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Limited budget how do you prioritize your collecting?

happyskunkyhappyskunky Michigan Member Posts: 133
Holy COW so many new Lego every year you need like $20,000 just to collect them all ( I know a little exaggerated but still ).

Do you collect one theme?  Do you just hop around getting whatever?  Whatever is on sale at the moment?

Right now I'm trying to get all Scooby Doo and Jurassic World Lego sets.   So hard with such little money  LOL



  • brumeybrumey AustriaMember Posts: 1,002
    i try to buy whatever i think is cool!
    cannibals, zombies, gangsters, ninjas, thiefs, warriors, knights, mages, sorcerers, samurai, 

    i like the lego city camping sets, i like ninjago dragon and mech, i like modulars, i like temples. i like fortresses.
  • obi_gobi_g BlightyMember Posts: 607
    edited April 2016
    I prioritise badly :( I invariably end up scrabbling around and picking up the oldest sets first and then hope for discounts or promotions on the more pricier ones!

    I, like most people, also keep my fingers crossed for a lottery win ;)
  • FauchFauch FranceMember Posts: 2,633
    stop buying lottery tickets and you'll have more money for lego
  • Jackad7Jackad7 Wisconsin Member Posts: 555
    I am in the same boat with star wars but I'd say I'm handling it pretty well. Set aside a couple hundred for Lego(or a little bit at a time) and buy everything that is at a good price. As I collector I can feel my way around what buyers are paying and whenever I get something for less I then move to do I want it for my collection or not. If not I sell it for a profit and put the profit towards legos to keep. This is how I've been doing it.
  • catwranglercatwrangler Northern IrelandMember Posts: 1,894
    I accept that even for themes I love, it's not practical to buy everything, so I try to identify what makes a set a personal must-have. E.g., I'd happily own all the Nexo Knights stuff, but on closer inspection I can see that some sets are just, for example, the same catapult you get in a lot of pocket money-priced Castle sets, but with a Nexo Knights figure and a few trans orange or other futuristic elements. So I focus on collecting more unusual builds (Lance's Mecha Horse, the Fortrex) and on sets that contain particular things I want, like female figures or mechs or lava monsters.

    Also, it's worth looking at part inventories to see which desirable pieces or minifigures appear in multiple sets, and also comparing each set in a theme with each other set to see which ones you'd pick over others again and again...
  • YodaliciousYodalicious DagobahMember Posts: 1,366
     Whatever is on sale at the moment?
    Definitely NOT this. You'll end up getting some great deals, but accumulate a lot of sets you never really wanted in the first place, but bought because they were 50% off. I have a number of sets from the first year I came out of my dark ages that I got great deals on, but I should have never taken off the shelf. $15 for a $30 set sounds great, but when you only really wanted the $5 minifigure from it, you still wasted $10. Some will say "yeah, but at least you got the pieces too," but not every set is a great parts pack. In fact, some of the various Star Wars ships can be AWFUL parts packs.

    If you really want the Scooby Doo and Jurassic Park sets, then do your best to get only them. It's hard, but if those are the ones you want the most, focus on them.

    And always look at your want list before falling in love with the newest set that comes out. It's not an exact science, but most of the standard retail sets found in the Targets, Walmarts, etc. of the world are available for a couple of years. Focus on the stuff you want that's been out longer first. In most cases, that Avengers Tower (or whatever other new set you like) will still be around later.
  • datsunrobbiedatsunrobbie West Haven , CTMember Posts: 1,795
    Most of what I have purchased was used LEGO from thrift shops. Recently I have found some sets at over 70% off and scooped them up. Yodalicious is right, grabbing stuff just because it is on sale may leave you with some stuff you may never use, or it could draw you in to a theme you had never paid attention to before. Not a great way to budget, but it is working for me.
  • PeteMPeteM Gallifrey (near Bristol)Member Posts: 444
    I suppose the best way is to try and work out what kind of collector you might be and adjust your expectations accordingly - for instance, if you have a 'must collect them all' mentality, don't get into Star Wars unless you have a limitless budget or enjoy feeling permanently unfulfilled.

    You can usually afford to be patient with new sets, they will often have a one to two years shelf life, allowing you to wait for a discount or other incentive (double VIP points) to maximise your funds. Those that are more limited usually get flagged up here at some point, so keep an eye out.

    I'm with @brumey - I go for anything that interests me rather than collecting particular themes - but I will say that my interest waxes and wanes with the level of my bank account, we are talking about a luxury at the end of the day. And that's why I still don't have #70731 Temple of Airjitzu... :(
  • eggsheneggshen Middleton, WIMember Posts: 591
    Stick to themes that interest you, sign up for mailing lists to get coupons (ToysRUs sends out 20% off coupons that can be used on LEGO sets if you are on their mailing list, local toy stores usually have good deals, etc). Make sure you are on whatever rewards program a store offers, that way when you buy something you accumulate points towards gift cards, etc. 

