My Friend, My Enemy: My Budget

By | Monday, June 16, 2008 2 comments
Ah, the mortal enemy of those facing tightening financial constraints: the budget. I took a cold, hard look at my finances this weekend and (with the invaluable assistance of my S.O. -- actually... it was mostly her) developed a budget for the remainder of 2008. Like so many other Americans, I'm feeling the squeeze of a shrinking economy and I just don't have as much spending power as I did a year ago.

Which, not surprisingly, means that I simply can't sample as many new comics as I'd like. I suppose I could, actually, but doing so would prevent me from eating or maintaining a roof over my head.

Comics are THE one escape I have from these types of daily worries, and I don't relish the idea of cutting back, but I don't have much choice in the matter if I'm being honest with my finances. Naturally, I'm examining my options...
  1. Simply don't buy any new books, and read the ones already in my collection. In light of inheriting my father's collection, this will still keep me in "new" reading material for some time.
  2. Switch to downloading illegal comic torrents. "Illegal" is a key phrase here.
  3. Switch to downloading legal comics via Wowio. The down-sides include a limited selection, download limits, substantial delays from initial print distribution, and the simple fact that I've read a good chunk of them already.
  4. Start soliciting review copies of comics. I've actually got good a pretty good body of reviews on this blog, and I like to think they're well-written and useful (for both readers and creators). It would allow me to keep abreast of new material, and I could well strike upon some great comics that I wouldn't otherwise find.
  5. Any and/or all of the above.
The key factor in all of this, though, is that I'm able to recognize the realities of my bank account and act accordingly. It's always struck me that any number of comic fans, when facing financial difficulties, continue buying comics rather than, say, eating or buying necessary pharmaceuticals. Especially here in the 21st century when there are other options available.

So, my question out to you: what solutions are you utilizing (or have utilized in the past) to weather less-than-ideal economic conditions? Or, put another way, what impact does being cash-poor have on your comic book collecting hobby?

Oh, and for any comic creators/publishers out there, I'd be happy to accept copies of your books for review!
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Well, of course, I'd like to suggest starting with webcomics to enhance your new reading material list and reducing the cost to your wallet. There are several exceptional ones that I believe are more than worth following.

Secondly, I limit my selection of new books to less than 3 a week, which with my creator discount at my comic clocks in at about $40 a month. The cost of dinner and drinks out at Applebee's.

Titles I have a passing interest in, say trade that I'm always on the cusp of buying, but always put back on the rack - I reseve those for in-store sales that comic shops have - usually during holiday weekends. Or, I pick them up from DCBS, if my local stores don't carry them.

Jim Shelley said...

I agree with David about web comics definitely a much cheaper source of entertainment, but I've got two more suggestions.

Resell stuff on ebay
For new stuff, wait till they come out in trades. Read them, the put them on eBay. I treat eBay like a giant lending library, buy, read, sell. It might sound like a hassle, but you can save a lot of money that way.

Public Domain Comics
Second - help yourself to the vast amount of public domain comics that are out there. Since discovering the Nedor library, I've really been enjoying the older stuff.

Check out this site for some great public domain comics: