to LEGO.
    Natebw
  • suprajamessuprajames UK SussexMember Posts: 366
    I used to be very into modified cars and car audio, would go away for a weekend car show and after fuel, show tickets, hotel, food etc would be a £400 weekend, most expensive Lego set I have bought to date is the Sandcrawler at £250, so would say Lego is cheaper. I have spent thousands and thousands on my car, so much I do not want to think about it, got a nice trophy shelf but nothing that great. My Lego spending is nothing compared to what he car used to be.
    I think Lego is quite an affordable hobby (addiction), you can get sets from a few pounds/dollars, you do not have to buy the big pricey sets, but they are nice ;)
  • legogallegogal USMember Posts: 755
    There is no doubt that there are much more expensive hobbies around than LEGO unless one is a LEGO fanatic trying to collect every LEGO set.

    Owning a sailboat of any size is a good example. Talk about a dark hole to pour money in...endlessly. If it is a big boat, you can figure at least 20K a year for repairs, insurance and a place to park it. And some of these boats only get sailed a week or two each year if that much. (Thank god we know longer own any boats.)

    Many in the US own expensive motorcycles....try 40K and up, the price of a Harley trike one neighbor has. (That cost 10K more than my Prius V, which is a lot more comfortable and safer to drive.) He takes his trike out maybe once a month for an hour or two. I used to own motorcycles, and you are looking at least 15K for a decent one. And the insurance will kill you these days if the bike does not.

    Hubby has enough N scale (very small, thank god) trains to fill a 12 by 12 room if all were set up at once. They cost a lot per train (most are German or Japanese), and it takes a huge amount to fill up a normal table. Hard to put a price on his collection, but a guess would put it at much higher than 90 per cent of our LEGO collections on Brickset.

    Many Americans are into collecting and rebuilding old cars. 20K is nothing for a car from the 60's, and one can easily spend that much fixing it up. Folks tend to collect several of these, so the value of their collections can easily top 100K. Then they have to build a garage ($100K up) to park these valuable cars.

    Besides LEGO, my other main hobbies are gardening and collecting film scores, which at 8-25US a typical CD, add up quickly, but is still much less expensive than my LEGO collection. Gardening can be quite expensive depending on the size of your lot and the types of plants and hardscape (walls/paths/fences/patios) used. At least it can add to the value of your home. And it can be relaxing if you use mulch instead of lawn grass, which requires too much maintenance.

    It seems that having at least two hobbies is a good strategy because it increases the variety in our lives and keeps us from getting bored with just one hobby.
  • NatebwNatebw Tampa BayMember Posts: 339
    edited August 2014
    I think hobbies, almost by definition, are expensive in either time or money. Some more than others. I have never really been anything other than a student or small business owner, so I have never had enough money to have expensive hobbies. :) My business is like a hobby because it is a small niche and I get great satisfaction from it.

    I used go to live concerts and collect and trade shows (on cassette) but that was before kids. The other hobbies I do have are planted fish tanks, reading, and running. But those really pale compared to Lego time with my kids.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 10,231
    edited August 2014

    I had a (brilliant) holiday in the US once - how do you guys put up with the amount of ads on TV ? It's every five minutes!! God bless the BBC...

    Thanks for your charming and sincere hospitality, by the way. I mean that. Your hotel staff are the best in the world.

    I think ads are the biggest reason why America is one of the top consumers in the world. Also why most are up to eyeballs in debt.
    Once we had a french employee relations person come to the US to help 'bridge the cultural gap' between the US and France. She commented on how busy busy busy we all seem in a workplace. I asked her how many ads for Mercedes and BMW etc etc are on their TV, and she kind of gave me a blank expression. I responded with that is why Americans are killing themselves at the office, to pay off the debt for all of the crap we buy, and if we do not work that hard, then they simply drive our jobs 'offshore' (what used to be called outsourcing).

    I have gotten carried away with 'keeping up with the Jones' as well, but I realized that I simply cannot do it, so slowly I have been trying to cull down the herd and buy only what I am interested in, and try to avoid the sales and whatnot.
    I guess that the lack of really big sales and advertisement of such sales is actually better for my wallet than seeing everything on sale.
  • NatebwNatebw Tampa BayMember Posts: 339

    I had a (brilliant) holiday in the US once - how do you guys put up with the amount of ads on TV ?

    You think that was bad, visit the US during a presidential election!!

    People have DVR to record and skip commercials. Many, many folks (like me) are starting to skip broadcast television entirely and only watch programs online or via a service likes NetFlix or Amazon Prime that eliminates commercials. I rarely see TV commercials these days, unless I am visiting someone's house and I find them hugely disruptive, yet captivating.

    @madforLEGO‌ is right about debt. I submit for evidence the cost of medicine in the US and the HUGE number of TV commercials that tell people to 'ask their doctor' for very expensive drugs for every conceivable condition.
  • ChrisbstmChrisbstm USAMember Posts: 151
    I like to check out local swap meets, they can be a treasure trove if you search, and always cheaper
  • CircleKCircleK U.S. - Columbus, OhioMember Posts: 1,055
    edited August 2014
    Somebody left a comment on the front page a few days ago that really hit home with me. It was something along the lines of "It's a sad thing when collectors become mindless consumers".

    That summed up my previous collecting habits pretty accurately. The need to "complete" a theme and buying sets I had little to no interest in, spending a mint on retired sets, and countless hours waisted searching for eBay and clearance deals. It was getting ridiculous and I was no longer enjoying it.

    A few months ago I bought Benny's Spaceship to build while I was on vacation. It was outside my normal collecting parameters and I have zero interest in the TLM theme but it just looked like a lot of fun. And it was fun. Probably the most fun I have had with Lego in a long time. It ended up being a great lesson learned at the same time. I want this hobby to be rewarding - the pay off needs to be that it is something fun I can share with my kids. The mindless pursuit of sets to "collect" wasn't paying off for me. So I changed what my idea of collecting is and it now includes a little bit of this and that, but not everything. Only those sets that will bring out the inner ten year old make the cut these days.
    NatebwBumblepantscarlqpatrickbransTXLegoguybrickupdateRonyar
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,444
    Yes, in the US, most in the service industry live off tips. There are many reasons for this. It does keep the cost of goods and services down. Servers also tend to work harder than if they just got paid a nominal wage. A lot of tourist areas in the US have now added a 15% or more gratuity onto the bill you receive. This is because many foreigners don't tip at all. When I was in Miami, most of the restaurants added a 16% gratuity to the bill. This was great because I normally tip 20%. I actually saved money :)
    carlq
  • bobabricksbobabricks Vancouver, BC, CanadaMember Posts: 1,842
    CircleK said:

    I only collect sets that i want, it does not make sense to fill up your Lego room with half of a theme you don't like. I like to spice it up with a little bit of Star Wars over here, little bit of Super heroes over there... etc. My minifig collection is all minifigs I appreciate and am happy to own, everything else is potential BrickLink stock. :P

    The only exception to this is CMF - I still collect full sets of 16 wether I like the figs or not.
    I always think of the 16 sets of CMFs as a ~$50 set, there are going to be parts of the set you like (maybe the minifigs are awesome) and parts you don't care for (maybe it's a mech that's not posable).

  • EddieDoesntMindEddieDoesntMind Member Posts: 329
    edited August 2014
    Ok guys, I need to make a few things straight. I'm not buying multiples of things. I'm not buying things mindlessly either. I buy things I like, but as Rocao said
    rocao said:

    I only buy sets I want. Unfortunately I want very nearly everything.

    I was just looking for discount tips and just others was you save money.
  • CapnRex101CapnRex101 United KingdomAdministrator Posts: 2,337
    ^ Watch Amazon like a hawk, and keep an eye on clearance sections in your area, particularly if you are in the US.
    Natebw
  • VenunderVenunder Nottingham, UK.Member Posts: 2,591
    There are regular sales and promotional offers from a few retails. All you need to do is keep a calender for a couple of years and you will learn the pattern.
    They do vary slightly year to year, but keep your eyes open in your local shops, here on the forum and you should spot the buying opportunities.