    Price matching is another very good way to get good deals. I regularly price match Amazon prices at ToysRUs, which means I get a good deal plus points towards rewards ($5 off for every $125 you spend). 

    Layaway programs can help, too. I know that ToysRus has year round layaway ($5 fee most of the time, free around Christmas time) and their system allows you to put items on layaway at the sale price. That can help if there is a larger set you want but can't come up with the entire price up front. As long as the sale price  cancels out the layaway fee you should be golden. Plus if there is a freebie, that can be added to the layaway, too. They have a very good layaway program.

    Also, for the record, I think that Moe Dee will give you and 'A' for sticking to themes, so there's that too ;)
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 10,655
    edited April 2016
    Hate to sound elitist, but you buy the sets you feel you cannot live without and that are likely unique (and likely, when discontinued, to go for a lot more than retail). For example. I typically get the new mod when it is released, or close to release date, so I do not miss it (even though they typically have a 5 year 'lifespan' just to ensure I have one). But I do not count some themes as must have because you will likely see repetition in the them. For example, I would never have many SW sets on my list of 'must haves' only because they are likely to do most sets again. Even if a 'UCS', likely you will see them as a smaller model (unless you must have all UCS sets). Same with the Super Heroes line now it seems. Unless it is a character that is not one likely to be made over and over again (like a Rancor as an extreme example, or a Cantina with Greedo as those are not likely to be around for a while-if history is any indicator).

    So when I cut back on buying LEGO I have limited myself to purchasing the new Mod for the year, and any 'unique/one off' creator set (like Ferris wheel). Those are 'must haves' for me. Any thing City I like, but seeing as most city themes are redone every so often (like construction/police/fire) I tend not to buy much into those themes. At least they are not 'must haves' for me. Any even then with City themes, or if I do partake in buying a SW or Superheroes set, I do it when it is on sale.

    The other thing I and others do is buy much of what I want on sales or with rewards/coupons/etc.. Some folks have a 30% off requirement when buying. Mine is more 20-30% off when buying any sets that can be found on sale (so, in the US, mods unique creator, and UCS sets are usually excluded from sales).

    For stuff I cannot get on sale I typically buy from LEGO to get the VIP points so at least I'm getting something back. Usually for the larger sets I only buy with VIP points to reduce the price or when a double points promo is going on (to maximize the purchase, or at least until LEGO decides that double points is too good of a 'deal'). Smaller sets I buy through LEGO if there is a figure promo going on (like the Mr Freeze promo going on now for example).

  • MattDawsonMattDawson Solihull, UKMember Posts: 1,440
    I normally buy the oldest sets available in retail, otherwise I buy the most expensive via Lego themselves when there's a decent promotion on.
  • Patrik78Patrik78 Member Posts: 142
    edited April 2016

    Modulars, Creative Trains, WV, Exclusives I like and nothing else. This helps me a lot to keep new sets per year at around 5/6 boxes max. For Exclusives I have some rules - must contain minifigs, must be minifig scale, avoiding SW display only models.

    I obey these rules at all cost and it works like a charm. My spending on Lego per year is ~1.000,- EUR (+/- few hundreds), which is ok for a hobby.

  • moolermooler MI, USAMember Posts: 31
    edited June 2016
    My collection started with Architecture and my intention was to collect every set made (I have 14 so far). My eyes have started to wander and now includes Creator, Technic and Dimensions. My collection isnt large at all, just 26 sets but all of them have been new and a majority of them have been on sale or gifts.  This years Lighthouse Point was a Day 1 buy for me.  The United States Capitol Building is an upcoming release that will be a Day 1 for me as well. Ive spent about $575 since Oct 2015 and I feel guilty.

    I really havent figured out where to look and when to buy like a lot of veterans here in the forums, but im getting better.  Id like to buy used and get a great deal but havent found one yet.
  • bobabricksbobabricks Vancouver, BC, CanadaMember Posts: 1,842
    klatu003 said:

    Biggest way to limit the sets that you just have to have STAY OFF BRICKSET.  
    If you want to limit your budget and stay on Brickset. Just stay away from anything written by @Istokg and just live on the insult on Hoth thread. That way you still get the banter but are not drooling over anything you now want to buy. 

