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Unread 06-18-2013, 09:04 PM   #1
schmemy
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Spending A LOT of money on cosplay even when you know you shouldn't

I'm feeling kind of guilty right now, because I'm usually willing to go to any extent to make sure my costume looks good in my eyes, and that includes buying a lot of little things that add up fast.

However, I know I should be saving my money for an apartment and car, since I'm planning to move out soon, but cosplaying is one of my favorite hobbies, and it's impossible for me to just put it aside!

Anyone else feel guilty for the large price tag of cosplaying? I mostly just want to make sure I'm not the only one, heheh
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Unread 06-18-2013, 09:14 PM   #2
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I have very little expenses at the moment, and I find cosplay parts at yard sales often, plus buying a lot of fabric while it's on sale. But it still gets expensive since I don't buy prop bits ahead of time. I know there is someone else that has written expense charts with a separate category just for cosplay. Perhaps you could do that?
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Unread 06-18-2013, 09:19 PM   #3
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Usually I can afford a cosplay around the 200-300 mark every year (honestly, making a cosplay for less than $100 in Canada is VERY difficult unless you have a lot of items to re-use or want to be really cheap on quality), but in the fall I need ot make two that will run at least $250 each, practically at the same time. And I'm going to be in college again (for fashion, in a bit of irony). I'm trying to have money set aside now to do so and I'll be asking for things for Xmas and my birthday, but still, it's making me go T_T. And delaying it ISN'T an option because its my one chance to go to Costume-Con next year and there's no way I'm skimping on the costumes. I'm pretty well consoling myself by saying "After these two, I have a grand total of one, cheap, cosplay to make after that for at least a full year".
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Unread 06-18-2013, 09:40 PM   #4
SweeneyTodd
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As long as it's not an immediate need for those payments on the car or apartment then I don't see it as a problem, however if you are foregoing the car or apartment or are paying your bills late/falling into debt because of cosplay, then that is a problem. As your situation stands now though, I think it is okay to spend a lot on cosplay. Gotta spend it while you can, but once you really start needing to make payments, you should obviously put those first.

That said, I don't have any extra costs besides cosplay. So I spend a fairly hefty amount on my costumes, which is also why I currently only have 2 done. For example, I am about to buy a bead strand for $58, and will be spending around $1200 for a coat later on this year). But I can do that because the money I have now is just used for recreational purposes (it's extra spending money, so I use it to go to restaurants or buy costume items, mostly it goes to costume items lol). I generally don't set budgets for my costumes because I know for a fact that I won't stick to my budget. For Jack Sparrow specifically, it is pretty hard to get a good costume together for under $500. I expect that by the time I am absolutely finished with Jack Sparrow updates I will have spent $2500-4000.
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Unread 06-18-2013, 09:57 PM   #5
Isikaru
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I know that feel.

Right now I'm stressing out about my car exploding from lack of care. I know it needs new brakes and new everything, but I just...put it off and buy cosplay instead. And with my rent and bills I'm barely scraping by, and coming July I may not be so lucky. >>' And yet I still spent money on cosplay this month.

It's hard to limit yourself or put things off, especially if you're excited to do things and have already waited to do them for so long (as for me, my family was dirt poor so I never got to do cosplay or conventions or anything until I turned 18 and moved out and got a job, so now I'm just like, no, f*ck college right now, I'm earning money to do pay bills and do cosplay lol).
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Unread 06-18-2013, 10:46 PM   #6
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For those of you who want to spend a lot on cosplay and have bills to pay, have you ever considered selling your older cosplays for money? Either sell the parts to complicated cosplays separately or sell them all at once for a bit of a higher price (I know that doesn't make much sense, but people will pay a little extra for fully assembled costumes). If you guys do complicated cosplays, you should be able to sell the entire thing for around $200-500 and then you will have around $200-500 or so extra to put towards a new cosplay.
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Unread 06-18-2013, 11:07 PM   #7
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For your situation I don't think it'll be too much trouble, but again the problem only lies when you're doing it when you need to pay bills or buy food and you use all that money for a new costume or convention. But what I think is the best for anyone having these problems is learn how to budget. I know some people can't stick to a budget for a costume, but in the least it helps you figure out where you are. Begin with what you have/are getting then start taking out the money from that first amount of things you need to pay to see if you have money to spend for a costume.