    Then do most of your buying during the sales and you should get most of your lego at 40% off or better. :)
  • VenunderVenunder Nottingham, UK.Member Posts: 2,591
  • MathiasMathias United StatesMember Posts: 94
    http://toysnbricks.com

    I use this website quite a bit. They are usually pretty up to date with sales and deals in all the usual locations. I check them about once per day to see of anything is up. The have other related lego need as well.
  • brickupdatebrickupdate Member Posts: 1,020
    @EddieDoesntMind There tends to be a lot of great deals in the buildup to holidays (starting in Sept) and then a lot of clearance stuff in Jan. It changes year to year, and as some of us in the forum who have been VERY active buying in the past few years, the deals may not be as "good" as they once were.

    Along the lines of some of the other comments here though, I always found that the BEST deals meant I had to buy sets I didn't LOVE but merely liked. Or buy multiples, such as Buy 2, Get 1 Free type of deals.

    For myself - personally - I buy far fewer sets now, and mostly buy them at retail price just so that I can ENJOY the hobby instead of desperately waiting for a deal, and having to drive around to 4 Targets to try to find a set.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,444
    edited August 2014

    Ok guys, I need to make a few things straight. I'm not buying multiples of things. I'm not buying things mindlessly either. I buy things I like, but as Rocao said

    rocao said:

    I only but sets I want. Unfortunately I want very nearly everything.

    I was just looking for discount tips and just others was you save money.
    Hahahaha. You asked a question in this forum and expected a straightforward answer? That was your first mistake ;)

    EddieDoesntMind
  • TechnicNickTechnicNick Berkshire, UKMember Posts: 279
    Pitfall69 said:

    Yes, in the US, most in the service industry live off tips. There are many reasons for this. It does keep the cost of goods and services down. Servers also tend to work harder than if they just got paid a nominal wage. A lot of tourist areas in the US have now added a 15% or more gratuity onto the bill you receive. This is because many foreigners don't tip at all. When I was in Miami, most of the restaurants added a 16% gratuity to the bill. This was great because I normally tip 20%. I actually saved money :)

    Knowing it was the custom, I always tipped generously for good service in the US, and was often told the English never tip. The fact that they knew where I was from the moment I opened my mouth and still gave excellent service says a lot for the professionalism of American servers.
    Pitfall69dougtsLegoKip
  • legogallegogal USMember Posts: 755
    Thanks for tipping while in the US! As a college student, I waitressed in an all night pancake house and was paid about a dollar an hour gross before taxes and some tips. My mom and youngest brother would pour out the mostly coin tips and count them after rubbing my collapsing feet with alcohol before I fell into deep sleep for two hours after a long night shift and then went to science classes and labs all day at the local community college. It is a wonder I was not killed riding my bicycle the three miles to class in the 115 degree Phoenix heat.

    Many foreigners and Americans do not realize how dependent wait staff are on tips. Everyone should have to wait tables at some point in life. Tips make a huge difference as to whether or not their families are able to eat food every day of the month. Ever since that job, I have always tipped well unless the service is deplorable. If Americans in these positions don't receive adequate tips, they will never be able to afford luxury items like LEGO.

    So I guess the short answer to your question about why the service tends to be better in the US hospitality industry than it often is abroad, is because tips are too important to the employees to deliver bad service. If we had much higher minimum salaries and decent job benefits like they do in the EU, our service standards might slide as well.
    Again American firms have to recognize that paying low wages decreases the number of consumers who can afford their products. So it is self-defeating in the long run for these firms to pay wages that are too low for workers to survive.
    BrickarmorLegoKip
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,444
    ^I thought that at the end of the day; if you didn't make minimum wage (wage+tips) the restaurant has to pay you the difference.
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