On Business: The Budget

By | Monday, January 05, 2015 1 comment
I stopped buying monthly floppies a few years ago, largely for budget reasons. My funds were very tight at the time, and the $30-$35 I was spending every week had to be freed up for things like, well, food. That's when/why I started reading webcomics with greater interest and voracity.

Fortunately, my financial situation turned around and I could probably afford a $35 weekly comic book run. But getting out of the floppies habit, and reading so many webcomics, I don't really have a weekly budget any more. I was asked about it the other day, and I've been trying to figure out what exactly IS my comics budget these days. Because my purchases tend to be more sporadic, it doesn't follow an easy-to-figure-out regular rhythm. It's essentially making sure that I pay all my regular bills, setting a certain amount aside for savings, and then picking up a few books if/when I happen to notice I've got some "extra" money in my account.

I learned a few years back that you can deduct hobbies from your taxes, under certain circumstances. At the time, I seem to recall that I'd figured I would need to spend over $2,000 on comics during the year to qualify. But, with my $30-$35 weekly budget, I fell a bit short of that.

This past year, though, I put a lot more money into comics than usual, thanks to building out my library. On top of whatever comics I bought, I also paid to have some custom comic storage furniture built. So even if the minimum I would need to spend is over $2,000 this year (I haven't checked yet) I'm still reasonably sure I've gone past that. Now that 2014 is officially over, I'll be going back through my receipts and bank statements to calculate what I've put towards comics over the past twelve months. I'm curious, obviously for the potential tax break, but also to see what my actual yearly budget was, and how that might compare against what my weekly budget was when I had that.

The disappointing part here is that, after the financial issues I faced a few years back, I should be much more aware of where my money is going. I do follow my bank account closely enough to ensure that I'm not spending beyond my means at any point, but anything in that "extra" category isn't tracked very closely. Looking back on 2014 for tax purposes will certainly help to document that, but I'm hoping it will also allow me to be more conscious and mindful as I go forward into 2015 as well.

I like to think I'm reasonably decent with my money, and I earn a good enough living that I don't have to worry overmuch about paying the bills. But I'm left wondering how other fans manage their weekly/monthly/yearly comics budget, if at all, and what their process is for figuring all that out. If you have a formal budget or keep track of your comics expenditures, I'd be interested to hear about them.

And speaking of spending money, I'd like to remind readers that I recently launched a Patreon campaign, and I'd really appreciate your support. (Don't worry; I won't be keeping these reminders going indefinitely!)
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For me the issue isn't money, it's space. I don't want the paper anymore. I can give a GN to a library, but the floppies take up space I don't have.

I just want to read the content, now, not own the book.