  • bricktuarybricktuary Krakozhia (temporarily stuck in London)Member Posts: 955
    Big enough sets that I care about them; small enough I can get them in the house without the wife noticing. 
  • piratemania7piratemania7 New EnglandMember Posts: 2,146
    It's a very personal journey.  You have to create a collection model and stick by it.  Decide early on what you want to buy, when and how.  Decide also on when and if you will allow yourself to deviate from this collection model.  Believe me, following something strictly like this will save you time and money.
  • bricktuarybricktuary Krakozhia (temporarily stuck in London)Member Posts: 955
    I dunno.  I mean if I said "I'm collecting Ideas sets" (say) would I then need to buy the BBT model even though I don't like it? 

    I'm not sure I see the point. Just get what you like whether it fits any sort of collection criteria or not.

    I'd have thought once you start buying up a series (UCS Star Wars say, or Trains) then basically you're committed and you'll have to buy each and every one as it comes out. That's expensive. 

    Even more if you then end up going back and filling in gaps.

    I take it a set at a time. If I like it and can afford it (and if I have the space) then it's a possible. 
  • ryjayryjay Member Posts: 1,001
    Wait...@happyskuncy, are you another one of those guys who's wife is setting the lego budget? :)   
  • LeglessLegoLegolasLeglessLegoLegolas TilahohoMember Posts: 8
    I only buy a Lego set when TLG doesn't try to scam me, giving me the same heads for different figures etc... Wait a minute, this is maybe why I didn't buy a Lego set since October...
  • sklambsklamb speaker of American EnglishMember Posts: 515
    Decide if you like buildings, vehicles, or minifigures most of all and then use that knowledge to set your priorities. (In other words, if you really like buildings you'll want more sets from Architecture and the Modular series than from Star Wars or Super Heroes, but if you like clever minifigures your priorities will probably be exactly the opposite!) Then buy what appeals to you most. Try not to become a completionist; that way lies both madness and bankruptcy!
  • AdeelZubairAdeelZubair London, UKMember Posts: 2,701
    My Collections:
    -Modular Buildings
    -Creator Expert, Vehicles
    -The Simpsons
    -LEGO Ideas
    -Iron Man Armours
    -Licensed, Collectable Minifigures

    With some of those above I have avoided certain products such as Dimensions Packs, retired sets, expensive promos however I try and get as a much as I can within those categories. I try and start from oldest and work my way up to the newest products. On odd occasions I do also purchase other sets that seek my attention such as certain Super Heroes sets. It's hard however I do try and avoid Minifigures whenever possible; I'm a model guy.

    The logical thing to do is to wait for sales or discounts on those products your willing to purchase or save them when you'll receive a good promo instead. I currently have a clear vision of my plan between July and January, that's exactly what you need to do. If a new set is announced debate of it's worth getting over similar valued product. I'll be doing that for the #75827 - Ghostbusters, Firehouse Headquarters
    against the next two D2C sets that will get announced: #71040 - Disney World Cinderella Castle and #75159 - Death Star. Hopefully they both get announced before August which is when I'm planning to purchase #75827. I have a pretty strong feeling both could be announced at San Diego Comic Con; that could be a good sign!
  • brumeybrumey AustriaMember Posts: 1,002
    edited June 2016
    a collection model? its a changing erryday, dipped a bit into space, exo and bionicle in the beginning when coming out of dark age. but ditched it for the greater modulars and city theme. 

    i myself just buy
    all ninjago houses, mech and dragon
    parts for building houses, parks and pavements
    all camper van, camper car, caravans and so on (city)
    creator sets with brick built animals
    all speed champions without racing decals
    all hot-rods (1990-future) town, city, ...

    sorcerer, ninja, knight, warrior, villain, monster, mythical creature CMF's
    city CMF's   (not collecting those overpriced outfitters, hot dog guy and so on!)
    more like skater boy, gamer dude ...   just the cool ones!
    crazy scientists, guys in suits and drunk girls MOC CMF's
    nexo baddies
    pizzas and sausages

    no licensed stuff for me. just love the yellow heads!
  • brumeybrumey AustriaMember Posts: 1,002
    aaaaand. never buy @RRP unless you really really really really really want a set!
  • paul_mertonpaul_merton UKMember Posts: 2,967
    Holy COW so many new Lego every year you need like $20,000 just to collect them all ( I know a little exaggerated but still ).

