Our love for anime can be tricky to show off, and there’s a good reason why:
Merch is expensive as hell.
Which is reasonable enough. Figures, shirts, keychains and everything in between is taxed like crazy when it comes to shipping to America. Even beyond that, some items are extremely well crafted and deserve to be of the high price range. I’m never surprised with the cost of my nendos, let me put it that way.
But as a broke college student, and I’m sure many of different ages and socioeconomic statuses can agree, purchasing things from your fandom can be extremely tough! Especially if food for you and your cat (cough, cough, Elliot) is burning a hole in your pocket. So here is a list of ways I’ve kept the price low when it comes to my expenditures to show off my fandom!
It’s no lie that we all love cosplay. Whether it’s wearing it or just taking pictures at cons, we all love seeing the work and effort that goes into a good cosplay. But if you’re the one wearing a cosplay, the price can wreak havoc on your wallet. As someone who makes most of her cosplays and has only ever bought one, I can tell you now, buying a cosplay alone is quite the expensive endeavor! So how do we fix it?
Firstly, if you feel you are craft impaired and cannot possibly make your own cosplay items, perhaps investing in one really good pre-made cosplay is the best option. You don’t want to waste money on items that you feel you’re not using right. However, building your own can be very easy if you take the right steps! Here are a few ways to put together your own, cheaply.
- Chose a character that wears simple clothing you can buy or modify if need be. Think of a character that might be in a school uniform, for example, or one that wears generic clothing. Always remember: wigs can be as cheap as 10$ on Amazon. Also, keep in mind that the more generic a character might look, the less likely you might be recognized at cons or gatherings.
- If you are going to attempt at creating weapons and armor, take a pro tip from your friendly neighborhood cat lady; FOAM IS YOUR BEST FRIEND! And cereal box. A little cutting, some glue and spray paint will do wonders to create awesome armor and weapons. Let me direct you to my new best friend on YouTube: epicfantasy. Storm the Castle is a great site for finding patterns and even learning how to make some video game weapons out of affordable material. The YouTube videos have helped me out so much when it comes to creating cosplay stuff and I like using the patterns I find to help me size stuff and build off it.
- Speaking of patterns ALWAYS LOOK FOR THEM! I cannot stress this enough. Sure there are always people selling patterns for certain weapons, but there are also good dudes who make free patterns. Try to find a free version first to print out. Even if it is not exact, you can always modify it to create the look you want.
If you’re not too certain about your cosplay making skills, have no fear! We all have to start somewhere and what better time then yesterday? Get to work and don’t be afraid of the glue gun! (But please don’t burn yourself, I don’t wanna get sued).
There will never be a good way to really save money when it comes to anime figures. And to be honest, the amount of time and effort along with the incredible detail that goes into figures, you can really never go wrong with a fine purchase. Now, I would say that if you don’t care about the quality of the figure, or the manufacturer, you could always buy a fake. HOWEVER, you really shouldn’t buy fake anything!
Buying fake goods does real damage to the sellers who manufacture these goods in the first place. And take it from someone who’s accidentally bought a few fakes; the real ones are way better. I once purchased an L nendo that I thought might be fake because it was cheaper, and while I will always love him, he does fall apart easily and it is so obvious he wasn’t an official nendo. I’m scared his big head will break my class case. So to avoid fakes and still get good with cash, here are some other options!
- Make sure the figure you’re buying is real and is high quality. Don’t go wasting money on figures that won’t look good in your case in the fist place is what I always say. Here’s a good tutorial on how to spot some of them! Do some additional research on how to spot fakes to get egg salad (excellent) results!
- Always look at pricing options on stores like Amazon that might give you other deals for used items. It’s a gamble, but at the very least you can save a few dollars by buying used.
- BE CAUTIOUS WHEN PURCHASING AT CONVENTIONS AND SPEND WISELY! Convention vendors may unknowingly (or knowingly) sell you fakes and they may also be full price! I’ve also noticed that items I’ve found online can be way cheaper than they are at cons. While I fully want to endorse vendors, and I do end up buying some goods that I can’t find anywhere else, I’m certainly more careful these days when I arrive at the con for a good time. I get really swept up with the dealer’s room and all the fun stuff, but my wallet knows that some of these things I could find cheaper somewhere else.
Clothing and Other Goods:
This is sort of my last, broad topic, but it is certainly one worth noting! If you are tired of buying cheap, overpriced clothing at stores like Hot Topic to get your fandom fix, try a few of these tips to help you save a few bucks!
- You can always look online for whatever you’re looking for to see if it is offered at a lower price (as I suggested with the figures above).
- You can also support a local artist (or an online one you know) by purchasing fandom-made clothing items, posters, art and keychains you can personalize your life with. I always love the art dealers I see at cons and other small gatherings, but it’s also just as exciting to find their online stores and purchase from them. ART IS BY NO MEANS FREE AND DESERVES TO BE A PAID PROFESSION, but sometimes you might find the artists are much cheaper than other vendors depending on what they sell! I’ve seen a lot of great deals on keychains I adored from artists who were much more cost effective for my wallet and even cuter than the others I’d seen in a dealer’s room.
It can be really hard to save a few bucks when it comes to being a part of the anime fandom, but it’s certainly worth it to learn restraint and wise purchasing. As someone saving up for Elliot’s college fund, I can tell you now that a few dollars makes all the difference!
What other tips do you guys like using to save a few dollars when it comes to your fandom fix?