Thursday, January 3, 2013

2012-->2013, part 2: money money money mooooney...MOOOONEY!

Yesterday I covered my 2012 and 2013 resolutions, then promised that I would return today to talk about the financial aspects of my collecting habit, both last year and going forward.

After June I posted a mid-year look at my spending and selling, and I'm proud to report that I stayed disciplined enough that I continued to record every purchase (and sale), no matter how tempting it might have seemed not to do so.  That would have been a massive waste of time, though, and there really was no point in not keeping an accurate running total so I could keep my spending reasonable.  Also, I've maintained that I try to be reasonably transparent with my spending on my blogs, and I feel that I've lived up to that.

So today, you get to see my net spending for an average (?) year in my collecting life, including how often I bought stuff, where I was most likely to purchase cards, how I did trying to sell, and maybe some other useful info.

Before I begin, a few notes:

  • Anything I purchased with "house money" such as gift cards, eBay bucks, and even bottle returns (a gray area, yes, but it's my blog and I'll do what I want) didn't count towards my spending total, though if those only covered a part of a purchase, I prorated the price accordingly.
  • Purchase totals for online sources include delivery costs.  Basically, I was good about reporting the full price paid every time I bought something.
  • Purchase totals for retail include Michigan sales tax.
  • Selling totals (I believe) don't take into account what I had to pay to ship those items; I felt like it would be more interesting to capture the total price of each sale, especially since shipping costs are pretty much implied when you sell over the Internet.
  • I didn't track spending on packaging for and shipping of trade packages and giveaway items.  I think of trading as a zero-sum game (where everyone wins!) and while those costs are a necessary evil, I don't believe they merit meticulous tracking.
  • I also didn't include the cost of any supplies I purchased for myself, such as boxes, sleeves and top-loaders.  While those purchases are related to what I spend on this hobby, I also don't feel they merit consideration when looking at yearly spending.
Ok, on with the show!  First up are some buying numbers and charts:
Let's get down to some stats, shall we?:
  • Total spending:  $3,173.76
  • Average monthly spending:  $264.48
  • Most spent in one month:  March ($533.72)
  • Least spent in one month:  December ($0!  I can't remember the last time I went this long without buying anything!)
  • Largest individual purchase:  $300 for the "IPP" lot of Michigan Wolverines on March 30
  • Source purchased from the most:  COMC, $1,463.55
  • Source purchased from the least:  Group breaks, $24
  • Average spending per source:  $396.72
COMC clearly ruled the roost here, accounting for nearly half my 2012 spending, and for good reason:  I love buying me some singles, and so far there hasn't been any other place that's been such a reasonable source for collecting my favorites.  Look for that to continue this year.

eBay was the next most useful, and I really did pick up some exciting stuff for my PCs this year, mainly in terms of the Michigan collections, but not entirely.  Similarly, my spending at card shows included zero dollars spent on boxes, with all of it going towards my baseball and Michigan PCs, trade bait, and autographed memorabilia.

While I don't have numbers for my 2011 spending, I can tell you for sure that I spent a LOT less on Blowout this year as those boards have kind of devolved in my opinion over the last few months.  No loss, though--there's always other places to spend my money!

That $300 in-person purchase, while costly, was most certainly a boon to my Michigan PC, especially because of the fact that I picked up both a good number of high-end stuff and a bunch of new players for the football collection.

The $200+ I spent on retail was my biggest regret of the year, but looking at that number gives me plenty of motivation to avoid the same mistake this year.  Meanwhile, I certainly don't regret joining Dimwit's group break, but as I explained yesterday, I don't see myself participating in any breaks this year.  I may, however, spend a bit more on a site like SportLots as I seek to complete a few more baseball and football sets.

Overall, I spent a good chunk of change, but I added so much useful stuff (and relatively little junk) to my PC that I can say without a doubt that it was worth it.

Next up, a look at how I did with some sales:

NOTE:  the eBay total above is $55.

And some stats:
  • Total sales:  $769.75
  • Average sales per month:  $64.15
  • Most sold in one month:  July ($222.75)
  • Least sold in one month:  as you can see, there's a bunch of zeros up there...
  • Largest individual sale:  $200 for multiple lots on the Blowout forums.  Technically, I sold more in one day on COMC, but that included many individual sales along with one large port sale.  So for the purpose of this post, the Blowout lot wins it
  • Smallest individual sale:  $0.50 for a 2001 Topps Chrome Adrian Gonzalez on COMC
  • Source sold to the most:  COMC, $430.75
  • Source sold to the least:  eBay, $55
  • Average selling per source:  $256.58
I hadn't really planned to dabble too much in selling this year, but in the process of trying to get rid of unwanted stuff earlier in the year, I put up a bunch of lots over the course of a few days on Blowout and did fairly well.  Later, I finally jumped into COMC head-first and had a blast dumping some unwanted trade bait for some store credit, all of which I promptly spent (and plenty more!).  Finally, during my 2012 Topps Football frenzy I managed to sell a Drew Brees manupatch and Chris Houston 1/1 for a bit more cash.  The fact that I totaled more than $750 absolutely amazed me, and while I can't possibly hope to replicate those results this year (thanks to a dearth of cards to sell, really), that gave me a bit more spending room for the year, which you can tell I think I put to good use.

And lastly, but most importantly, a look at my net spending:
  • Total spending - total sales = $3,173.76 - $769.75 = $2,404.01
  • Net spending per month:  $200.33
See?  My $2,400 yearly budget I decided upon yesterday wasn't entirely pulled out of my ass!  Besides being an easily calculable $200 times 12 months, that's almost exactly what my net spending was last year, and I see no reason to change that considering the results I had.  The only difference between then and now, as I said, is that I probably won't get involved with selling much, if at all, this year, so look for the total spending number to decrease accordingly.  That's not a problem as far as I'm concerned:  I'm happy to work on getting better at scoring nice deals, plus that'll get me that much more motivated to attain my goal of 100 trades, which might have a bigger stake in terms of being a source of incoming cards for 2013.

Well, I hope this admittedly numerical analysis-heavy look at my 2012 spending was as interesting and informative for you as it was for me.  I'm thrilled to be able to find ways to improve so easily this year, and I'm already aware of how little effort it really takes to track my card spending, so you can be sure I'll be repeating that this year!  Here's to a more frugal but fruitful 2013!

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