I know it's difficult for some people, but bills have to come first to your hobby. Also, my thought is that you try limiting your cosplays per year if you don't make too much extra cash. Also, sorry if this sounds harsh but people need to realize your health is more important than a costume.
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Unread 06-18-2013, 11:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schmemy View Post
However, I know I should be saving my money for an apartment and car, since I'm planning to move out soon, but cosplaying is one of my favorite hobbies, and it's impossible for me to just put it aside!
Take it from an old fart...you'll seriously regret it later if you don't save up a little bit before moving. The best thing you can do is set up a savings account and have a set amount automatically deposited every paycheck. That way it's money you won't miss since you won't ever actually see it.

Also, to save even more money sign up for craft stores mailing lists. They often send coupons and if you bring in ads and some of them will even price match! Use coupons for groceries too. It's like being given free money to buy the things you normally buy anyways!

Man, I look back on some of my past con expenses I kinda die a little on the inside..lol
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Unread 06-18-2013, 11:59 PM   #9
schmemy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Isikaru View Post
(as for me, my family was dirt poor so I never got to do cosplay or conventions or anything until I turned 18 and moved out and got a job, so now I'm just like, no, f*ck college right now, I'm earning money to do pay bills and do cosplay lol).
Heheh, yeah, kind of same here. I didn't get to go to conventions until I was 19, but mostly just because I didn't really know about them. But I get such an extreme sense of excitement about them now that I can't stop going!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SweeneyTodd View Post
For those of you who want to spend a lot on cosplay and have bills to pay, have you ever considered selling your older cosplays for money? Either sell the parts to complicated cosplays separately or sell them all at once for a bit of a higher price (I know that doesn't make much sense, but people will pay a little extra for fully assembled costumes). If you guys do complicated cosplays, you should be able to sell the entire thing for around $200-500 and then you will have around $200-500 or so extra to put towards a new cosplay.
I have sold older cosplays in the past! The money usually just goes right back into cosplay again. And while I'm fairly proud of the costumes that I've made in the past, I certainly wouldn't put them at $200-$500, haha. More like $60-$80. I also hear what you mean about this being essentially the only recreational thing that you put money into, because I'm kinda the same way, with the exception of movies (love movies so much omg gotta see them all). Your Jack Sparrow is crazy amazing by the way. I'm sure you get that a lot, but it's practically legend.

To everyone else, I'm not incredibly worried about my expenses at this point. I just graduated, and my life is in such an extreme state of flux right now that I honestly have no idea what the next day will even bring. But there's still a naggy little voice in the back of my head telling me not to spend that $20 on new makeup. Either way, my latest cosplay is about 95% done now, and I'm not planning on starting a new one until after my life has stabilized a little (IE good job, settled down somewhere, etc etc).
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Unread 06-19-2013, 12:12 AM   #10
Miyabi-
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schmemy View Post
And while I'm fairly proud of the costumes that I've made in the past, I certainly wouldn't put them at $200-$500, haha. More like $60-$80.

To everyone else, I'm not incredibly worried about my expenses at this point. I just graduated, and my life is in such an extreme state of flux right now that I honestly have no idea what the next day will even bring. But there's still a naggy little voice in the back of my head telling me not to spend that $20 on new makeup. Either way, my latest cosplay is about 95% done now, and I'm not planning on starting a new one until after my life has stabilized a little (IE good job, settled down somewhere, etc etc).
I dunno man..if your Journey costume is any indication I'm pretty sure you're WELL over $80 worth of cosplay! ^_^ It's a very beautiful costume!

