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Habitat For Humanity Outreach Event Coming Up!

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Oklahoma RGS members, listen up: bring your painting clothes and get ready to help make a house a home for a deserving family in need! The address will be given to us the week of the project, so stay tuned!  Mark your calendars for Saturday, June 1, 2013.  We will be working from 8:00am until 12:00pm and then have lunch somewhere together afterwards.  RSVP at the event page.

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Shoestring Collecting

I’m sometimes utilized by friends as a sort of “price chart” for NES game pricing.  Obviously this is because I collect NES titles almost exclusively and know most of the going rates, both in retail and online.  It’s also because I have my personal “what I would pay for it” price, which generally falls around 70% or less of the average going rate.  Does this make me some sort of NES game pricing expert?  Doubtful.  But it does keep my costs down.

You might be wondering, “What?!  You limit yourself to a percentage or less of the average price? How do you ever buy new games?”

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To be perfectly honest, it’s not often I do acquire new stuff – at least not from typical collector’s standards.  If I don’t feel like I’m getting a deal on a new acquisition, I have trained myself to say “no”.   It doesn’t matter how infrequently I come across the game, how well I know the seller, or how much disposable income I have on hand at the time.  Nothing is a factor except not spending a dime more than I should.

This isn’t because I’m destitute or cheap, but more out of a matter of principle.  I have resigned to the fact that I won’t come across every rare game in the NES catalog in my lifetime in a dollar bin at a flea market.  I will certainly end up paying large amounts of money for certain titles if I am determined to complete an NES collection before I die.  However, I will not sacrifice more of my personal wealth than I should just because I have no impulse control.  It is a standard that I hold myself to.

In my time collecting (and coordinating the RGS) I have come across many collectors willing to leverage their financial security against the brag-worthiness of their collections.  This is an attitude that I wish I had more power to curb.  Plastic kids’ toys that hold significant amounts of nostalgia value are really fun to own – but no amount of plastic kids’ toys is worth selling your mode of transportation, malnourishing your children, or wrecking your friendships.

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Collecting is a hobby, not a life choice.  If we sacrifice family, community, travel, food, friendships, or comfort in pursuit of our hobby we have crossed a dangerous line into obsession.

This is not to say you must adopt a 70/30 rule or dollar amount budget, nor must you limit your spending to a predetermined amount.  But considering certain restrictions or rules on your collecting habits might save you from discomfort down the line.  As we discussed before, video games won’t save you from debt collectors.  Keep that in mind.

And remember: no one will judge you by the size of your collection but you. ♦

Brandon Cole Phillips