Frugal Gaming 2012 – A Year In Review

Last year I didn’t go about making New Year’s Resolutions for my hobby progress (I’m not even sure that I made them for personal goals, but that’s another story).  What I did instead was to instate a mindset of “Frugal Gaming” inspired by the now defunct Yearoffrugalgaming blog wherein he set forth to make his spending more transparent in order to reduce costs.  I’ve since moved that page to a subpage of my new Frugal Gaming section.  Right now, there are just two pages within, the one for 2012 (which we’re talking about now) and the newfound one for 2013.

In 2012, I set a lofty goal of spending “no more than $0” for the year.  Naturally, that’s $0 NET and not GROSS.  For those that don’t know the different, GROSS would mean that I wouldn’t be able to spend any money all year.  NET means that I can spend money, but I’d have to keep my total costs below $0—so naturally, if I spent any money, I’d have to offset those costs by also selling something to make up for it.

This is what I wound up doing.  Throughout 2012, I bought (or traded for) no less than seven different 40k armies, and held a big eBay auction at the end of the year to make up for the difference.  Granted, there were far more purchases throughout the rest of the year, but I’ll go into those in a minute…

Over the course of the year my total spending looked like this:


That brings to fact some interesting numbers:

  • I spent a total of $3,653.25 on games during the year!  To make up for that, I wound up selling $4,303.48.  I never would’ve guessed I put that kind of money into my hobbies.
  • From an investment standpoint, that’s almost an 18% return on my investment (cash only, as this excludes any additional merchandise I’ve kept).
  • Of the total, I spent $2,930.88 on 40k (80%), $358.42 on board games (10%), & $363.95 on MtG (10%).
  • In contrast, I sold $4,173.48 of 40k (97%), $130.00 in board games (3%), and $0 in MtG.  Based upon these numbers, the only area that proved profitable to me was 40k.  That leads me to believe I shouldn’t invest money into the other categories (or perhaps I should just make a better effort to sell some of my excess stuff from them?)

The goal of this endeavor was to be more transparent with my purchases, and to keep my spending in check.  While it clearly got out of hand for a while, the end result was favorable, and I was fortunate enough not to run into any cash flow issues throughout the year otherwise.  As a whole, I’d say the experiment was a success.  Because of this, I was able to:

  • Get a handle on just how much I spend on hobbies.
  • Convince myself to sell things on eBay that I might not have otherwise done, in order to keep the overall costs down.
  • Make a bit of a profit (at least on the 40k models)
  • Keep some additional models that I wanted

One thing that the project was not successful at accomplishing was to actually sway my purchasing much one way or the other.  I believe that I’m already pretty frugal (or perhaps “cheap” is a better word), generally trying to get a better deal than retail in all aspects.  With that said, I quite often by things that I have no need for just because it was “a good deal.”  In the past, I think these deals have come back to haunt me because I keep them too long.  So, while this project didn’t seem to stop me from making purchases, it at least goaded me into selling what I did buy, so I was able to realize a profit.

So yeah, I’m going to chalk this up as a success, and take what I’ve learned and set new goals for my 2013 Frugal Gaming Project.  Continuous improvement, here I come!

9 comments on “Frugal Gaming 2012 – A Year In Review

  1. Damn. Investment return aside, that’s a lot of cash getting pumped into 40K. Your spending in a year for 40K is beyond what I’ve spent on four armies over six years!

    • Yeah, I was pretty shocked by how much I spent overall–then again, seven armies in a year is a bit over-the-top. I’m sure my average year isnt’ anywhere near that high. Still, I had no idea it ever got to be that much. Have you ever sat down and tracked what you spend on the hobby? If not, how can you know for sure that you haven’t spent that much in six years?

      • Crap. I had my 2012 spending typed up in here then hit back and lost it 😦 Anyway, the important part was my spending in 2012 was $216. So, I have not tracked it like you but my spending is infrequent and easily recalled, at least this past year. I also know that 2012 was one of my more expensive years (my long term memory is great, short term not so much), as most prior years I was purchasing using tournament winnings and gift certificates from friends/family. Even if I averaged $216 a year, which I did not, that would only be $1,296 in six years, still well under your 2012 spending.

        I’m one of those people who only buys what he needs as he needs it. Those prior years I mentioned with tournament winnings and gift certificates, I sat on some of those for 6-8 months before cashing them in.

      • That’s mighty impressive. Still, it might be a nifty exercise for you to go through. I was surprised at how many $5-10 purchases I wound up making over the year that I normally wouldn’t have accounted for.

    • Seeing as you buy a complete army every time a new codex comes out, and play multiple game systems, I’m almost sure you do.

      But, if it helps at all, if you want to unload any of your previous armies for 90% off retail: I’m your man!

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