Telling yourself 'no' is always the hardest part. ;_; It sounds like you know what you need to do though so I think you'll be fine.
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Unread 06-19-2013, 12:59 AM   #11
SweeneyTodd
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Quote:
Originally Posted by schmemy View Post
I have sold older cosplays in the past! The money usually just goes right back into cosplay again. And while I'm fairly proud of the costumes that I've made in the past, I certainly wouldn't put them at $200-$500, haha. More like $60-$80. I also hear what you mean about this being essentially the only recreational thing that you put money into, because I'm kinda the same way, with the exception of movies (love movies so much omg gotta see them all). Your Jack Sparrow is crazy amazing by the way. I'm sure you get that a lot, but it's practically legend.
Okay so maybe $200-500 isn't really the best price range, but it seemed really reasonable to me for a full costume lol
I do think you are undervaluing your cosplays though. For example, from what I can see in photos, your Wanderer costume could be sold for $100-150 (or at least I'd expect to pay $150+ for that). That is a lot of material, a lot of sewing and of great amount detail work to do and it turned out so great! Plus it is a handmade costume and you should charge for the work you put into it.
And thank you very very much! I really appreciate that... like a lot!

Another thing for everyone to consider is if you do a character that is relatively universally popular, you could possibly start making yourself available for hire as a character entertainer for parties, promotional events, business promotions etc. This is one way to use what you already have to make some extra money. Pay for cosplay by doing cosplay (well it's more extensive than, but that is the easiest way I can describe it without getting into annoying amounts of detail). Maybe it's because I'm a Jack Sparrow impersonator and this kind of thing is common among Jack Sparrows, but I thought I'd just throw that idea out there anyways. I'd imagine that other characters would be in demand too (for example, if you do a 10th Doctor costume you could be hired for someone's Doctor Who themed party, characters such as Batman and Spiderman are also really popular as party characters).
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Unread 06-19-2013, 01:40 AM   #12
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Entertainment is an important need - but if spending it on cosplay is going to hold you back from more important things in life it's probably best to either pick costumes that will be cheaper to start with or be willing to compromise.

You could also do cheap projects that consume a lot of time or learn new skills. You can kill 40 hours just painting a wonderflex/worbla jewellery set if you want to.

It depends on the costume, but I can't see selling any of mine for only $60-80. They all cost more than that in materials alone. Yeah, if they're "well used" and in poor condition or not of the most skilled, I understand that knocking the price down and in that case it's great to just get a little something back from something you won't be using.

Right now the costume I'm working (the one on the right) on is probably going to be $3-400 in materials alone. And I'm not humble enough to pretend that the quality of my work would drag it down. It would depend on condition, how I would price it. I've seen "used" bespoke costume coats go for $900+ with what was probably similar material investment... so... If it was new and made for someone else, I'd guess this costume is going to run over 40 hours of work, so we're talking $1,200+ here. With the embroidery it might (probably will) push past that. And that's not counting some of the costume pieces that I'm re-using/fudging because I personally stopped caring at some point (you can barely see those pants, screw them and actually making a new pair). If those needed to be made, we'd be looking at... $1,600+

I have about $1000 in materials for my Oscar Wilde costume which is shelved for a while. I was quoted $3000 just to make the velvet parts once - so that's not including all the stuff I've collected that's included in it, like my 1890s top hat which I'd value at $500 alone.

Sometimes there are pleasant surprised, like This Costume is only going to cost my mom like $90 in materials. It's freaking criminal. However, I'm doing her dye-work and creating a pattern to be printed by Spoonflower and neither of those are small tasks, I'd be inclined to charge $75-100 for the pattern and probably $75 again for dyeing. Not to mention I'm making her a custom pattern from scratch - another $75-100. So if I was an asshole child and charged her for that - it would be like $350 before labour is considered. And that's priced with "we buy and modify a cheap-ass brooch from eBay" - a custom jewelry piece could be anywhere from $75 to 350+ depending on materials and skill of the person it's being bought from. Labour would probably bring it to $750+. For something that is comprised of $90 of fabric.

