Another year has come to a close and this is when I like to look back at my budget for the year, see whether or not I stuck to it, and assess the consequences there-of.
Under or over-budget?
First of all, let’s tally up everything I bought over the course of 2010 and see whether or not I was able to stick to my budget. As you may recall, I set the 2010 budget at $1,500–up from $1,000 in 2009.
Whew! Under budget, if only just. More insightful commentary to follow.
As a reminder, all prices indicated above include shipping and any applicable proxy or credit card fees (e.g., foreign transaction fees).
Now, let’s see what we can glean from the data presented above.
“Spend early and often” is still a major problem
Last year, I burned through most of my budget early in the year and had to pass on a lot of nice figures for the remainder of the year to stay within budget. I thought I had simply underestimated how much money I needed for a year’s worth of my figure habit, so I upped the budget by a cool 50% and figured the problem would resolve itself. Unfortunately, I saw the exact same scenario play out this year as the year before.
This graph illustrates the problem nicely:
Ideally, if one were to space out purchases evenly throughout the year, this would look like a roughly straight line sloping downward from January to December. But as you can see, I used more than 1/3 of my budget in the first month alone and had consumed a whopping 94% of my entire year’s budget by the end of April, which left precious little for the remainder of the year. As it would happen, this was enough for just one figure in the final eight months of the year.
So, is this evidence of a systemic failure or simply good old-fashioned lack of discipline? I think it’s pretty clear now that the amount of money isn’t the problem and it has a lot more to do with me failing to divvy up my spending over an entire year. With this in mind, I’ll be rolling out some new tweaks to the budget for the coming year that I hope will finally put the issue to rest.
Other interesting data
I’ve prepared a few graphs to see if there are any particular patterns to my buying. These aren’t necessarily intended to be insightful for others, but they could still be of interest.
Breakdown by manufacturer
First, let’s see if I favor any particular manufacturers.
Hmm… a fair number of companies are represented here, although Alter and Good Smile Company obviously lead the way with 4 and 3 figures on the year, respectively. This isn’t terribly surprising as the other manufacturers are smaller and tend to put out less product. What could be more surprising, however, is the lack of any figures from Kotobukiya given their presence in the industry.
Breakdown by retailer
Next, let’s look at where I like to buy my figures.
To an outsider, I imagine that this graph makes it look like I’m terribly fickle when it comes to figure shops. This really isn’t the case. Hobby Search is probably my favorite figure shop–I think they have a great site, an even better RSS feed, good selection, and they’ve never failed to fill my preorders–but they’re almost never the absolute cheapest option and I’m trying to eke the most out of my allotted budget.
Breakdown by price
Finally, let’s see what price range the figures I bought this year fall under.
The $25 grouping is entirely arbitrary, but I think the graph gets the point across. If you’ve been collecting figures since about five years ago, this is a sad reminder of the negative impact of the weak US dollar to Japanese yen exchange rate on figure collectors. My gut feeling is that the average cost of a 1/8 scale figure has roughly doubled over the time span, although I’d like to check my numbers before stating that with any authority. I do feel that overall quality has also risen in that same time period, but certainly not at parity with pricing.