Financial Planning: Budgeting a Geek Lifestyle

You know, it’s surprising. With all the “negative” connotation that comes from the mainstream media about living the geek life, their mass marketing machines sure cater to us. Think about it. Movies. Games. New high end tech. It isn’t the average Joe Sixpack who is the first to consume these. It’s us. The first iPhone users. The first HD TVs. The latest gaming rigs. All geeks. But because we are usually the first to adopt these new products on top of keeping up with our current regular purchases, we need to budget correctly or you won’t even be able to afford a place to live in to store all this cool new stuff.

The first and most important thing is to always prioritize. And no, that doesn’t mean deciding if it is a bigger priority to get the PlayStation 4 or XBox 720 when they come out next year. This comes to setting aside your basic necessities for living. Whatever amount of money you are making, set aside your money for housing, food, clothing, transportation and medical care. Once you have that safely set aside, the rest is your disposable income and that’s what you get to have fun with. Never sacrifice the necessities just so you can play.

The next thing you need to do is figure out which geek purchases are most important to you. Are you a tech geek? Comic geek? Gamer geek? Collectible geek? Are you a mix of all of them? Remember that you can be any sort of combination of these but the more interests you have, the more expensive it gets.

You don’t need to always be first to jump on the bandwagon just because you are a geek. Don’t get the first new HD 1080p 3D tv you see. It will be more expensive than waiting six months down the line until there is a price drop and more affordable model. Just because you buy the new XBox on day one, doesn’t mean you need to buy the new PlayStation on day one as well. Figure out which system you want more and wait until the second has a price drop. Most likely you are going to be buying and playing the horde of launch games for one system and won’t have time to fully devote yourself to both anyway.

Also, buy smarter. Look for sales, bundles and collections as ways to save cash. If a game comes out in early November, there is a very high likelihood that it will be on sale on Black Friday for up to $20 off. Interested in a PlayStation 3 and Assassin’s Creed III? Get the bundle being released to get the combination at a cheaper price. (Just don’t buy the Star Wars XBox 360. You will regret spending any money on Star Wars Kinect even if it is bundled.) For comics, buy digital when it is cheaper or wait until trades come out. Comic shops might not love it but you can get six issue story arcs cheaper than individual issues would cost you. With Marvel’s new digital push, find a buddy with similar comic taste and go in together with them on new issues that include the free download code in them. The guy who keeps the paper book pays $3 while the person getting the digital code pays a $1. Both get to read the comics and no one gets hit paying full price. Or when you get your comics, get the most important ones the day of and use something like Discount Comic Book Service (www.dcbs.com) to get the rest and save money but still get the rush from your most important issues.

Now, as fellow geeks, we understand the importance of being a part of the conversation on day one. When Avengers vs. X-Men #11 hit, you wanted to run to your friends and talk about the big death in it. We get it. That’s part of the excitement of being a geek. But unless you hit the lottery, you can’t be first for everything. (And even if you do win the lottery, you can end up draining it away real fast if you start buying everything in sight.) Just remember that as much as we all love this lifestyle, being a geek is a hobby. If you need to choose between getting the new Warcraft expansion on day one or paying the rent, you pay the rent. No home to game in means no gaming. Now while this is easier said than done especially when bright and shiny new games, figures and tech is constantly hitting the shelves, just remember the most important thing is always to prioritize. Besides, there are only so many hours in a day. Spend all your time buying, and you won’t have any time to play.

 

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