Annnnnnnnnnnnnnnnndddddddd....... that's why I learned to sew, kids !

I'm posting this not just for you, but for SweeneyTodd, too - for an idea of how much materials alone are. I work for $20/hour. I'm not humble enough to charge only what I'd be making if I put in an application at any gas station or coffee shop - I respect the hell out of those jobs and the people that do (I'm one of them right now) them but this isn't something you're going to learn from even 8 hours of training videos. I would rather do more minimum-wage work than break myself doing costumes for the same price and having to deal with deadlines and people not paying and whatever (if someone else finds it's worth it to be able to do what they love for a job, power to them although it's sad a skilled person has to sell themselves so short).

Don't sell yourself short or undervalue your work. Yes, if it's used that's a point against its value - but unless you really trashed it or the quality is really low it shouldn't be too big a deal. Like I said, I've seen just parts of popular costumes go for quite a bit when they're high-quality, even though they were "used".

For the Wanderer costume I'd be thinking $250 new (and that's assuming the fabrics used were $10/y or under), though it depends on how you constructed it. How you finished the seams inside and any wear and tear are a factor. I could see it going down to $150 if it was "well loved" and perhaps doesn't have a "professional" finishing inside (which is perfectly okay since you're not making these professionally ! Although if you learn to do it, it helps for contest quality judging as well as over-all monetary value ).
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Unread 06-19-2013, 01:58 AM   #13
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Kelley, I understand everything you are saying perfectly. There is a reason why I see no problem spending like $150 on one part of my costume alone (specifically Jack Sparrow's sash), and it is because I realize that I am paying for materials, quality, the person's time it takes to make that piece and the time it took for them to do research into the details of making that piece of my costume. Your costume prices pretty much match up with what I would spend on my costumes (that $1600 coat is just $400 than what I will be paying for Jack Sparrow's frock coat). Because I don't know how to make the costumes myself, it is basically impossible for me to get an authentic live-action costume together for under $500-1000 (haha if I got Jack Sparrow done for under $500 I'd be pretty impressed with myself, belts alone for Jack have totaled $500 for me). Y'all want authenticity, quality, and detail? Ya gotta pay for it!
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Unread 06-19-2013, 02:00 AM   #14
schmemy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Miyabi- View Post
I dunno man..if your Journey costume is any indication I'm pretty sure you're WELL over $80 worth of cosplay! ^_^ It's a very beautiful costume!
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Originally Posted by SweeneyTodd View Post
I do think you are undervaluing your cosplays though. For example, from what I can see in photos, your Wanderer costume could be sold for $100-150 (or at least I'd expect to pay $150+ for that). That is a lot of material, a lot of sewing and of great amount detail work to do and it turned out so great! Plus it is a handmade costume and you should charge for the work you put into it.
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For the Wanderer costume I'd be thinking $250 new (and that's assuming the fabrics used were $10/y or under), though it depends on how you constructed it. How you finished the seams inside and any wear and tear are a factor. I could see it going down to $150 if it was "well loved" and perhaps doesn't have a "professional" finishing inside (which is perfectly okay since you're not making these professionally ! Although if you learn to do it, it helps for contest quality judging as well as over-all monetary value ).
Wow, thanks you guys! Wowowow, haha, I'm feeling all kinds of flattered right now. However, I'm definitely going to hang onto my Wanderer costume for a good long while. I had a lot of fun making it, and it's a lot of fun to wear. :> All these stories and suggestions are so interesting, goodness. And I can't even imagine spending $3000 on a costume, but Kelley, your work sounds very impressive.
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Unread 06-19-2013, 02:06 AM   #15
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schmemy, well you're very very welcome! You do good work and that should be recognized! Aaannnddd.... almost no one expects to pay $3,000+ for one costume, but costs add up really quickly and before you know it, you've hit that $3,000 mark lol
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