Sunday, July 1, 2012

Mid-year resolution and buy/sell review: it's my money and I need it NOW!

Now here's a post I've been looking forward to writing (not that I'm dying for summer to speed by, of course).  Ever since I posted my resolutions for the new year and decided to be meticulous about keeping track of my spending and selling (thanks to Google Docs!), I've been anxious to take a look at how I did in each of those areas.  Here, then, is a quick look at how the first half of 2012 went for me:

1.  MOAR TRADING:  yes and no.  Between both blogs I believe I count 13 unique trades, which isn't too bad, though I certainly could have completed more.  I do have some more deals on the back burner, though, and I also sent out more stuff than I received, so overall, I count this as a success thus far.
2.  Post more trade bait:  I definitely achieved this, at least for a few months.  The fact is, in the last few weeks I've dumped a lot of stuff that didn't appear to be garnering any interest via Blowout and COMC, which was a coup for me in the long run because that cleared up some space and earned me some extra spending money.  Since I made this resolution I've again been focusing less on stocking up on trade bait and more on picking up a few things online or via shows for impending deals, which makes more sense from a storage and financial standpoint.
3.  Comment more on blogs I read:  this is one that still needs improvement because even without keeping statistics I'm sure that the ratio of comments I leave to posts I read is too low.  This is why I'm reviewing these, though, and now hopefully I'll remember to improve upon this.
4.  Respond to comments I receive:  no improvement necessary here:  I respond to almost every comment I can, and the only ones I really neglect are the ones I complained about where the user doesn't leave their email address for me to do so personally.  I value all of your comments, especially the hilarious ones, and hope you each still feel compelled to leave one once in a while.
5.  Manage two blogs:  again, yes and no.  I've gone through a couple periods the first half of the year where my attention was pulled elsewhere, such as work, vacations, visiting family/friends, etc.  You could argue that when my attention is divided, having two blogs makes both suffer since my effort has to be split.  In general I think I've done reasonably well, though, but I do recognize that I need to be more consistent in terms of posting to both, and especially in terms of finding more content for this one.
6.  Post quality content:  this one needs improvement because I feel I haven't had the time to come up with unique features like many of you seem to come up with at will.  Most of my posts this year have covered purchases/trades, and while those are definitely important to me, I'd like to get back to other topics that don't necessarily involve my PCs.  I'll work on this as well.
7.  Group breaks:  definitely needs improvement.  I've only participated in one group break thus far:  Daily Dimwit's January effort.  It was fun and the cost was reasonable despite my lack of a big hit, but I've since put all of my money into other sources.  I'd also intended on possibly running another break or two of my own, but my desire to get away from disappointing box results may have contributed towards my steering clear of such a project.  There's still six months left this year, though, so we'll see!
8.  Spend less on useless crap:  I definitely feel a lot better about my spending this year.  Early on, I made one purchase that in retrospect caused me some regret--a bunch of retail blisters of 2010 Press Pass PE football.  I had already resolved to buy less retail crap, but these were calling to me all the same.  While they were fun to open, I can't say I pulled anything especially useful out of them except for a couple C.J. Spiller autos, which I was fortunately able to sell.  Still, I was stuck with a bunch of practically worthless hits for what I spent.  That aside, I've done extremely well, replacing boxes and packs with an explosion of PC cards that's allowed each collection to grow rapidly.  Success!
9.  Complete some more sets:  for whatever reason, I've focused more on PC stuff thus far, but now that some of my sources are temporarily drying up, I'm committed to putting the finishing touches on a bunch more of my sets like I did last year.  Call this an "incomplete" for now.
10.  Get more organized and get rid of unwanted stuff:  I'm making a very good effort towards this goal.  Through more trades I've definitely gotten rid of a lot of stuff that was useless to my collection while keeping me involved in trading with other bloggers.  I've also put a good amount of time into sorting and organizing things so my collection takes up less space.  I'm proud of the effort I made here but it's still a continuing process and will take more time as the year continues.
11.  400/100/50 and beyond:  as a reminder, this referred to my Michigan PCs: 400 football hits, 100 baseball hits and 50 cards of any player.  I had said at the time that I needed only 12 more football hits to reach 400;  I'm now nearing 550 with plenty more that I haven't even scanned yet!  It took a bit longer to make it to 100 in the baseball PC, but my current count of 105 certifies that I made it.  And while Rich Hill's 48 cards don't quite break the tape, I made it to 50 different Jake Longs.  Only halfway through the year and that's check, check and check!