    That probably isn't an exaggeration. I wouldn't be surprised it it costs more than that to buy every set released in a year.
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 15,153
    ^ It's close to that!
  • datsunrobbiedatsunrobbie West Haven , CTMember Posts: 1,795
    based on data in Brickset, collecting all the 2015 sets comes to $16,121.57USD. 220 of the 770 sets have no prices in the database. 
  • happyskunkyhappyskunky Michigan Member Posts: 133
    based on data in Brickset, collecting all the 2015 sets comes to $16,121.57USD. 220 of the 770 sets have no prices in the database. 

    oh my god ! are you serious? O.o
  • datsunrobbiedatsunrobbie West Haven , CTMember Posts: 1,795
    ^yep. just grabbed the csv data using copy/paste into a text file, opened it in excel and summed the column. The sets collection analysis page does this for sets owned. 
  • AndyPolAndyPol KentMember Posts: 387
    edited June 2016
    I just stick to what I love, modular buildings take priority, then CMF minifigures, and then any other set that would be relevant, but as others have said, I would never buy something just because it was on sale. I might do if it was something I wanted, but you run the risk of getting stuff you don't really want and it just took your money at the time, when you could have saved it for later and get something you really wanted. I have to say that I'm lucky in that both my children are fans, so I get more exposure to LEGO from their spending (which I suppose you could argue was my money in he first place!).

    However, wife and space tend to focus my budget limit more than anything, and both hit my first priority, Modular Buildings, expensive (wife) and space (size)!
  • MosdvsMosdvs Dallas, TXMember Posts: 61
    I just recently became a afol....and in the last 4 months I must of spent close to 800 on legos most of which are SW which averages to be about 200 a month. I really don't have system as of yet...basically if I like it I buy it.
  • brumeybrumey AustriaMember Posts: 1,002
    in the beginning i spent around 500€ per month.

    it settled to around 200€ per month now!
  • piratemania7piratemania7 New EnglandMember Posts: 2,146
    edited June 2016
    I'm really bummed we don't have another Simpsons release (yet?) - that and a lack of another fairground/carnival set this year has really shrunk my needs leaving room in the budget.  Plenty of other things I can use that budget on though (non-LEGO).
  • xwingpilotxwingpilot UKMember Posts: 799
    I have found that limited display space and focusing on a single sub-theme means that I'm very picky about what I buy.

    But I appreciate that I am at one end of a very long spectrum...
  • monstblitzmonstblitz Hornell, NYMember Posts: 648
    I can't say I have much good advice for this thread.  Wish I did.  I'm still trying to nail down my budget, as I've been completely out of control this past year. 

    I'm starting to develop a buying pattern though -

    Star Wars sets - Just stashing these, to build a great Star Wars display some day
    Modulars - Have been on a bender trying to get them all ever since building Pet Shop.
    Other City themes to go with our city display / play area
    Certain superhero sets based on the minifigures.  These get mixed into the city
    Ninjago - buildings and minifigures, we also mix these into our city display

    I keep trying to tell myself I'm going to limit things to 1 purchase / pay period but I keep breaking that rule ever other week. Right now I'm in full blown Lego addiction, and trying to get it from out of control to functional...
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 15,153
    edited June 2016
    ^ @monstblitz - I'm sure you'll scale it back once you have the Fire Brigade.

  • monstblitzmonstblitz Hornell, NYMember Posts: 648
    edited June 2016
    SumoLego said:
    ^ @monstblitz - I'm sure you'll scale it back once you have the Fire Brigade.

    That's what I keep telling myself (and my wife)!

    @SumoLego , I believe it was you or someone else in one of the modular threads who advised to limit it to the current sets in the retail market, and forget the retired to save your wallet.  Advice that was duly noted, attempted, and then ignored with reckless abandon!  At least I bricklinked a couple of them to give my wallet a little bit of breathing room. 
  • yg77yg77 Member Posts: 32
    Anyone else get slightly depressed when you see a collection so large and complete compared to your own?  I just watched a room tour of BrickAdjuster on Youtube, and it strangely made me feel both hopeless and motivated at the same time

  • ThoughtsonblocksThoughtsonblocks United StatesMember Posts: 178
    Highest priority goes to Modular Buildings and Trains.
    After that its Minecraft (its the only theme I have been able to stay up with and collected everything in it).
    Higher quality or otherwise relevant City and Creator buildings that fit in with my Train/City layout.
    After that, any spare money (which isnt much) goes to whichever star wars or technic sets catch my attention.
  • catwranglercatwrangler Northern IrelandMember Posts: 1,894
    yg77 said:
    Anyone else get slightly depressed when you see a collection so large and complete compared to your own?  I just watched a room tour of BrickAdjuster on Youtube, and it strangely made me feel both hopeless and motivated at the same time

    No, but I do get strangely depressed by the better-organised ones! It makes me remember how long it'll take before I can easily MOC with my whole collection because everything's well-sorted and stored accessibly!
  • VenunderVenunder Grimsby, UK.Member Posts: 2,627
    No limits.
    Just buy what you like, when you can afford it.
    Most themes Items have an 18-24 month shelf life.
    Although some are shorter, some longer ....
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