Buying and selling (with charts!):

Although I'm not necessarily proud of how much or little I spent on this hobby in the last six months, I decided this year that I wanted to be more transparent about my spending habits, both so I could get a better idea of where my money was going and keep things reasonable, and because I thought it might benefit some of you who also hadn't necessarily put their buying habits into context.  Here's an overview of my spending for the first six months of 2012:

Total spending:  $1572.68
Spending/month:  $262.11
Number of purchases:  51, the first on 1/1 and the last on 6/30
Average purchase:  $30.84
Purchased from:  BlowoutCards forums, COMC, eBay, group breaks, other (the "IPP" lot), retail, shows
Biggest purchase:  $300 for the "IPP" lot
Smallest purchase:  $1 for a Jason Avant Bowman Uncirculated card on COMC
Month in which I spent the most:  March, in which I spent a total of $533.72, including that huge lot, plus a bunch of stuff from the usual suspects
Month in which I spent the least:  April, in which cooler heads prevailed and I spent a miniscule $20.49 to make up for the excesses of March
Source from which I purchased the most:  definitely COMC, where I've spent $608.77, or more than $100 per month
Source from which I purchased the least:  the $24 I spent on group breaks (just Sam's)

And some charts:

I'd like to get my overall spending down a bit over the rest of the year, but still, with fewer extraneous and wasteful purchases, I'm definitely getting more for my dollar this year.  I expect more money to go towards SportLots as I work to complete sets, plus the usual at COMC, especially thanks to my selling there.  Additionally, I'll likely spend less at shows as I find those less useful, and the in-person purchase was really a one-time thing, so that should make things more reasonable going forward.  Really, I could have done a lot worse, don't you think?

Selling:Ever since I've collected I've dabbled in selling stuff that seemed valuable enough or at least didn't interest me enough to keep, but I never really took it seriously.  That changed a bit this year as I got away from eBay's horribly broken model and focused on two other sources:  BlowoutCards' forum and COMC.  The latter especially fueled my efforts in dumping useless cards for useful PayPal and led to a bunch of great PC purchases.  I did have a bit of luck over on Blowout as well, but that was mostly due to a lucky, large sale to one user; still, it counts, and as with COMC, it did a lot to help my collecting.

Total sales:  $478.00
Sales/month:  $79.67
Number of sales:  41
Average sale:  $11.66
Sold on:  BlowoutCards forum, COMC
Biggest sale:  $200 on Blowout for a huge lot of baseball and football autos, relics and patches
Smallest sales:  Multiple $1 cards on COMC
Month in which I sold the most:  March, in which that large sale on Blowout made up most of my total (and fueled the spending towards my large in-person purchase!)
Month in which I sold the least:  February was the only month in which I didn't make any sales

And some charts, which pretty much illustrate what I already said:

Thanks to those sales, my net spending for the first six months of 2012 was a more reasonable $1094.68, or more like about $180/month.  I don't think I can continue to sell that much since most of my sale-able items are now on COMC and likely heading for a port sale, but you never know.

In short, (as IF) January-June of 2012 was pretty good to me in terms of my favorite hobby.  I picked up a TON of PC cards, spent less on crap and stayed pretty involved in blogging (mine and others) while also picking up a little extra Paypal to apply towards cards.  I have some stuff to work on, like keeping my blogs fresh and interesting and making sure I don't neglect trading and set-building, but things are definitely looking up.  I hope you all found this interesting and informative.  In fact, I'd love to see how I compare to each of you in anything I've covered above, be it your resolutions, an estimate of your spending, or whatever else you found relevant!


  1. Awesome stuff! Also inspiring me to revisit my resolutions - which I'm gonna do now haha.

    Also oddly enough I have broken even this year on spending/selling. Spent about $250, sold about $250. That's neat.

    1. Thanks, Tim--I look forward to seeing what you come up with. And I wish I could even BEGIN to approach that kind of level of financial responsibility when it comes to cards!

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, Moe. How about you--did you have a goal for the number of '08 autos you wanted to finish with this year?

  3. Dennis, fantastic post. I can say for a fact that I've never put what I've spent on paper/excel, so what you've posted here is probably a good idea for me to keep my spending in check.

    LOL..selling is another matter altogether...

  4. Thanks! Actually, your "magazine" post from yesterday is along the lines of what I'm shooting for in terms of outstanding original content, and it may have inspired me to write a response of my own.

    I do advise keeping track of your spending since you might notice it keeps you honest, although you have the benefit of having a set budget; I haven't put in the effort to figure one out!

  5. If you do another break, if it's a Razor autoed manupatch break, I'd totally be in since I need help completing one of my 2012 goals -- finish my A-Z manupatch set. And keep up the good work. You've always been one of my favs!

    1. Thanks, Eric, and you're one of my top 5 also! I would be all over another case or two of Razor Letterman, but BO seems to be the main source for it now and they jacked the price up to double what it used to be ($300) then put it on "sale" for $450. $45/box means $9 a card (whereas they used to be $6, of course) and that makes it much harder to make that work for everyone for a group break. Still, if those somehow come back down to earth (doubtful since they include Posey, Stanton, Pete Rose et al) you know I'd be there.

  6. Replies
    1. Haha, thanks! I don't write posts like that often, but it was definitely useful at least for me to get an idea of what I was spending, especially so now I can try to take it easier the next few months and maybe get my monthly spending (not including selling) closer to something like $200.

      But yeah, you are analytical.